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Is French Guiana Safe?

French Guiana is generally safe for travelers, with low crime rates compared to its neighbors. However, petty crime like pickpocketing can occur in crowded areas. Travelers should exercise caution in certain neighborhoods, especially at night. The risk of civil unrest is low, but protests can disrupt transportation. Insect-borne diseases like dengue and malaria are present, so taking preventive measures is advisable.

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Safety & Security

French Guiana is generally considered a safe destination for travelers, with a relatively low crime rate compared to other parts of South America. However, it's still important to exercise caution and take necessary precautions.

  • Petty Crime: While violent crime is rare, petty crimes such as pickpocketing and bag snatching can occur, especially in crowded areas and tourist hotspots. Remain vigilant and keep valuables secure.

  • Scams: Be wary of common scams targeting tourists, such as overcharging for goods or services, or being offered unsolicited help with luggage or transportation.

  • Civil Unrest: Occasional protests and demonstrations can occur, particularly in the capital Cayenne. Avoid large gatherings and monitor local news for updates.

  • Terrorism: The risk of terrorism is low, but cannot be ruled out entirely. Exercise caution in crowded public areas and follow the advice of local authorities.

  • Disputes: Disputes between locals and tourists are uncommon but can arise due to cultural misunderstandings. Respect local customs and avoid confrontations.

While French Guiana is generally safe, it's advisable to take standard precautions, such as not carrying excessive valuables, avoiding isolated areas at night, and being aware of your surroundings. Consulting with your accommodation or tour operator for up-to-date safety information is also recommended.

Health & Medical

Travelers to French Guiana should be aware of potential health risks and take necessary precautions. The country has a tropical climate, which increases the risk of insect-borne diseases like malaria, dengue fever, and Zika virus. Mosquito-borne illnesses are a significant concern, especially in rural areas and during the rainy season.

  • Vaccinations: Ensure routine vaccinations are up-to-date, and consider additional vaccines like yellow fever, hepatitis A, and typhoid, depending on your travel plans.
  • Malaria: Malaria is present in French Guiana, and antimalarial medication is recommended for most travelers, especially those visiting rural areas.
  • Water and Food Safety: Exercise caution with food and water sources to avoid traveler's diarrhea and other foodborne illnesses.
  • Medical Facilities: Medical facilities in urban areas like Cayenne are generally adequate, but may be limited in remote regions. Travelers should consider purchasing comprehensive travel health insurance.

While French Guiana has a relatively low risk of serious health concerns for most travelers, taking appropriate precautions and being aware of potential risks can help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Natural Disasters

French Guiana, a French overseas territory located on the northeastern coast of South America, is relatively safe from natural disasters compared to other regions. However, travelers should be aware of the following potential risks:

  • Tropical Storms and Hurricanes: French Guiana lies in the hurricane belt, and the hurricane season runs from June to November. While direct hits are rare, heavy rainfall, strong winds, and flooding can occur during this period.

  • Flooding: Due to its tropical climate and proximity to the Amazon basin, French Guiana can experience heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding, particularly during the rainy season from December to June.

  • Earthquakes: While not a major risk, French Guiana is located in a seismically active region, and minor earthquakes can occur occasionally.

  • Wildfires: During the dry season, wildfires can occur in forested areas, especially near the borders with Brazil and Suriname. These fires can cause air pollution and disrupt travel plans.

  • Landslides: In mountainous regions and areas with heavy rainfall, landslides can pose a risk, particularly during the rainy season.

It's advisable for travelers to monitor weather forecasts, follow local advisories, and take necessary precautions during their visit to French Guiana. Staying informed and being prepared can help mitigate the potential risks associated with natural disasters in the region.


Transportation in French Guiana is generally safe but can be challenging due to the country's remote location and underdeveloped infrastructure. Public transportation options are limited, with buses and taxis available primarily in urban areas like Cayenne. Road conditions can be poor, especially in rural regions, with unpaved roads and limited signage. Rental cars are an option, but driving can be hazardous due to the lack of proper road maintenance and the presence of wildlife on the roads.

