Kourou French Guiana

How becoming an Expat in French Guiana changed my life

When they ask me where I live, people are often surprised by my answer. For the record, and if you are new to my blog, I live in French Guiana. An unknown overseas region of France attached to Brazil, on the 5Β° of latitude on the equatorial line. At first, because it’s a region of France they have never heard of. Secondly, most of the friends and family I have left in Italy couldn’t imagine leaving their city to change region. Let alone changing continent.

Why have I moved 8 000 km from home?

That’s a good question.

I think I got lost between school education and building my life after that. But even though, I abandoned the academic path, at the dawn of my 30s I can look back at my path proudly. I have a good job, and an amazing and supportive family, and I recently discovered the joy of being a mother.

I can safely say that thanks to French Guiana I have found myself. Probably because from my critical teenage years I became an adult and that’s also the reason why it feels like home.

When I first arrived, I was supposed to stay only for three months. Then I stayed 3 more months. And 10 more. In the end today I am not far from my 10 years stay anniversary.

Posing for the traditional Touloulou ball during Carnival

French Guiana is a country of many faces and ethnicity, people are often very willing to meet and open to newcomers. During my first 6 months, I was always invited to carbets in the Amazonian rainforest or parties with new friends. Then I met my future husband and since just like me he was willing to stay, we decided to move in together. At that moment la Guyane became my stable home.

It’s like living in summer all year long

I started to enjoy a calmer and more relaxed lifestyle. The weather is always around 30Β°, it’s like living in summer all year long. Although, Christmases have a different taste at hot temperatures.

French Guiana wins another massive point If we talk about life quality. There isn’t smog, the local fruits and vegetables are sooo good, the fish is so fresh you may see it moving in your dish and there isn’t car traffic. I drive 20 km in 15 minutes every morning to go to work.

Salvation Islands, French Guiana
The abandoned hospital on the Salvation Islands

Honorable mentions:

If you like adventure movies, you probably have seen Papillon. The historical drama, which was NOT filmed in French Guiana, contributed to creating the myth of a savage and dangerous land.

Even though the penal colonies were active for over a hundred years. And for sure they were not a vacation place. The whole region evolved into a safer and more accessible country. Today thousands of tourists visit the prisons every year, and together with the Guiana Space Centre, they are a MUST-visit if you are planning a trip inside the region.

And last but not least, Nature.

French Guiana is between Brasil and Suriname, with the Amazonian rainforest covering 96% of its surface. It’s one of the richest ecosystems on Earth based on 5 500 different types of plants and trees, 700 bird species, 500 fish species, 177 different mammals, and 109 amphibians.

I did several hikes in the rainforest and every single one of them has its own incredible story. It could be because of an animal we spotted, a waterfall we have dived into, or simply the forests energy. The sounds, the smell, the colors, and everything that surrounds you are the purest and most powerful source of life.

Nature, weather, lifestyle, and people. These are the reasons why I love French Guiana.

Do you want to know more about this wild region of France? You will find all the information you need in the French Guiana section. Including the reasons why French Guiana should be on your bucket list.

4 thoughts on “How becoming an Expat in French Guiana changed my life”

  1. Hello Anita,
    I have just discovered your blog and am really enjoying it! I moved here 4 months ago from Ireland, and your advice and perspective is great. I’m working my way through all your posts πŸ˜€
    Thank you!

    1. Hi and welcome!
      French Guiana is a very special travel destination. I’ve been living here from 9 years now.
      Please feel free to ask any question here or also via Insta messages, I’ll be glad to help!
      Btw I’m also working on a blog post on what you shouldn’t miss when visiting πŸ˜‰

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