French Guiana is one of the most beautiful and interesting countries in South America, famous for its totally unspoiled nature (8 million hectares of Amazon rainforest); but among the destinations not to be missed there is also the city of Cayenne, of which it is also the capital. It is a destination rich in testimonies of the ancient French colony that administered its territory: you can in fact retrace its history both in the special museums (Musée des Cultures Guyanaises), and by observing its buildings that have remained almost unharmed over time (Fort Diamant and Fortress Cépérou).
Here are the 10 must-see sites in Cayenne in French Guiana!
- The Cépérou Fortress
- Cathedral of the Holy Savior
- Place des Palmistes
- Musée des Cultures Guyanaises
- Fort Diamant
- Cayenne Botanical Garden
- Montjoly salt mines
- Musée de Félix Éboué
- Plages des Montjoly
- Sentier du Rorota
- Plan your stay in Cayenne: info on flights, hotels and tours
- User questions and comments
1 - The Cépérou Fortress
Originally built in wood in 1643, it was a stronghold located on the mountain that gives it its name and it had the task of protecting Cayenne from enemy attacks also thanks to its strategic position that sees it dominating the whole city from above; from the moment it was built, it unfortunately suffered several destructions and countless reconstructions over the years. In addition, at the end of the 600th century the fortresses of Vauban were built around it, then destroyed when the city was occupied by the conquerors of Portuguese nationality during the Napoleonic wars between 1809 and 1817. This site was restored only in the year 2016 and at very little remains of this important fort today.
- the attraction is easily reachable in 8 minutes on foot from the Cayenne-Gare Routière bus station: from here you will have to cross Avenue de la Liberté, then Rue Mentel and finally Rue Louis Blanc - Get directions
- always accessible
2 - Cathedral of the Holy Savior
Built over a decade (1823-1833), this cathedral officially became a sacred place when in 1874 the high altar, confessional and pulpit were transferred from the chapel located in the penal colony of Ilet de la Mère. It was then enlarged to a cathedral by decision of the bishop of Guiana in 1933, Monsignor Courtay, and was totally enlarged only in the year 1952. From the moment it was declared a historic monument (1992), it underwent an internal restoration process that concerned the bell tower and the external walls; to date this church is the main religious building in French Guiana and is visited for its distinctly colonial style.
- from the Cayenne-Gare Routière bus station it is 650 meters away, a 9-minute walk crossing Avenue de la Libertè and then Rue Arago; from the main square, Place des Palmistes, is a 3 minute walk (300 meters) - Get directions
- open from 08:00 to 12:00 and from 15:00 to 18:00
3 - Place des Palmistes
The square, which takes its name from the palm trees that are positioned inside, is the main square in the city of Cayenne; in the center of it it is possible to see the column of the republic erected in 1890 on the occasion of the commemoration of the storming of the Bastille, tangible proof of the presence of French power. We also find the statue of Felix Eboué inaugurated in 1957; this is a favorite of the locals especially in the evening when it fills up and becomes a really lively place.
- 400 meters from Cayenne - Gare Routière station (5 minutes walk) - Get directions
- always accessible
4 - Musée des Cultures Guyanaises
Established in 1995, this museum officially became accessible to the public as a regional public site in 1998. It is located right inside a Creole house in the heart of the city. It originally belonged to Herménégilde Tell, father-in-law of the well-known local politician Félix Éboué. Inside it is possible to admire ethnographic pieces with finds from various ethnic groups that characterized the population of Guiana, including the recent influx of immigrants from Haiti and Brazil, as well as some archaeological objects and an archive of documents. As for the temporary exhibitions, they are exhibited in a building adjacent to the house.
- it is 1 km from the Cayenne-Gare Routière station (12 minutes walk) - Get directions
- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 8: 00-13: 00 and 15: 00-17: 45, Wednesday: 8: 00-13: 00, Saturday: 8: 00-11: 45
- full price: € 2,00; reduced price: € 1,00
5 - Fort Diamant
Classified as a historical monument since 1980, it was built and completed between 1840 and 1849, this fort was of great importance. In past times, when in its place there was another imposing building, it enjoyed its strategic position on the occasion of the invasion of the French forces for the occupation of Guyana, subsequently it was occupied by the enemy forces on November 21, 1817.
Not much use was made of the fort we visit today, except for a brief period during the Second World War (1939-1945). It became a French National Historic Landmark in 1980 and has since undergone two renovations, one between 1985 and 1988, the other between 1998 and 2001.
It rises near the Mahury River and is 150 square meters large, today this building often hosts various and interesting temporary exhibitions.
