Kourou Region Attractions
The Kourou Region's growth and activity is based on the European Space Program which is centered in the Kourou area. Since 1970, this area has grown from a population of 600 to a current population of 22,000.
Salvation Islands are composed of three islands, including Île du Diable, which was home to the "Devil's Island" penal colony between the mid 19th and mid 20th C.
Space Center Guyanais
Up to nine space launches are conducted annually from this space center.Three separate organizations operate here: the Agence Spatiale Européenne (European Space Agency); the Centre National d'Études Spatiales (French Space Agency); and Arianespace (a private commercial enterprise developing the Ariane rocket). Between them, they comprise about 15% the French Guiana's economic activity.Aided by guides, visitors can see a film tracing the history of the Space Centre, the Jupiter Control Centre, the Ariane No. 2 launch complex where an Ariane 4 launcher is in the assembly hall and the giant Ariane 5 facilities.In 1964 the French government chose this site of French Guiana's coastline for its proximity to the equator, its location away from storm tracks and earthquake zones and its and low population density.
The Space Museum allows visitors to follow the history of space through seven themed modules.Several video and slide presentations are available including the preparation and launch of Ariane from the French Guiana Space Centre.
Kourou, French Guiana
Situated on the west bank of the Kourou River, the second largest city in French Guiana is a modern town surrounding an older colonial core.Once the home of an infamous penal colony, the area is now known for the Centre Spatial Guyanais.One third of the area's population is European and although roughly 1,500 people work at the Centre Spatial, all the activities in town are indirectly based on the industry. Kourou has 19,000 inhabitants.
Sinnamary, French Guiana
Stretching along the Sinnamary river, Sinnamary is a village of 3,500 which encompasses a craft-producing Indonesian community.Sinnamary is surrounded by savanna and lies near a large estuary important for sighting shorebirds. Unfortunately many crafts sold in Sinnamary depend on the killing of the scarlet ibis.Restaurants feature Indonesian food and open-air markets sell fresh fish and fruit.Fishing is available on the open sea or on the Sinnamary River.
Petit Saut is a lake formed in 1994 from the damming of the Sinnamary River 60km/37mi upstream from its mouth.In this lake of 300 sq km/114sq mi are little islands and many small rivers flow into its surrounding environment of Amazonian rainforest.
St Elie & Mining Trail, French Guiana
St Elie was a gold prospectors village. From the village is an old 20km/13mi mining trail lined with superb forest and good bird watching.The Sooty Barbthroat, Spotted Antpitta, and a number of rare cotingas, including the incredible Crimson Fruitcrow, can be seen.
The Kourou River crosses an area of typical French Guyanais vegetation. Short trips can be taken up the river and the surrounding creeks.There is a botanic footpath where the great diversity of forest can be discovered.