French Guiana travel advice

Latest updates: Health – editorial update

Last updated: ET

On this page

Risk level

French Guiana - Take normal security precautions

Take normal security precautions in French Guiana

Back to top

Safety and security

Crime

Petty Crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs regularly, particularly in urban areas.

Thefts commonly occur:

  • in popular tourist areas, including viewpoints
  • on buses, at bus stations as well as in airport terminals
  • in hotel lobbies
  • at restaurants, including on patios located near streets

While in French Guiana:

  • ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • avoid isolated or deserted areas
  • avoid walking alone after dark
  • avoid showing signs of affluence

Violent crime

Violent crime occurs occasionally.

Violent incidents commonly include burglaries of private homes, during which acts of violence are committed against the occupants.

  • Stay in reputable accommodation with adequate security measures
  • Keep doors and windows locked at all times
  • In case of an attack, do not resist

Fraud

Credit card, debit card, and ATM fraud can occur.

When using credit or debit cards at an ATM or with a card reader:

  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

Overseas fraud

Adventure tourism

Outdoor activities, such as jungle expeditions and other adventure sports can be dangerous if unprepared. Trails are not always marked and weather conditions can change rapidly, even in the summer.

Some gold miners operating in the Amazon rainforest also carry out illegal activities. You could find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

You may need a permit to access certain parts of the Amazon rainforest.

If you intend to participate in adventure tourism activities:

  • never do so alone, and don’t part with your expedition companions
  • obtain detailed information on your activity and on the environment in which you will be before setting out
  • consider hiring an experienced guide from a reputable company
  • inquire with the local authorities if the area where you plan to travel requires a special permit or permission
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
  • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
  • avoid venturing off marked trails
  • ensure that you’re adequately equipped and bring sufficient water
  • stay informed of weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
  • refrain from using facilities or equipment if you have doubts on their safety
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary

French Guiana - Tourism Committee of French Guiana

Water activities

Coastal waters can be dangerous.

Tidal changes and strong winds can cause hazardous currents and riptides.

Swimming

Some beaches are unsupervised.

  • Don’t swim alone
  • Consult residents and tour operators for information on possible hazards and safe swimming areas
  • Don’t dive into unknown waters, as hidden rocks or shallow depths can cause serious injury or death
  • Always obey warning flags advertising dangerous conditions
  • Watch out for weather alerts or warnings
  • Follow the advice of local authorities

Boating

The rivers of French Guiana are, along with air travel, the only way to access the interior of the territory.

If you plan to navigate the river network:

  • be sure that you have a good understanding of local laws and regulations
  • engage an experienced guide from a reputable company
  • do not overload your boat
  • have personal safety devices available for all passengers
  • carry a VHF marine radio to signal your position in case of an emergency

Water safety abroad

Telecommunications

The telecommunications network is not always reliable.

Cellular service might be intermittent, especially outside of cities. It is non-existent in certain regions of the Amazon rainforest.

  • Don’t rely on your cellphone in an emergency, especially outside of population centres
  • Avoid travelling alone
  • Inform a family member or friend of your itinerary

Demonstrations

Demonstrations may occur.

Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Road safety

Road safety is overall very good throughout the territory.  

Road conditions

Major roads are paved and well maintained.

Driving in remote areas could be dangerous due to:

  • inadequate lighting
  • insufficient road signage
  • less-developed rural roads

Driving habits

Motorcyclists have little regard for traffic regulations. They could be reckless and drive at excessive speeds.

If you choose to drive in French Guiana:

  • plan your route in advance, especially if you plan on travelling to rural areas
  • avoid travelling after dark
  • always carry a cellular phone and charger
  • check local cellular phone coverage, which remains unstable in the Amazon rainforest
  • advise a relative of your anticipated itinerary and route
  • ask about insurance coverage options for roadside assistance when you rent a vehicle

Public transportation

Public taxis and vans are relatively safe.

Buses

A bus service serves the communes of:

  • Cayenne
  • Montsinéry-Tonnegrande
  • Remire-Montjoly

Taxis

Taxis and shared taxis are available in coastal areas.

Shared taxis don’t follow a set schedule. They leave for their destination when the van is full. In addition to shared taxis operated by private companies, the government provides a public shared taxi service, the TIG. Every TIG vehicle carries an identifying “TIG” sticker.

Ferry

A ferry service operates on the Maroni river, allowing passengers to cross the river border with Suriname.

Pirogues

Pirogues or dugout canoes equipped with outboard motors are the essential mode of public transportation along French Guiana’s river network. They are registered and security standards are generally respected.

Fares vary depending on the distance travelled.

Ensure to have life jackets available for all passengers.

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

Back to top

Entry and exit requirements

French Guiana is an overseas department of France. However, it is not part of the Schengen area.

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the French authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.

Passport

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you expect to leave French Guiana.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

Visas

Tourist visa: not required for stays up to 90 days
Residence visa: required
Work visa: required
Business visa: required
Student visa: required

Other entry requirements

Customs officials may ask you to show them:

  • a return or onward ticket 
  • proof that you have a place to stay 
  • proof that you have sufficient funds for the duration of your stay

Drug screening

French Guiana is reinforcing its screening measures at Félix-Éboué international airport to combat drug trafficking. Customs officials may:

  • search your luggage
  • take your fingerprints
  • X-ray you upon arrival or departure

Allow enough time for customs screening.

Children and travel

Learn more about travelling with children.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

Back to top

Health

Relevant Travel Health Notices

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Hepatitis A

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

 

Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

Risk

  • There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination for travellers from all countries.

