Cruising in French Guiana


First settled by the French in 1604, French Guiana was the site of notorious penal settlements until 1951. The European Space Agency launches its communication satellites from Kourou.


Location: Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Brazil and Suriname
Geographic coordinates: 4 00 N, 53 00 W
Map references: South America
Area: total: 91,000 sq km
Land: 89,150 sq km
Water: 1,850 sq km


378 km

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 12 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


Tropical; hot, humid; little seasonal temperature variation


Low-lying coastal plains rising to hills and small mountains

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Highest point: Bellevue de l'Inini 851 m


The economy is tied closely to the much larger French economy through subsidies and imports. Besides the French space center at Kourou (which accounts for 25% of GDP), fishing and forestry are the most important economic activities. Forest and woodland cover 90% of the country. The large reserves of tropical hardwoods, not fully exploited, support an expanding sawmill industry that provides sawn logs for export.

Cultivation of crops is limited to the coastal area, where the population is largely concentrated; rice and manioc are the major crops. French Guiana is heavily dependent on imports of food and energy. Unemployment is a serious problem, particularly among younger workers.


Airports: 11 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 4
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 7
Roadways: total: 817 km (1998)


3,760 km; note: 460 km navigable by small oceangoing vessels and coastal and river steamers, 3,300 km by native craft (2003)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Degrad des Cannes

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Argentina - Belize - Brazil - Chile - Colombia - Costa Rica - Ecuador - El Salvador - French Guiana - Guatemala - Guyana - Honduras - Mexico - Nicaragua - Panama - Peru - St. Pierre and Miquelon - Suriname - Uruguay - Venezuela

Further Reading

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