ABOUT French Guiana is situated on the northeast coast of South America, and is bordered by Brazil to the south and the east and by Surinam to the west. The southern Serra Tumucumaque Mountains are part of the eastern frontier, whilst the rest is formed by the River Oyapock. Surinam is to the west along the rivers Maroni-Itani and to the north is the Atlantic coastline. Along the coast runs a belt of flat marshy land behind which the land rises to higher slopes and plains or savannah. The interior is comprised of equatorial jungle. Off the rugged coast lie the Iles du Salut and Devil's Island. The infamous Île du Diable (Devil's Island) was the site of a small prison facility, part of a larger penal system by the same name, which consisted of prisons on three islands and three larger prisons on the mainland, which was operated from 1852 to 1953. Cayenne, the capital and chief port, is on the island of the same name at the mouth of the Cayenne River. Arriving in French Guiana the main international airport is Cayenne-Rochambeau Airport, located in the commune of Matoury, a southern suburb of Cayenne. There are two flights a day to Paris (Orly Airport), served by Air France and Air Caraïbes. The flight time from Cayenne to Paris is 8 hours and 25 minutes, and from Paris to Cayenne it is 9 hours and 10 minutes. There are also flights to Fort-de-France, Pointe-à-Pitre, Port-au-Prince, Miami and Belém. French Guiana's main seaport is the port of Dégrad des Cannes, located on the estuary of the Mahury River, in the commune of Remire-Montjoly, a south-eastern suburb of Cayenne. Almost all of French Guiana's imports and exports pass through the port of Dégrad des Cannes. Built in 1969, it replaced the old harbour of Cayenne which was congested and could not cope with modern traffic. A road from Régina to Saint-Georges de l'Oyapock (a town by the Brazilian border) was opened in 2004, completing the road from Cayenne to the Brazilian border. It is now possible to drive on a fully paved road from Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni on the Surinamese border to Saint-Georges de l'Oyapock on the Brazilian border. Electric current: 220 v, the tap water is drinkable throughout the coastal strip
general, stores are open Monday to Saturday, 8 AM – 1 PM and 4 PM – 7 PM. Food stores and supermarkets stay open late (8:30 PM) and are open Sundays, 9 AM – 12:30 PM.
CLIMATE The rainy season in French Guiana, during which tropical storms may occur, takes place between December and July. Tropical. Dry season is August to December; rainy season is December and January and April to July. Hot all year round, with cooler nights. Average temperature is 27°C.
BEWARE Crime levels are low, but serious crime does occur in French Guiana. Avoid isolated areas including beaches, particularly after dark. Do not carry large amounts of cash or jewellery with you. Leave valuables and travel documents in safety deposit boxes and hotel safes.