Saint-Laurent du Maroni

More than just simply a border town, Saint-Laurent du Maroni offers a far greater glimpse into the history and culture of French Guiana than does Cayenne.  A solid mix between French citizens, Indian and Chinese immigrants, and a large communities of Surinamese people who escaped to here during the brutal civil war Saint-Laurent provides a healthy mix of cultures.  The city also has some very interesting architecture as it is the one location in French Guiana that seems to have maintained its colonial feel.  This site of a former prison wont likely steal your heart’s travel desires but it will certainly steal your curiosity.

Photo by Rick Cohen

Time Needed: 1 Day
Budget: 30-70 dollars depending on accommodation

Things to do in Saint-Laurent

  • The Prison: The old prison is called Camp de la Transportation.  Wander through here with or without a guide, but personally the guide is worth it as he/she will provide you with a bit better understanding of what went on in this creepy prison.
  • Canoe Tour: You can rent a canoe, as well as be guided on a tour, on the river which is a great experience.
  • Zoo: The conditions of the zoo are decent, but below the quality standards you’d expect to see in Europe.  The fun thing about the zoo is that it is quite hands on and will allow you to get up close and personal with some of the animals.

Where to Eat in Saint-Laurent

I was very pleased with the food selection in Saint-Lauren as there was quite a bit of Asian foods served with a creole mix which is delicious.  Try one of the Vietnamese sandwiches as they are delicious.

  • Tropical Gardens: I went here on a recommendation for a traveller I passed and found the food decent.  The pizzas were tasty, but lacked the thickness in toppings that I prefer.  I paid about 7 Euros for a pizza.
  • Chez Felicia: If you’re looking for Creole food this is a must eat in Saint-Laurent.  The food here is superb and the price is decent as I paid 8 Euros for a meal with a beer.

Where to Stay in Saint-Laurent

Outside of Cayenne and Kourou the way to save money is by stringing up a hammock.  If you’re looking for a hotel room, you’re still going to have to pay.

  • Agami: The only place in town that I know of that has hammock space.  The cost is about 10 Euros a night, a little more if you need to borrow a hammock for the night as well.
  • Hotel La Tentiaire: The price of a room is about 50 Euros but the place is comfortable and if you’re sharing with another person it’s quite reasonably priced.

How to Get out of Town

If you’re heading towards Cayenne you can catch taxi colectifs although they will cost you about 40 Euros for the 3 hour trip.  The price to Kourou is only slightly better.  Otherwise, you can hitchhike quite easily to either place.  If you’re heading to Suriname you will need to catch a taxi to the ferry terminal, go through immigration and then proceed to the other side via the ferry or motorized canoes.  The immigration process is very simple on both ends.

Back to the French Guiana travel guide


Want to improve your photography? Subscribe to my Travel Photography YouTube Channel!