- it is about 15 minutes by car from the center from Cayenne, along the N3 road and then the D1 - Get directions
- variables, inquire at information centers in Cayenne
- inquire at information centers in Cayenne
6 - Cayenne Botanical Garden
To get to know the great variety of plants that make up this area of South America, the Botanical Garden is the perfect and favorite place also and above all for families who choose to visit this particular city; it was officially founded in 1879 with the name of "Jardin du Roi" (Garden of the King). Here it is possible to find different species of trees not only typical of the immediate surrounding areas, and close to each one it is possible to find detailed information panels. It is the perfect place to have a picnic or relax in the shade and it is perfectly accessible as it is located in the city center. Very often this garden is used as a location for private and official events.
- is 1,5 km from the Cayenne-Gare Routière station (19 minutes on foot), it can be reached in 4 minutes by taxi from Station Taxis Individuels (95 meters from the Cayenne-Gare Routière station) - Get directions
- from Monday to Friday from 07:00 to 19:00, Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 to 19:00
7 - Montjoly salt mines
Only 10 km away from the capital Cayenne, it is not a real mine used for the extraction of salt, but rather of the large salt deposits that accumulate from the evaporation of sea water, from which a sort of lagoon.
This small area also offers the possibility of making interesting excursions along a path about 1,5 km long equipped with information panels. Here you have the opportunity to admire the typical landscapes of Guyana, entering the local vegetation characterized for example by the famous mango orchards.
- by car it is only 11 minutes from Cayenne - Get directions
- always accessible
8 - Musée de Félix Éboué
The place where Felix Eboue was born was the city of Cayenne and, in his honor, the General Council of Guyana bought a Creole house in 1989 to convert it into a museum just in homage to Governor Felix Eboue.
Since the year 2011 it has been labeled as "Maison des Illustres". The reason why Félix Eboué is remembered in the history of the French colony is because he was a fervent colonial administrator, resilient and political, defined by many as the hero of free France. This museum was closed to the public in 1999, only to be reopened in 2007. In fact, accessory parts are acquired and restoration works are carried out: mediation areas, a conference room, a multimedia area, the installation of a lift and a ramp. The ground floor is instead dedicated to welcoming the public, to educational activities (film projection, slides, use of computers and interactive terminals). On the floor it is possible to see an exhibition on the life of Félix Eboué.
- it is 11 minutes walk (850 meters) from the Cayenne-Gare Routière station - Get directions
- Mon from 10: 30-13: 00, Wed-Thu-Fri from 09: 00-13: 00. The museum is closed on Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday
9 - Plages des Montjoly
This is the closest beach to the city of Cayenne where you can swim or practice various water sports such as kitesurfing; here you can also find a species of turtle of considerable size and, in the period of June, the lucky ones can witness the birth of the turtles right on this beach.
- from downtown Cayenne is 19 minutes by car - Get directions
- always accessible
10 - Sentier du Rorota
5 km long, this path connects the lakes of Lalouette, Rorota and Rémire and winds along 170 meters high extending from the mouth of the Mahury river to the bay of Montravel. The path that turns to the left it offers a magnificent view of the sea and islands, while going to the right leads to the thickest section of the jungle. In addition to admiring the wonderful views of nature, if you are lucky you will also be able to spot some specimens of wildlife, such as different species of birds and sloths that are abundant in these areas, but also very difficult to spot.
- from Cayenne it is about 15 minutes by car, the entrance to the path is also equipped with a special parking for all visitors - Get directions
- always accessible
Plan your stay in Cayenne: info on flights, hotels and tours
Cayenne is a city that is worth visiting because, although it is now headed towards modernity, has managed to keep alive its cultural traditionalism which has seen the Creole culture blend harmoniously with the French one of the seventeenth-century settlers.
Cayenne is connected with the rest of the world through Rochambeau International Airport which is 17 km from the city, unfortunately there are no public connections, so it is possible to use one of the many taxis to reach Cayenne for about € 20,00.
Getting around Cayenne is really easy: there is a public bus service that includes 5 lines, a ticket costs around € 1,10 per person, however it is advisable to rent a car with which you could also reach the immediate surroundings of the French Guiana capital. . All those who choose this option are invited to pay attention especially when driving along the peripheral areas of the city where traffic conditions are on average dangerous.
Hotel prices in Cayenne are on average high and unfortunately there are no hostels available. Finally, it will be useful to know that before you reach this part of South America you must get vaccinated for yellow fever.
- starting from € 680,00 -
- Hotel and b & b starting from € 70,00 per room -