French Guiana Highlights




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General Information

Deep in equatorial South America, French Guiana is in the Far North East of South America. French Guiana is an overseas department and region of France. It is the only country of mainland America that is still part of a European country. The Guiana Amazonian Park covers over 40% of French Guiana. (it also makes it the largest National Park in the EU) French Guiana’s major employer is the European Space Agency (ESA) which has its head office in Paris. Worldwide it employs 2200 staff and has an annual budget of 6 billion Euro. The space agency accounts for around 25% of the country’s annual gross domestic product.  The space centre is based in Kourou around 60km north of Cayenne. The interior of French Guiana is largely uninhabited. Most consumer goods are imported (hence expensive) Wages are legislated at the same rates as in France. The road system is good along the coast but poor in the interior. Current issues are destructive illegal gold mining by Brazilian miners in the remote interior of French Guiana.

Dense rainforests shelter centuries-old indigenous villages, while rockets zoom overhead, launched from the country’s lucrative Space Centre. The capital, Cayenne, is a melting pot of French, Asian, African, and Brazilian cultures, and if you visit during Carnival, between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday, you can join in the celebrations with parades every weekend. The country has a largely unspoiled wilderness, which is home to an astounding diversity of wildlife. Along the coast, nature lovers can explore bird-rich marshes, where caimans lurk, and Atlantic beaches, where turtles nest in droves. Inland, vast savanna stretches to lushly cloaked mountains, and rivers slice through steamy jungle.