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French Guiana is a French overseas territory in South America that is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Brazil, and Suriname. It's nestled in an enchanting region that's full of color and warm breezes through its coastal plains, hills, and quaint mountains.
Before you start packing, you need to check if you need a visa or not. While French Guiana is technically still a French territory, it does not enjoy all of the benefits of the Schengen Area Agreement, although the rules are largely the same. There are some restrictions and limitations for some nationalities, but the list of visa waiver countries is quite extensive: chances are, you are visa-exempt. EU citizens have the same rights in French Guiana as they have in France, meaning an EU citizen is authorized to travel to and from French Guiana freely, and can also stay there indefinitely. The rest of the nationalities on the visa-exempt list can stay for 3 to 6 months without a visa.
To check where your nationality stands, try out our Visa Checker Tool. Just select your country of origin from the drop-down list and choose French Guiana as your destination. Instantly you'll know if you need a visa and where you can apply.
Regardless of citizenship, all travelers must have a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate. You will not be allowed to board the plane if you do not have one, and if you travel by land, you are not granted passage. The Yellow Fever immunization is mandatory, so make sure that you pay your doctor a visit before departure.
Leaving documentation aside, you will grow to love French Guiana. The climate is a bit humid and quite tropical, meaning there isn't much seasonal variation in temperature is concerned. Enjoy the beautiful beaches and sip a cold beverage, or go explore the vast jungle: the hilly plateaus and the Tumuk Humak Mountains are not to be missed!
You have several options for getting to French Guiana, although you can only fly with Air France or Air Caraibe into Cayenne, as it is the only city in the nation with an international airport. Alternatively, you can travel by boat across the Atlantic Ocean from several nations offering passenger travel. Many people prefer this option since it is quite inexpensive - you just need sea legs and some patience! Lastly, you can get in French Guiana via motorway from Brazil or Suriname.
Getting around French Guiana is pretty easy. You can travel in-country by bus, but note that the buses do not come frequently and are often delayed, making public transit a bit frustrating. Taxis are very easy to find, but the fares can get quite expensive, especially if you look like a tourist. Renting a car is yet another viable option, but don't expect to see many paved roads in the inner reaches of the nation. The Cayenne Airport has flights to inland cities, but as you can expect, the plane tickets are pricey.
Before traveling to French Guiana, you should learn some basic French since English is not widely spoken or written. Most citizens speak both French and Creole. Since there are many Brazilians and Dominicans in French Guiana, Portuguese and Spanish are also common.
Heavy on spices and seafood, Creole cuisine in French Guiana is simply fantastic. Surely you have heard of cayenne pepper, right? Be careful since cooks in French Guiana can be a bit liberal with their spices.
All in all, French Guiana is an exciting and rich country in an interesting and beautiful region. You are sure to have a lovely trip. The kindness o the people, the Creole culture, and scenery will charm you into returning soon.