Recommendation

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

Hepatitis B

 Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

Influenza

 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Malaria

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is caused by parasites spread through the bites of mosquitoes.
 
There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this destination. 

Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic before travelling to discuss your options. It is recommended to do this 6 weeks before travel, however, it is still a good idea any time before leaving. 
 
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times: 
• Cover your skin and use an approved insect repellent on uncovered skin. 
• Exclude mosquitoes from your living area with screening and/or closed, well-sealed doors and windows.
• Use insecticide-treated bed nets if mosquitoes cannot be excluded from your living area. 
• Wear permethrin-treated clothing. 
 
If you develop symptoms similar to malaria when you are travelling or up to a year after you return home, see a health care professional immediately. Tell them where you have been travelling or living. 

Rabies

In this destination, rabies may be present in some wildlife species, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. 

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who will be working directly with wildlife. 

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

Chikungunya

There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a country.  Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

Dengue
  • In this country, dengue is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.
Zika virus

Zika virus is a risk in this country. 

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.

During your trip:

  • Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
  • Use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact, particularly if you are pregnant.

If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you should discuss the potential risks of travelling to this destination with your health care provider. You may choose to avoid or postpone travel. 

For more information, see Zika virus: Pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

American trypanosomiasis

American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) is a risk in this country. It is caused by a parasite spread by infected triatomine bugs. The infection can be inactive for decades, but humans can eventually develop complications causing disability and even death.

Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from triatomine bugs, which are active at night, by using mosquito nets if staying in poorly-constructed housing. There is no vaccine available for Chagas disease.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •  washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

HIV

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.

Medical services and facilities

Access to high quality healthcare is limited. Quality of care varies greatly throughout the country.

There are public and private health care providers, including hospitals and clinics, in French Guiana. Most hospitals and clinics are in coastal areas. The interior of the department has fewer medical facilities.

Ambulances are not always available or reliable. If you are hurt or injured, a taxi or a private vehicle could be more efficient for getting to the hospital.

Clinics may require an up-front payment before admitting patients.

Medical evacuation is very expensive. You will likely need medical evacuation in case of serious illness or injury.

Not all doctors speak or understand English.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Medication

Certain prescription medications may not be available in French Guiana.

If you take prescription medication, you’re responsible for determining their legality in French Guiana.

  • Bring sufficient quantities of your medication with you
  • Always keep your medication in the original container
  • Pack them in your carry-on luggage
  • Carry a copy of your prescription

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

Back to top

Laws and culture

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.

French Guiana is an overseas department of France.

Transfer to a Canadian prison

Canada and France are signatories to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in France to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and France authorities.

This process can take a long time, and there is no guarantee that the transfer will be approved by either or both sides.

Drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

  • Pack your luggage yourself and keep it with you at all times
  • Do not carry any parcels, bags, or luggage that do not belong to you

Drugs, alcohol and travel

2SLGBTQI+ travellers

French law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely socially accepted.

Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in France.

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of France, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.

Travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and France.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in French Guiana, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Guianese court.

If you are in this situation:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in French Guiana to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

Useful links

Marriages

If you wish to marry in French Guiana, you should consult local authorities at the city hall to obtain the necessary information.

The Embassy of France in Canada can also provide you with the requested documents.

Useful links

Investments

Disputes related to property acquisition or other investments are costly and take time to resolve.

If you plan on buying property, or making other investments in French Guiana:

  • seek legal advice in Canada and in French Guiana before making commitments
  • choose your own lawyer
  • avoid hiring a lawyer recommended by a seller

Driving

You can drive with your Canadian license for up to 3 months.

You should carry an international driving permit.

The legal driving age in France and its territories is 18. However, many rental car companies require drivers to be at least 25 years of age and have two years of driving experience.

Priority to the right

The "priority to the right" system is in effect in French Guiana. Drivers must give way to vehicles approaching from the right at intersections except when otherwise indicated by road signs, usually on main roads.

This is often a surprise to foreign drivers and results in accidents.

Useful links

Money

The currency of French Guiana is the euro (EUR).

ATMs are rare outside of major cities.

Restaurants and hotels accept payment by credit card. However, small local businesses may only accept payment in cash.

Plan accordingly.

Back to top

Natural disasters and climate

Rainy season

The rainy season extends from mid-December to June.

Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable due to mudflows and landslides. Bridges, buildings, and infrastructure may be damaged.

  • Monitor local media for the latest updates, including those on road conditions
  • Stay away from flooded areas
  • Monitor local news and weather reports
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities

Useful links

Wildfires

Bush and forest fires can occur. The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke.

In case of a major fire:

  • stay away from affected areas, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
  • monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation
  • follow the advice of local emergency services personnel

Back to top

Need help?

Local services

Emergency services

In case of emergency, dial 112.

Consular assistance

There is no resident Canadian government office in French Guiana. You can obtain consular assistance and further consular information from the Embassy of Canada to France, in Paris.

Paris - Embassy of Canada
Street Address130, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris, FrancePostal Address130, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris, FranceTelephone+33 (0)1 44 43 29 02Fax+33 (0)1 44 43 29 86Emailparis-consulaire@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-FranceFacebookEmbassy of Canada to FranceTwitter@CanEmbFranceOther social mediaCanEmbFrance
Embassy of Canada in France
Consular district

French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, La Réunion, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint-Martin, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon

Appointment Book your appointment online

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to France, in Paris, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

Disclaimer

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

Date modified: