French Guiana - Profile
- French Guiana (Guyane) is an overseas department of France, sandwiched between Brazil and Suriname. The atmosphere in the country is more Caribbean, akin to Martinique and Guadeloupe than to the rest of Latin America.
- The coast itself has only a few ports or anchorages, but the offlying Iles du Salut (location of the infamous penal colony of Devils Island) are a popular stop for sailors. These islands should only be visited after having cleared into the country. The best anchorage is on Ile St Joseph, although there are no completely protected anchorages.
- Also interesting to visit is the Ariane Space Centre at Kourou, west of Cayenne, although an appointment has to be made in advance. River trips, usually by canoe, are another attraction of this small country, which is only visited by a small number of cruising yachts, mainly French.
- The Oyapok River, which borders Brazil, is navigable far into the interior rain forest. At the other end of the country, bordering Suriname, is the Maroni River, and is also occasionally visited by yachts
- Provisioning is good, but expensive in Cayenne (except for French wine). There is only a limited range of repair facilities. Good provisioning is available in Kourou, where emergency repairs may be possible if the help of technicians from the French space centre can be enlisted.
Dinghy and outboard theft, an increasing problem worldwide, is a problem here. Be sure to secure your dinghy and outboard with a cable and lock at all times, and to lift them out of the water and secure them to the boat at night.
The Caribbean Safety and Security Net (email@example.com) gather information by anchorage or by island, so sailors can plan their cruising in the Caribbean with an eye to appropriate behaviour and precautions wherever they decide to go. Should you have information about a security incident, as well as contacting Noonsite please also forward details to the Caribbean Safety and Security Net, as theirs is the most comprehensive source of Caribbean security incidents against sailors on the net. Please be sure to include boat name, date of incident and anchorage/port where the incident took place.
The real rainy season is from April to July, while August to November are the drier months. Rainfall can be heavy in this tropical climate where temperatures average 80°F (27°C).
For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page