Cayenne

Cayenne is the largest city in and capital of French Guiana.

Understand

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 29 29 29 30 29 31 31 32 32 32 31 30
Nightly lows (°C) 23 23 23 24 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23
Precipitation (mm) 431 423 432 480 590 457 274 144 32 42 122 317

Cayenne is located on the Atlantic coast, on marshland surrounded by hills. The city was founded in 1643 by the French and was part of the Dutch, English and Portuguese colonial empire during the following century. Today a third of the department's inhabitants live in Cayenne. Downtown is small and the houses are typically Caribbean.

On Sundays, almost everything is closed. If you arrive on a Sunday, the only thing to do on your first vacation day is walking around in an almost deserted city.

Climate

The climate is what you would expect this close to the Equator. The temperature is constant around +25-30°C while it's raining heavily for most of the year.

Get in

Cayenne Cathedral

By plane

French Guiana's main international airport is Cayenne – Félix Eboué Airport, located in the commune of Matoury, a southern suburb of Cayenne. There are two flights a day to Paris served by Air France and Air Caraïbes. The flight time from Cayenne to Paris is 8 hours and 25 minutes, and from Paris to Cayenne it is 9 hours and 10 minutes. Moreover there are flights from Martinique, Guadeloupe, Paramaribo and Belém.

There are no buses to the airport, so your alternatives are to rent a car or take a taxi (€35 to central Cayenne).

By road

From both neighboring countries, you will need to cross a river by ferry into French Guiana. From Brazil, you will arrive in Saint-Georges de l'Oyapock from where you can travel by bus to Cayenne with a transfer in Régina. From Suriname you will step off the ferry in Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni from where you can take a bus to Iracoubo and transfer to another going to Cayenne.

If you've brought a car, the road is paved from both borders towns to Cayenne.

Get around

See

Place des Palmistes.
Fort Diamant

Do

Touloulous

There are sand beaches in the eastern part of Cayenne, and the sea is good for surfing.

Carnival

Guianese Carnival takes place between Epiphany in early January and Ash Wednesday in February or March. On the weekend people put on their carnival dresses and dance in the streets through the night. The most remarkable are the ladies' colorful touloulou dresses. The dancing groups show the ethnic diversity of French Guiana. In the main parade that is held on the last Sunday of the carnival dancing schools (similar to those in Rio de Janeiro) perform. The most famous of them are Chiré Band, Réno Band, Kassialata, Manaré and Piraye.

Buy

Eat

Market in Cayenne

The restaurants of Cayenne reflects the ethnic mosaic of the Guyanese society; you will find Creole, French, Chinese, Lebanese and Javanese restaurants here.

Budget

In general the Chinese restaurants are the most affordable places to have a meal with dishes around €15-20. On Place des Palmistes there are also carts selling hamburgers and Javanese dishes.

Ice cream

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

Night view of the city hall

Except for the carnival weeks, the nightlife isn't as wild as in many other Latin American destinations. There are some nice bars in Cayenne downtown. Nightclubs are generally located in the periphery of the city.

Sleep

Good hotels exist, but they can be relatively expensive.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Go next

From Cayenne you can relatively easy get to other parts of the department or to the neighboring countries overland. Kourou boasts a space centre and the Devil's Island archipelago. To get a taste of the rainforest of inner Guiana you can take a domestic flight for instance to Saül.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, October 15, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.