Visit the exotically located Guiana Space Centre, the massive spaceport where France dreams of Europe being a world space power. Take a boat trip to the infamous Iles du Salut (Devil’s Islands) to explore the local history, snap photos of native wildlife and even take a swim in the convict’s swimming pool. Escape to a private island in Upper Suriname on an exclusive two-day rainforest retreat, surrounded by the buzz and twitter of the Amazon Jungle. Guided walks get you closer to the heart of destinations, from the colourful backstreets of Cayenne to the suspended canopy bridges of the Iwikrama Forest
Whether you’re a wildlife photographer, twitcher, all-round nature enthusiast or simply an adventurer looking to delve into the Amazon Rainforest, this is a journey not to be missed. A trio of tiny countries on the North coast of Brazil – Suriname, French Guiana, and Guyana – are awash with natural wonders and largely unspoiled. Explore laidback Georgetown and Paramaribo on foot, visit the space station in French Guiana, take a boat cruise around the famed islands of Papillion, and penetrate the dense wilderness of the Amazon in search of pink dolphins. A winning combination of beach, jungle and wildlife is only bolstered by a relative lack of tourists, so if you’re looking for destinations that are all the more incredible for being “not so hot” – look no further.
Breakfast Included: Lunches Included: Lunches Included:
Welcome to French Guiana! Today there is an important welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please meet for it in the hotel reception. Other than that, the day is yours to explore Cayenne as you please. Consider a two-hour kayaking trip to the Iles Dupont, exploring sea islets positioned less than a half-mile off the beach of Cayenne’s Grand Hotel de Montabo. This site is perfect for the observation of sea turtles and dolphins. Alternatively, perhaps take an afternoon and evening trip in a pirogue (dugout canoe) up the Kaw River to view the flora and fauna of the marshes, keeping an eye out for caiman.
Enjoy a half-day walking tour around Cayenne. This three-hour hike takes you to the important historical and cultural spots around town, and up Cepenou Hill to enjoy a panoramic view of the city. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy.
Travel to the town of Kourou. This is where the European space station is found, and it's the starting point for boat trips around the former penal colony on Devil’s Island (one of the infamous Iles du Salut off the coast of French Guiana). The ordeal of Frenchman Henri Charriere, who spent 12 years here, would later inspire the book Papillon.
Today's approximate driving time is 2 hours.
Saint Laurent du Maroni, Kourou
Today you'll visit the European spaceport (Guiana Space Centre) near Kourou, en route to the town of Saint Laurent du Maroni. Enjoy a boat trip to the Iles du Salut, the Devils islands; explore the old church, school and hospital of Ilhe Royale, photograph the native wildlife and even take a dip in the convicts swimming pool.
Today's approximate driving time is 3 hours.
Saint Laurent du Maroni
Enjoy a free day to explore the border town of Saint Laurent du Maroni, located on the Maroni river. It's got an interesting and very dark history as an arrival point for prisoners during the 19th century. You might like to take an optional tour to the 'Ile Portal' river island, to the Amerindian village of Biguiston and its polishing stones, and finally to the Wacapou creek.
Travel by ferry across the Maroni River to Albina in Suriname. At certain times of the year, it may be possible to arrange a local boat to take us to the turtle nesting site of Galibi further north. (Note: if this is not available due to local circumstances or the timing, we may choose to head directly to Paramaribo).
Continue the journey west to the lively town of Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname. This evening, enjoy a sunset boat trip in the hope of seeing some dolphins playing in the Suriname River (snacks and drinks are included on the tour). In Paramaribo you'll stay in a locally owned hostel in dorms and twin rooms with shared bathrooms.
Enjoy a free day to explore Paramaribo's historic inner city and the Commewijne area. You can easily explore the historic centre on foot, visiting Fort Zeelandia and the Suriname museum, and enjoying the fantastic architecture of Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral, one of the largest wooden buildings in the western hemisphere. Alternatively, hire a bike and take a boat across the river to cycle the peaceful Commewijne Plantation Loop, or visit the star shaped fort at Neiu Amsterdam. There are plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from too. A good optional activity is to take a tour to explore the historical timeline of Suriname and learn about its bittersweet past of sugar and slavery. Another option is a day tour filled with authentic Maroon culture, art, music and dance.
Upper Suriname Area
Leave the truck behind and embark on an unforgettable adventure into the interior of Suriname. First you will travel by minibus (for approximately 190 km) to the port at Atjoni; from there, hop on a boat for an one-hour trip along the Suriname River. This leads deep into the rainforest, and your base for the next two nights is an exclusive private island. Be sure to pack light for this excursion, as there will only be space to take a small bag. The cabins are comfortable, and there's a pool to enjoy. All meals are provided during your time here, but you will need a small amount of money for drinks and tips for the local guide. During this stay you're free to either relax and unwind, or take part in various activities such as cultural workshops, forest walks, canoe trips or visit the local population. The pristine rainforest, turbulent rapids, beautiful flora and fauna, idyllic islands and the fascinating Maroon culture make for an unforgettable experience.
Perhaps visit some local villages on a walk around the island, keeping an eye out for some of the furry inhabitants of the area. You could also learn about medicinal local plants, spot caiman on a night-time canoe trip, or take a dip in the river at the Ferulassi rapids (a natural jacuzzi). Otherwise, kick back, relax and soak up the ambience of the Amazon.
Spend this morning however you wish: explore, swim, or relax. After lunch, take a transfer back to Paramaribo. Consider an optional evening tour to see turtles in the their natural habitat.
Paramaribo and its surroundings definitely deserve at least one more day for exploration. Why not take a boat trip to Jordensavanne, take part in a Moengo Cultural experience, go walking in the Peperpot Nature reserve or Brownsberg Nature Park, learn the art of Surinamese cookery, take a boat trip to the ruins of Jodensavanne, or visit the partly renovated plantation Peperpot and take a walk in the nature park.