French Guiana: how to get there and transport
How to reach French Guiana
Cayenne, the capital of French Guiana, has the country’s main airport. This Cayenne-Rochambeau Airport is located in the Matoury district and is the first thing almost all travelers see of the country.
Air France or Air Caraïbes offer a daily flight connection between Cayenne and Paris- Orly. If you are from Brazil, you can fly with the Tam or Air Caraïbes from Belém. The TAF offers flights to the Brazilian destinations Belém, Macapá, São Luiz, Fortaleza and Recife. In addition to the above, Air Caraïbes also guarantees flights to Fort-de-France (Martinique), Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe), Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic)) and Port-au-Prince (Haiti). Air France also flies to Fort-de-France, Pointe-à-Pitre, Port-au-Prince, but also to Miami (USA).
Entering by car means crossing either the Oyapoque River (natural border with Brazil) or the Maroni River (natural border with Suriname). You can then take a paved road all the way from Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni on the border with Suriname to the border town of Saint-Georges de l’Oyapock. In 2008 a bridge over the Oyapock River, which has been under construction for a long time, is due to be completed. This bridge will be the first land crossing between the two countries and between French Guiana and the rest of the world at all. Once it is completed, you can travel back and forth between Cayenne and Brazilian Macapá without any problems. The Maroni River as a border to Suriname does not yet have a bridge.
From Brazil and Suriname you can cross the borders by bus. For more information, see “Auto” above.
You can reach French Guiana from Brazil and Surinam (Albina) by ferry. You either cross the river Oyapoque (from Brazil) or the Le Maroni (from Suriname). These tours last 15 minutes each and are not overly expensive. One should negotiate the price well, however. From 2008 there will be a bridge between Brazil and French Guyana that will make crossing a river obsolete.
Travel in the country
The airplane is essential if you want to reach the cities inland. This is due to the fact that these are mostly in dense forest areas and have no road access.
The car is a good way to get to the towns along the country’s coast. In contrast to this, the settlements in the interior of the country are only connected to the outside world by air, as there are no roads to them yet. This becomes more understandable if you bear in mind the fact that 90% of the country consists of virgin forest and therefore only the coast is populated with a few exceptions.
Buses rarely run in French Guiana. There is one in Cayenne, but unfortunately it is not exactly reliable. You really shouldn’t rely on him. There are also minibuses in the country that run between larger cities. Unfortunately we are rare. Fares are fixed and cannot be negotiated down.
3,300 of French Guyana’s waterways are navigable, but sometimes only for very small ships and ferries.
Right-hand traffic prevails in French Guyana.
In order to avoid trouble with the police or even the courts, one should strictly adhere to the traffic rules applicable in the country. The maximum speeds shown can of course be reduced or increased by traffic signs. Regardless of the information given here, it is advisable to obtain detailed information from the ADAC, the AvD or the traffic clubs in the country concerned.
International license plate
According to Abbreviationfinder, the French Guiana international license plate is:
French Guiana: Embassies, Consulates and Tourist Office
Visit Countryaah for a full list of French Guiana embassies and consulates in each country around the world.
Representations of French Guiana in Germany
French Guiana does not have its own diplomatic mission; this is handled by France. The embassy in Berlin is responsible. The embassy of the French Republic in Berlin is located on Pariser Platz – in the immediate vicinity of the Brandenburg Gate. The embassy stands on the same ground that the previous representative office was on until it was destroyed in 1945. It should be mentioned that the property has been owned by the French state since 1860. After reunification, it was returned to France. The building was built in 1997 based on plans by the Parisian architect Christian de Portzamparc.
Embassy of the French Republic in Berlin
Pariser Platz 5
Tel: 0049 – (0) 30 – 590 03 90 00
Fax: 0049 – (0) 30 – 590 03 91 10
Web: www. botschaft-frankreich.de
German representations in French Guiana
Embassy, honorary consulate
The Federal Republic of Germany does not have its own embassy in French Guiana. The embassy in Paris (see here >>>)
or the honorary consulate in Guadeloupe (see here >>>) are responsible.
Austrian representations in French Guiana
Austria does not have its own embassy in French Guiana. The embassy in Paris is responsible (see here >>>).
Representations of French Guiana in Austria
French Guiana embassy does not have its own diplomatic mission abroad; France is responsible for this. The embassy in Vienna is responsible (see here >>>).
Swiss representations in French Guiana
Switzerland does not have its own embassy in French Guiana. The embassy in Paris is responsible (see here >>>).
French Guiana representations in Switzerland
French Guiana embassy does not have its own diplomatic mission abroad; France is responsible for this. The embassy in Bern is responsible (see here >>>).
French Guiana Tourist Office
12 Rue Lalouette
PO Box 801
Tel: 00594 – 29 65 00
Fax: 00594 – 29 65 01
French Guiana: Entry and Exit Requirements
Citizens of the member states of the EU, Switzerland and the USA are not required to have a visa when entering as a tourist. However, the passport must be valid for at least 6 months, children need a passport with a photo.
