|Climate chart (explanation)|
Cayenne is located on the Atlantic coast, on marshland surrounded by hills. The city was founded in 1643 by the French and was part of the Dutch, English and Portuguese colonial empire during the following century. Today a third of the department's inhabitants live in Cayenne. Downtown is small and the houses are typically Caribbean.
On Sundays, almost everything is closed. If you arrive on a Sunday, the only thing to do on your first vacation day is walking around in an almost deserted city.
The climate is what you would expect this close to the Equator. The temperature is constant around +25-30°C while it's raining heavily for most of the year.
French Guiana's main international airport is 1 Cayenne – Félix Eboué Airport (CAY IATA). located in the commune of Matoury, a southern suburb of Cayenne. There are two flights a day to Paris Orly Airport (not CDG) served by Air France and Air Caraïbes. Moreover there are flights from Martinique, Guadeloupe, Paramaribo and Belém.
There are no buses to the airport, so your alternatives are to rent a car or take a taxi (€35 to central Cayenne).
From both neighboring countries, you will need to cross a river by ferry into French Guiana. From Brazil, you will arrive in Saint-Georges de l'Oyapock from where you can travel by bus to Cayenne with a transfer in Régina. From Suriname you will step off the ferry in Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni from where you can take a bus to Iracoubo and transfer to another going to Cayenne.
If you've brought a car, the road is paved from both borders towns to Cayenne.
- Cayenne has a public bus network of five lines. The fare is €1,10.
- Your other options are obviously car, taxi, foot or bike.
- 1 Place des Palmistes. A park with high palm trees, lively in the nighttime.
- Place des Amandiers. A square frequented by young couples in the evening.
- Jardin botanique (The botanical garden). The well kept botanical garden of Cayenne is worth a visit.
- Cayenne city hall.
- 2 Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur de Cayenne (Cayenne cathedral). Cayenne's cathedral is a major landmark, the seat of the Diocese of Cayenne and a National Monument of France.
- [dead link] Musée Départemental Franconie, 1, avenue du général de Gaulle (in the same block as the library), ☎ . Mo and Th 8:00-13:15, 15:00-17:45, We and Fr 8:00-13:15. A museum of the animals of the region, Amerindian and Creole art, and exhibitions about the history of French Guiana, daily life in the penal colony and the colonial administrator and humanist Félix Éboué, perhaps the most significant person from the region. €3.
- Musée des Cultures Guyanaises, 78, rue Madame Payé, ☎ . M-F 8:00-13:00, 15:00-17:45 (We afternoon closed), Sa 8:00-11:45. Exhibitions of the daily life of the different populations in the region including traditional clothing and art, a reconstruction of a carbet (traditional shelter) as well as a documentation center. €2.
- Salines de Montjoly (in Rémire-Montjoly a few km east of Cayenne). A conservation area consisting of a sand beach, dunes and a mangrove forest.
- 3 Fort Diamant (in Rémire-Montjoly). A 19th century fort, nowadays a Monument Historique (French National Heritage Site).
There are sand beaches in the eastern part of Cayenne, and the sea is good for surfing.
Guianese Carnival takes place between Epiphany in early January and Ash Wednesday in February or March. On the weekend people put on their carnival dresses and dance in the streets through the night. The most remarkable are the ladies' colorful touloulou dresses. The dancing groups show the ethnic diversity of French Guiana. In the main parade that is held on the last Sunday of the carnival dancing schools (similar to those in Rio de Janeiro) perform. The most famous of them are Chiré Band, Réno Band, Kassialata, Manaré and Piraye.
- Le Marché aux légumes (The vegetable market). We, Fr, Sa 5:00-13:00. A place to buy local agricultural products, or just to expericence a lively market in the tropics.
- Marché d'Intérêt Régional (le M.I.R.). daily except Sunday. At the fish market you can buy fresh fish.
- For souvenir shopping head for the Trois Fontaines shops and other shops in the downtown. Good souvenirs are objects carved out of wood and exotic objects of art.
The restaurants of Cayenne reflects the ethnic mosaic of the Guyanese society; you will find Creole, French, Chinese, Lebanese and Javanese restaurants here.
In general the Chinese restaurants are the most affordable places to have a meal with dishes around €15-20. On Place des Palmistes there are also carts selling hamburgers and Javanese dishes.
- Jin Le Yuan, 33 rue Lieutenant Brasse, ☎ . Chinese restaurant.
- Le Vrai Régal, 60 bd Jubelin, ☎ . A sandwich joint.
- Abriba, 33 rue des Dahlias (quartier Bonhomme), ☎ . Creole restaurant
- Iceberg, rue Lalouette.
- Hippopotamus, 23 rue Léon Gontrand Damas (place des Palmistes), ☎ . French restaurant.
- La Taverne, 26 rue Mole, ☎ . French restaurant.
- Mille Pâtes, 52 rue Justin Catayée, ☎ . French restaurant.
- Bar des Palmistes, 12 av du Gén de Gaulle (place des Palmistes), ☎ . Creole and French restaurant.
- L'Entracte, 65 r Justin Catayée, ☎ . French restaurant.
- La Petite Maison, 23 r Félix Eboué, ☎ . French restaurant.
- [formerly dead link] La Kaz Kréol, 35, avenue d'Estrées, ☎ . M-Tu, Th-Sa 12:00-14:30 19:30-22:30, Su 12:00-14:30. Creole restaurant. Also take away. €18.
- Le Paris Cayenne, 59 rue Lallouette, ☎ . French cuisine, likely the finest restaurant in Cayenne.
Except for the carnival weeks, the nightlife isn't as wild as in many other Latin American destinations. There are some nice bars in Cayenne downtown. Nightclubs are generally located in the periphery of the city.
- Le Moonlight Discothèque, route de Montabo chemin Grant.
- Le Bar des Palmistes. A bit expensive, for instance a Ricard is €5. This is however one of the few places open on Sunday.
- La Bodega. A small sympathetic bar with good ambience.
- Le Lido Night.
- L'Iguana Café. An air conditioned bar lounge in central Cayenne.
Good hotels exist, but they can be relatively expensive.
- Hotel Ket Tai. Nothing fancy but clean and a few minutes walk from Place des Palmistes. Single room for €43, double for €50 and triple for €60.
- Central Hôtel de Cayenne, rue Mole, ☎ . sgl €75, dbl €80.
- Best Western Amazonia, 28 Avenue du Général de Gaulle, ☎ . rates from €85.
- [formerly dead link] Novotel Cayenne, Chemin Hilaire Rue De Montabo, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: H0677@accor.com. rates from €89.
From Cayenne you can relatively easy get to other parts of the department or to the neighboring countries overland. Kourou boasts a space centre and the Devil's Island archipelago. To get a taste of the rainforest of inner Guiana you can take a domestic flight for instance to Saül.