French Guiana

French Guiana

Use Normal Level of Caution

French Guiana is located on the northeastern coast of South America on the Atlantic Ocean and shares borders with Brazil and Suriname.

French Guiana became a French colony in 1667 and has been an overseas department of France since 1946. The ethnically diverse population of about 250,000 people enjoy a higher standard of living compared to many countries in South America. Citizens participate in the French social security system. French subsidies contribute to the economy.

For nearly 100 years, convicts were sent to penal colonies in the territory, including Devil's Island, and thousands died of yellow fever and malaria. Another former prison, Kourou, is now the location of the Guiana Space Centre from where the European Space Agency and Arianespace launch satellites as well as supplies for the space station.

Tourism has not contributed significantly to the economy so far, but the French government of Guiana has started working on a tourism strategy for 2011-2021. Attractions include wildlife and natural beauty, rainforests and beaches, but also museums and guided tours of former prison camps.

Currency EUR: Euro
Language French
Capital Cayenne
Recent Alerts None
Latest Alert Not Available

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in French Guiana. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Hepatitis A

There is a significant risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in French Guiana through contaminated food or water. Infection can still occur at tourist destinations and resorts.

Hepatitis B

There is a significant risk for acquiring hepatitis B in French Guiana.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in French Guiana, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Yellow Fever

There is a risk for yellow fever in this country.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in French Guiana. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Dengue Fever

Outbreaks of dengue fever may occur.

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya fever has occurred in this country.

Chagas Disease

The risk for most travellers is extremely low. However, the risk is higher if staying in poor-quality housing.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis occurs in French Guiana. Travellers to French Guiana are at risk for tuberculosis if visiting sick friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Malaria

All areas of French Guiana are at high risk for malaria, including Matoury, Macouria, and Kourou, except no risk in coastal areas west of Kourou and Cayenne City.

Zika Fever

There is transmission of the Zika virus in this country.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to French Guiana.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a significant risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a significant risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities or rural areas, where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Yellow Fever Vaccine

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for all travellers 1 year of age and older. However, the vaccination is recommended for all travellers 9 months of age and older.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to French Guiana.

Anti-malarial Drugs

Recommended anti-malaria medications include atovaquone-proguanil, mefloquine or doxycycline. Resistance to chloroquine and sulfadoxime-pyrimethamine has been reported.

Safety and Security in French Guiana

Emergency Numbers

112
17
15
18

Phone lines will usually be answered in French only.

Personal Safety

The crime rate is low, and most travellers have no trouble. However, petty crime, such as pickpocketing, bag snatching, or other theft does occur. Serious crime, such as armed assault or theft, also occurs. Always be alert to your personal safety. Keep valuables secured and out of sight. Safeguard your important documents, such as your passport. Avoid walking alone at night.

Avoid driving after dark.

Avoid isolated beaches and avoid all beaches after dark.

Political Unrest

Demonstrations and strikes occur in French Guiana. Transportation can be disrupted, roadblocks may be set up, curfews may be declared, and situations can turn violent. Always avoid public gatherings and demonstrations in foreign countries.

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