Import and export of goods The import and export of explosives is strictly prohibited. In addition, the import and export of plants and animals protected under the Washington Species Protection Act is prohibited. Violation can result in severe penalties. Import of drugs and pornographic material is prohibited. Bringing weapons and ammunition for sports or other purposes requires special authorization from the authorities prior to travel.
Entry with animals
The EU Pet Ordinance of October 1, 2004 applies to entering French Guiana with pets. As a result, the keepers of the animals need an EU pet passport to enter French Guiana. This can be issued by any resident veterinarian. In addition, the pets must be clearly identifiable. This can be guaranteed either by an implanted microchip or by a tattoo. From 2011, however, the animal must be chipped.
All pets must be vaccinated against rabies when entering French Guiana. To be vaccinated against rabies, the animals must be at least three months old. The rabies vaccination must be at least 21 days prior to entry and must not be older than twelve months.
However, it is also possible to enter French Guiana with animals that are younger than three months old and therefore not vaccinated against rabies. For this, an EU pet passport must be carried for the animal, it must have a chip or a tattoo and it must be ensured that the animal has been kept in the same place since its birth where it must not have come into contact with wild animals.
In French Guyana, no more than five animals per keeper are allowed to enter. Certain breeds of dogs are completely excluded from entry. These include pittbulls, boerbulls and tosas.
French Guiana: Travel Medicine, Risks
In French Guiana, the following infectious diseases are to be expected, which are not or less common in Germany and Central and Northern Europe:
- Malaria, there is a national risk, with the exception of Georgetown and New Amsterdam, of becoming infected with the malaria pathogen. Up to 80% of the infections occur with the very dangerous malaria tropica, the rest with malaria tertiana
- Chagas disease, especially when staying in wooden or adobe buildings
- Cholera, but usually only for high-risk travelers who come into contact with contaminated water or infected food, such as backpackers
- Dengue fever, incidence nationwide
- Intestinal infections caused by contaminated food or water, including amoebas, lamblia, salmonella, shigella, worm infestation and all kinds of viruses and bacteria
- Filariasis, nationwide occurrence
- Yellow fever, national occurrence
- Hepatitis A and B, a risk of being infected with hepatitis B, exists only for people who can come into contact with human blood
- Leishmaniasis Disease
- Typhoid, but only for risk travelers who come into contact with contaminated water or infected food
Upon arrival in French Guiana, the following vaccinations recommended:
- Diphtheria, a vaccination against diphtheria, should always exist in your home country
- Yellow fever (absolutely !!)
- Hepatitis A and B
- Tetanus, a vaccination against tetanus, should always exist in the home country
- Rabies, but only in high-risk travelers who can come into contact with the vector animals
- Typhoid, but only in travelers who may come into contact with polluted water or contaminated food
As already mentioned above, there is a compulsory vaccination against an illness with yellow fever for all persons over one year of age who come from a yellow fever infection area designated by the WHO.
When traveling in the country, it is strongly advised to undergo malaria prophylaxis. If the side effects seem questionable to you, you should at least have a “stand-by product” with you.
Who pays for vaccinations in Germany?
Most children in Germany are vaccinated against a number of infectious diseases at an early age. However, the vaccination protection only lasts up to 10 years, in some cases even shorter. Therefore, before traveling abroad, you should carefully consider against which infectious diseases a vaccination is necessary or useful in the country concerned and whether the vaccination protection, if applicable, was not too long ago.
Most statutory health insurances have been reimbursing the costs for the following vaccinations since June 2007.
There is even no 10 € practice fee – but the insured usually have to pay the statutory additional payment, which is 10% of the vaccine price – that is at least 5 € and a maximum of 10 €. Under these conditions, the following vaccinations are free of charge:
- Early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE)
- Yellow fever
- Hepatitis A and B
- Meningococcal meningitis
- Polyo (polio)
- Tetanus (tetanus)
Some health insurance companies also reimburse the cost of malaria prophylaxis.
As a rule, private health insurance companies (inquire beforehand) also cover the costs mentioned.
Hazards/current warning notices
Foreign Office (AA) of the Federal Republic of Germany
Phone: 0049 – (0) 30 – 5000 – 2000
Fax: 0049 – (0) 30 – 5000 – 51000
French Guiana: Currency and Shopping
The national currency of French Guiana is:
Euro (EUR) = 100 cents.
The following banknotes are valid and in circulation in the country:
- 5 €
- 10 €
- 20 €
- 50 €
- 100 €
- € 200
- 500 €
Bank opening times
Monday to Friday: 7:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Shop opening times
Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Post office opening times
Monday to Friday: 7.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.
Cheap or country-specific goods, souvenirs
The traditional goods like hammocks, ceramics, jewelry, wooden figurines and straw hats are very popular with tourists. In the duty freeshops, you have to present your return ticket in order to negotiate an additional discount.