Situated majestically between Brazil and Suriname upon the Atlantic Coast of South America, French Guiana is a country that should not be left out by any adventurer out there aching for some fun. Riddled with countless races and indigenous cultures, it is a melting pot for you to explore by all means. So without further ado, let us see the top six things to know before visiting this extraordinary overseas French territory.
1. Language barriers:
It is extremely important to understand that the ethnic diversity in French Guiana is a defining factor when it comes to stability. This is a country that prides itself with being so multicultural yet so peaceful. The official language in the country is French (and you should get its basics down as soon as you can as the locals greatly appreciate your efforts that pertain to addressing them in their own tongue) but numerous indigenous languages are also spoken. Each and every ethnic group retains its mother tongue and while we understand that even the basics may appear difficult in them, you should try your best to stretch beyond your limits and pre-study a bit (wink).
2. Travel warnings and crime:
There are a few things to keep in mind when visiting French Guiana. First, know that it is one of the countries that are on the risk-list of Zika virus transmission. For this particular reason, we recommend that you always wash your hands, eat from sanitary locations and drink only water whose origins can be traced back. The second most important thing to know is that travel warnings should never stop you from going where you want to know – they are only there to raise awareness, not to hinder the longing heart (triple wink).
We are happy to share with you the fact that French Guiana is extremely safe. Major crimes are nearly unheard of according to statistics (though not inexistent) and petty theft is rare. Of course, we still recommend that you not flash expensive cameras around or an exceedingly large amount of money in cash. No matter how safe the country, the ignorant are the first to get acquainted with the representatives of its low crime rate (wink). Stay safe and enjoy the tranquillity!
Tipping in French Guiana is as simple as it can get: if the bill includes a tip, then leave a 10% extra. If it does not, however, then it is by no means expected. We do recommend that you keep an eye out for luxury resorts as they are well-acquainted with international standards and they might expect tips. This occurs on the northern coast mostly, but keeping an open eye never hurts. Cab drivers are usually not tipped but the bills are frequently rounded up as a sign of politeness. Bartenders do not expect tips and nor do hotel staff, so keep a calm head!
The best possible reason to visit French Guiana (besides its wonderful people, of course) is its alluring weather. Located deep within the bounds of the tropical climate zone (just a tad north of the Equator), it experiences hot weather all year long without any fluctuations. When you have an all-time record-low temperature of 18 degrees Celsius, you know that you are visiting a place envisioned in dreams. Tropical rains are to be expected but they are by no means cold and, to be frank, they can be quite enjoyable. Even if you are visiting during the “drier” season between July and November, you are likely to see a few downpours. Due to the warmth and the loveliness of the rain, ponchos and umbrellas may be left at home (wink)!
There is one thing that you must understand before considering the prices in French Guiana and it is the fact that it is a fully integrated member of the European Union. What this inadvertently means is that its prices will adhere to the standards of the Union: they will not be low. Being the most commercially thriving country in South America, it has a reputation to upkeep (wink)! Budget-savvy travellers should keep this in mind before they go there as the price of the flight often does not reflect the situation within the bounds of the country itself.
Did you enjoy our list? What experiences have you had in French Guiana and how have they shaped your overall trip? Hit the comment section below and share your thoughts with the world! Safe travels!