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French Guiana in Pictures: 10 Beautiful Places to Photograph

Written by Bryan Dearsley
Feb 8, 2020

Located on the northwest coast of the continent of South America, tiny French Guiana offers visitors a fun vacation destination to explore. Like a little piece of France in the heart of the tropics - it is, after all, a French 'department' - there's a very tangible feeling that you're somewhere that's very unique.

Thanks to its dense and largely unspoiled rainforests, French Guiana has made a name for itself as a destination for ecotourism. Popular adventures include jungle treks and tours, along with wildlife photography experiences that will get you in front of a variety of species. Whatever you prefer to take pictures of, though, rest assured you'll find plenty of great camera-ready opportunities and beautiful places to photograph in French Guiana.

1. Devil's Island, Cayenne

Devil's Island

The island of Cayenne, while extremely picturesque, hides a dark past. It was here in 1852 that the French opened what was to become one of the world's most notorious penal colonies. Known as Devil's Island (Ile du Diable), the surviving structures from this dark past can now be visited, toured, and photographed.

2. Wildlife

Squirrel monkeys

Thanks to being covered in thick tropical rainforests, French Guiana offers countless opportunities for wildlife photographers to exercise their skills. In fact, so plentiful is the wildlife here that even amateurs and sightseers can whip off a few shots without having to venture too far away from their resorts. Furry creatures like these Guianan squirrel monkeys are common sights pretty much everywhere and are fun to photograph.

3. Cayenne Prefecture

Cayenne Prefecture

Located in the capital city of Cayenne, the attractive colonial-style Préfecture is one of the most photographed landmarks in French Guiana. Be sure to include a visit to the property (it's easy to find) in a walking tour of the city.

4. Cayenne's Squares & Parks

Square near the Musee Departamental Alexandre-Franconie

As seen in this photograph of the area around the Musee Departamental Alexandre-Franconie, Cayenne offers plenty of green space and public squares to explore. Along the way, you'll discover numerous pleasant neighborhoods with their interesting mix of colorful Creole and colonial-inspired homes.

5. Dreyfus Tower, Kourou

Dreyfus Tower

Once part of the notorious Devil's Island prison, the Dreyfus Tower is an attractive structure to photograph. Overlooking both the Kourou River and the Atlantic in the town of Kourou, the tower served as a means to communicate with the prison islands using flags. Today, it makes for a great spot for some coastal photography.

6. Guiana Space Centre, Kourou

Launch pads at the Guiana Space Centre

Many visitors to French Guiana are surprised to learn that this tiny French outpost is home to one of the world's most sophisticated space facilities. The Guiana Space Centre (Centre Spatial Guyanais) was opened in 1968 and serves as France's official spaceport. Time your visit right, and your photography skills will be challenged as you try to capture a launch.

7. Royal Island, Salvation's Islands

Royal Island Chapel

Situated 14 kilometers off the coast of the mainland (Kourou is the nearest harbor) and where you'll find Devil's Island, the other Salvation's Islands (Îles du Salut) are also certainly worth visiting. Of these, the prettiest is Royal Island (Île Royale), with a picture-worthy landmark being the attractive Royal Island Chapel.

8. The Beaches of Cayenne

Beach in Cayenne

While there's no end of adventures to be enjoyed in French Guiana, those seeking to stay put in a beach resort certainly won't lack the opportunity to take some great photos. Long stretches of beach like this one in Cayenne are everywhere here and are usually crowd-free, ensuring uninterrupted photo ops.

9. Tresor Nature Reserve, Kaw

Boat in the Tresor Nature Reserve

Home to over 530 different types of birds, not to mention countless other animal species, Tresor Nature Reserve in the Marais de Kaw-Roura region is a nature lover's paradise. This large wetland area can easily be explored via guided tours, which come highly recommended, as seasoned guides know exactly where to find wildlife at any given time of year.

10. Remire-Montjoly Beach

Sea turtle returns to the ocean on Remire-Montjoly Beach

The native marine life found in French Guiana also offers plenty of great photo opportunities. Seen here, a large sea turtle returns to the ocean after laying her eggs on Remire-Montjoly Beach.

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