If I say French Guiana in South America, your first thought may be idyllic white beaches and crystalline waters. You are wrong! Even if French Guiana is Nature’s paradise, its ocean waters are far from turquoise. The reason behind this is not pollution, but it’s due to the great rivers, the Amazon above all, that carry their sediments into the ocean. Nevertheless, beaches in French Guiana are still ideal to spend a few hours because of their wild beauty. But which are the most beautiful? Let’s see.
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The list follows a geographical order, starting from the West. In French Guiana, there aren’t many beaches as the seaside is covered by one of the densest mangroves in the world.
Table of Contents
- Les Hattes nearby Awala Yalimapo
- Montjoly in Remire Montjoly commune
- Gosselin Beach nearby Remire
- Saint Joseph Beach on the Salvation Islands
- Rocks Beach in Kourou
- Pim Poum in Kourou
- Honorable mentions: Guatemala’s beach for bird watching
- Things you should know before going
- Are you preparing for a trip to French Guiana?
Les Hattes nearby Awala Yalimapo
Les Hattes Beach is known by marine biologists as it’s one of the biggest sea turtle nesting sites in the world. Every year leatherback, olive ridley, and green sea turtles swim for thousands of kilometers to come back and lay their eggs. This happens between March and June. While hatching happens between May and September.
Outside of this incredible experience, Les Hattes is a 5 kilometers beach where you can quietly bathe and observe sea birds. It’s a very nice picnic place to spend some time.
Before taking the road back to your itinerary stop by neighboring Kalinha’s village to buy some artisan objects. Their wooden statues are some of the finest in French Guiana.
Montjoly in Remire Montjoly commune
Remire-Montjoly is the neighboring commune of Cayenne and one of the cutest residential areas in the region. Montjoly is a long golden sand beach that is divided into two parts. Coming from Cayenne, the first part is mainly wild. There is the Saline trail that is one of the best sea bird watching points in French Guiana. While the second part is a residential area. Access to the beach is still possible, although the location is less private.
Montjoly is also where the famous route des plages (Beach Avenue) begins. The long road connects Montjoly and Remire, and it’s also where you will find some of the best restaurants in the area: La Belle Amédée, L’Oasis, L’Auberge des Plages.
Just like the Hattes Beach, The North Eastern area of Cayenne’s Island is one of the most important sea turtle nesting sites in the area. It’s very common to see turtles and also hatching.
Gosselin Beach nearby Remire
Situated on Remire’s side of Beach Avenue, Gosselin Beach has a beautiful view of Remire’s Islands and is surrounded by Montravel and Rorota hills.
You can either enjoy the beautiful view while having lunch at L’auberge des Plages, or from the top of Rorota hill, a very nice trail where you can spot several wild species of animals.
Gosselin gets a little bit crowded during the weekend, but it’s still rather desert compared to the European coasts.
Saint Joseph Beach on the Salvation Islands
Saint Joseph is the second island by the size of the Salvation Islands. It was once where the most dangerous prisoners stayed and also the adult cemetery of the three islands, nowadays it is a heavenly paradise you can spend a few hours while visiting the amazing Salvation Islands.
There are no risks in bathing there, as big round black rocks surround the fine sand and protect the shore from the strong sea currents. As it’s 12 kilometers from the coasts, the water is very clean, and the view on Devil’s Island is heavenly.
Did you know? The Salvation Islands cemetery is just behind Saint Joseph Beach and has one of the most beautiful views of it as well as of the other Islands. Maybe as a way to let the haunted prisoner’s souls finally find peace?
Would you like to know more about the Salvation Islands? In this detailed travel guide, I tell you everything about them!
Rocks Beach in Kourou
The Plage des Roches in Kourou is well-known by the locals for its tall beautiful palms as well as one of Kourou’s symbols, the Dreyfus Tower. The small lighthouse is a tribute to Alfred Dreyfus, the Salvation Islands’ most famous prisoner, who was completely exonerated after its condemnation.
This is your go-to place if you want to do some fishing, sunbath, or even play beach volley. There are often many spontaneous players especially on Sunday when the city volleyball club does beach volley sessions.
Rocks Beach is where one of Kourou’s most prestigious hotels is situated: Hotel des Roches. Their bar La cage (the cage) is ideal for sipping cocktails during happy hour.
Pim Poum in Kourou
Very close to Rocks Beach in Kourou, Pim Poum Beach deserves a short mention in this list. This little bay of about 150 meters is ideal as its very peaceful and shaded. It also has a nice bar in the sand, the Copacabana. Perfect if you are picnicking on the beach.
Pim Poum is also where Kourou Nautical club is based. You can rent canoes or paddles, and take sailing lessons. You can check their website here for their schedule and prices.
Note during the weekend it gets very crowded as it’s small. Be patient, there is a place for everyone.
Honorable mentions: Guatemala’s beach for bird watching
When people get for the first time in Kourou they often are surprised to find an unusual panel before arriving in Kourou. It says “Guatemala”. On the right side of the Kourou river’s delta, this wild territory is sprinkled with very few farms and incredible nature.
There is a trail that goes on to the forest side, where you can spot many rare birds: woodpeckers, birds of prey, kingfishers, etc… But the most interesting sights are the sea birds flocks on Guatemala’s beach. You can admire red and sometimes also black ibis, roseate spoonbills, and skimmers among the most common but there are many more species around.
The ideal moment to observe them is before sunset between 4 and 6 PM.
Things you should know before going
Are beaches safe in French Guiana?
Short answer yes they mostly are, but always consider the environment. Try to don’t leave your things unattended and don’t carry expensive or too showy items. Also avoid wandering to the beach when the sun is down, even as a couple.
Be aware of the tide
The difference between low and high tide is impressive. There are several (hundreds!) meters of difference between the two. The main causes behind this are the mud bank formations generated by the Amazon sediments.
Before getting out check the upcoming tides on Meteo Consult Marine. If you want to enjoy the warm ocean waters you should look for the high tide. While for bird watching it’s easier to see the birds with the low tide.
Are the beaches in French Guiana crowded?
Generally no. Although during the weekend there will be more people than in on working days. Also when it’s the sea turtles’ nesting time, there will be more people observing the sea queens. No matter how many people there are always think of the animals’ safety and respect.
Sometimes you may also long for quietude and peacefulness while some stereo speakers next to you are sending music to their fullest. It’s many local’s way to enjoy music. If it really bothers you, you may try asking politely, but honestly, I won’t bother. Move instead.
Are you preparing for a trip to French Guiana?
I’ve got you covered. Thanks to our experiences, tips, and guides about French Guiana won’t have more secrets for you! And if you still have questions feel free to write us. We have already helped several people move or explore France’s wildest region.
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