  • Domestic Flights are a reliable way to travel between major cities, but services are infrequent and expensive.
  • River Transportation is common in remote areas, with boats and ferries providing access to isolated communities. However, safety standards may not meet international norms.
  • Taxis are available in Cayenne and other urban centers, but it's advisable to use reputable companies and agree on fares beforehand to avoid scams.

While transportation in French Guiana can be challenging, exercising caution and planning ahead can help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Cultural Norms

French Guiana is a culturally diverse territory with influences from indigenous Amerindian, French, African, and Asian cultures. As a visitor, it's essential to respect local customs and traditions to ensure a smooth and enriching travel experience.

  • Religious Customs: French Guiana has a significant Catholic population, and religious events and holidays should be respected. Dress modestly when visiting churches or religious sites.

  • Indigenous Cultures: French Guiana is home to several indigenous Amerindian communities. Respect their traditions, customs, and way of life if you have the opportunity to visit their villages. Obtain permission before taking photographs.

  • Local Etiquette: Greet people with a handshake or a polite nod, and avoid public displays of affection. Punctuality is generally expected in formal settings.

  • Cultural Events: Attend local festivals and events, such as the Carnival celebrations in February/March, to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture. However, be mindful of appropriate behavior and dress codes.

  • Environmental Awareness: French Guiana is home to the Guiana Amazonian Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Respect the natural environment and follow guidelines when visiting protected areas.

Emergency Services

Emergency services in French Guiana are generally reliable, but can be limited in remote areas. The availability and quality of services may vary depending on the location within the country.

  • Medical Facilities: French Guiana has several hospitals and clinics, primarily concentrated in the larger cities like Cayenne and Kourou. However, medical facilities in rural areas can be basic and have limited resources.

  • Emergency Response: The emergency response system, including ambulances and fire services, is reasonably efficient in urban centers. However, response times may be longer in remote areas due to the challenging terrain and infrastructure.

  • Tourist Assistance: While there are no dedicated tourist assistance services, the local authorities and embassies can provide support and guidance to travelers in case of emergencies. Language barriers can be a challenge, as English proficiency may be limited outside major cities.

  • Natural Disasters: French Guiana is prone to natural disasters like hurricanes and floods. Emergency services are equipped to handle such situations, but their capacity can be strained during major events. Travelers should follow local advisories and instructions during these times.

It's advisable for travelers to purchase comprehensive travel insurance and familiarize themselves with the emergency contact information for their embassy or consulate before their trip.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Is French Guiana safe for tourists?

French Guiana is generally safe for tourists. However, it's advisable to exercise caution in certain areas, especially at night. Petty crimes like bag snatching and pickpocketing can occur. Avoid isolated areas, keep valuables secured, and be aware of your surroundings.

Is French Guiana safe for solo female travelers?

Solo female travelers should take precautions in French Guiana. While not overly dangerous, it's wise to avoid walking alone at night, especially in remote areas. Dress modestly, be cautious of unwanted attention, and trust your instincts in potentially risky situations.

Is French Guiana safe for families?

French Guiana is generally safe for families with children. However, parents should be vigilant and take necessary precautions, such as avoiding isolated areas, securing valuables, and being cautious of potential petty crimes. Ensure children are supervised at all times.

Is French Guiana LGBTQ+ friendly?

LGBTQ+ rights are legally recognized in French Guiana, as it follows French laws. Same-sex marriage is legal, and discrimination based on sexual orientation is prohibited. However, public displays of affection may draw unwanted attention in some areas.

Do you need a visa to go to French Guiana?

Visa requirements for French Guiana depend on your nationality. Citizens of the European Union, Canada, and many other countries can visit visa-free for up to 90 days. However, travelers from some nations may need a visa. It's essential to check the specific requirements for your country before traveling.

Can you drink tap water in French Guiana?

Tap water is generally safe to drink in French Guiana, as it meets French standards for potability. However, some visitors may prefer bottled water as a precaution, especially in rural areas or during periods of heavy rainfall.

What is the currency in French Guiana?

The official currency in French Guiana is the Euro (EUR). Major credit cards are widely accepted in cities and tourist areas, but it's advisable to carry some cash, especially when traveling to remote regions.

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