About French Guiana (GF)
The overseas territory of French Guiana (GF) is located on the northeast coast of South America, and bordered by Brazil and Suriname. Covered mainly in rainforests, the territory is separated from its neighbors by two major rivers, the Oyapok to the east, and Maroni to the west.
The majority of its population resides near the Atlantic coast in the capital of Cayenne, while vast tracts of inland territory are uninhabited wilderness. The terrain of French Guiana consists of coastal plains that rise to low mountains in the south, and its climate is generally divided into tropical “wet” and “dry” seasons, though rainfall is consistent throughout the year.
Tourism to the country revolves around fishing, ecotourism, and the Guiana Space Center in Kourou. Although administered by the France and a member of the European Union, French Guiana is not a part of the Schengen Agreement. Visitors from most Western countries can enter the country on a 90-day landing visa.
With very little public transportation to speak of, travelers are very likely to rent a car in French Guiana. The country’s minimal network of roads primarily runs the length of the coastline, with few inland routes.
The entire southern half of the country is dedicated to the Guiana Amazonia Park and accessible only by air. It’s possible to enter Brazil via barge, and Suriname via ferryboat. The main routes found at the coast are typically paved, two-lane roads in various states of disrepair, although roads in Cayenne are generally passable year-round.
Bridge crossings are common due to a significant number of rivers flowing throughout French Guiana, while rising waters frequently make passage impossible. Travelers to the country are advised to rent an all-wheel drive vehicle. Meanwhile, the roads in Cayenne are based on the French model of transport and feature a number of roundabouts.
Choosing your car
The best deals on cheap car rentals in French Guiana are found with Avis, Sixt, Dollar, Enterprise, Europcar, and Hertz at the airport in Cayenne. Choose from minicars, economy hatchbacks, compact, intermediate, and fullsize 4-door sedans, SUVs, estate wagons, 7-12 seater minivans, and premium, luxury, and specialty vehicles.
Tips and advice
Inform your French Guiana car rental provider if you wish to take the vehicle into Brazil or Suriname.
Driving at night outside of Cayenne and some of the larger villages is not advisable. However, this is not due to a criminal threat, but rather a matter of road visibility and orientation.
Aside from the scant network of highways consisting of the N1 and N2, the majority of routes in French Guiana are single-track, dirt pathways — not roads per se.
Fuel stations are found mainly in Cayenne, Kourou, and a handful of other villages along the coast. Meanwhile, these stations are typically only open during daylight hours.
Animal hazards are common throughout the country, with the exception of Cayenne, Kourou, and St. Laurence.
Visitors will notice an abundance of wrecked cars lying abandoned on the side of roadways, which serve as a testament to the dangers of speeding. Radar cameras are posted along the highways, but enforcement is notably lax.