Quiet spot behind abandoned hotel (and former police headquarters). Shady, but some sun, too. Police came by once a day and private security made its rounds every few hours (checking in with a beacon right by the building, so they do have to pass by). The abandoned and overgrown marina next door (the gate) was actually home to two really nice elderly French sailors preparing their ships to get sailing again. This is all unofficial of course. I sneaked into the tennis courts next door once to take a shower (early evenings when there are few people). No infrastructure. I would not leave the car there alone for too long.
Level grassy spot a little of the road, about 200m from the beach (where it is no allowed to camp). At night saw several giant leatherback turtles on the beach. Sun and shade, clouds of mosquitoes at and after sunset (impossible to leave the van). Water tap and bathroom across the street at Visitors’ Centre. Shops and internet (at public library) in village about 1km east along the road. Free.
Opening hours 9:00-14:00. We got our tourist cards here. Needed: passports only, costs €30 per card, waiting time 30 min.
See note below ref new procedure from April 2017. This may be a temporary measure for the current civil unrest. Check-in here before you head to the Suriname border in case the process has changed again.
Arrived to this place after a boat ride and a short trek with local friends but there is a dirty road that reach this beautiful place. There are free Carbets to hang you hammock and a river to fish. Don't know how bad the road is but a couple of stock hilux was parked here.
Chutes de Fourgassier, abandoned buildings but flat area to park. Hidden from the main road, a few houses at the entrance but very calm at night.
Access road is not in good condition but posible without 4WD. Really beautiful and refreshing falls good for a dip
The bridge is now open and all (non-commercial) arrivals from Brazil come through here. No formalities for EU registered vehicles BUT it's not possible for EU vehicles to buy insurance here. Insurance is only available for "international vehicles" which we understood to mean any non-EU vehicle. After much discussion they let us into the country without insurance warning us that we are illegal on the road, we must go straight to Cayenne and must buy insurance immediately. This arrangement was only due to one friendly English speaking guard who persuaded the other guards to let us go; without him I think we are likely to have been refused entry to French Guiana. On the plus side... they told us we were the first Brits to cross the bridge :-)
The best place that we found if you want to be in town. Very popular with families in late-afternoon until dark, then peaceful over-night and most of the day. We stayed a few nights waiting for the strikes and blockades to end, no one bothered us. Toilets in the square but we didn't use them. There is a 3-star hotel there too, not sure whether they might let you use facilities. Wifi in the hotel cafe. No charge for parking-up.
Highly recommend coming here on a sunday morning. There is a great insect & butterfly museum where the owner takes you around for personal guided tours (in french or english) telling you all about the local wildlife and his 30 years of collecting species in the area, fascinating. There is also a great pottery to visit where two guys do demonstrations, make and sell their own stuff. There is a colouful Laotian market with locally grown fresh fruit, veg and handmade products. Best of all is the fab foodie hall for lunch with vendors serving amazing, authentic asian foods (spring rolls, stir-frys, soups etc) which are cooked there and served fresh. All this only on Sundays!
Nice day out from Kourou & interesting. Lots of wildlife as well as the old buildings and history. Boat leaves Kourou at 08:30 (check-in 07:45 - departure location is on OSM) & returns to mainland at 16:30hrs. Sailing time 70 mins. We found a day trip was plenty of time, but there is an Auberge on the island if you want to stay over. Does nice food but bit pricey; most families seemed to take big cool-boxes and picnics. Also there is an area near the 'piscine' for pitching small tents (or hanging a hammock between trees) which I think is free. It's a very pretty spot to stay-over, but poor camping facilities (no fresh water, just hole-in-the-ground toilets).
Museum has English displays. Normally there should be a guided tour (in French only) but not on the day we went.
Recommend watching Papillon movie before you go; puts it all into context, but it it clearly not where it was filmed.
Boat price is €42 per person return fare (kids cheaper) which includes entrance to the island etc.
Safe to leave your vehicle here for the day to take a trip to the islands, but we were warned it's not safe overnight around here.
Tickets can be bought here before sailing but best to book online in advance http://www.promaritimeguyane.fr
Check-in 07:45, boat leaves 08:30 hrs daily. Return 16:30hrs. Sailing time around 70 mins.
People at info center confirmed: camping at the beach is forbidden ... but ... if you take care of your trash, use the public toilets and in turtle season keep lights and sounds to the minimum overnight parking is OK.
Picnic area with tables and constant breeze, so almost no mosquitoes.
To see turtles continue on the road 1.5km extra, you can stay overnight there too but here is quieter.