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French Guiana

French Guiana (French: Guyane or Guyane française) is a French department in the Amazonia region of South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Brazil and Suriname. It is governed as an overseas province of France with same rights and privileges granted to all other French departments and benefits financially from the arrangement.

Regions

Cities

  • Cayenne, the administrative capital of French Guiana
  • Kourou, the city which hosts the space center and Arianespace
  • Saint-Laurent, located on the Maroni river, which forms the natural border between Surinam and French Guyana.
  • Saint-Georges, on the Oyapock river, which is the natural border between Brazil and French Guyana.

Other destinations

Understand

First settled by the French in 1604, French Guiana was the site of notorious penal settlements (collectively known as Devil's Island) until 1951. The European Space Agency launches its communication satellites from Kourou. It is the only portion of mainland South America still governed by an overseas nation.

Climate

Tropical; hot, humid; little seasonal temperature variation.

Landscape

Low-lying coastal plains rising to hills and small mountains, mostly an unsettled wilderness. It also consists of hill plateaus and the Tumuc-humac mountains.

Get in

Concerning immigration, French Guiana has different laws. French Guiana is not part of the Schengen territory and your passport or ID-card is checked upon arrival even if you're arriving from mainland or Caribbean France. The department is however covered by the directive for Freedom of Movement so EU-citizens have the right to stay indefinitely. For some neighboring countries (e.g. Brazil, Suriname) it is easier to go to Paris than it is to reach Cayenne.

In addition, holding a yellow fever vaccination certificate is mandatory regardless of citizenship or where you've recently been. Be prepared to show this certificate before boarding a plane to French Guiana or at the border if you are arriving overland.

By plane

Félix Eboué Airport (IATA: CAY) just outside Cayenne is the only international airport and the main point of entry to the territory. Air France and Air Caraibes each have a daily flight from Paris, so it's relatively easy to get in from Europe. Air France and Air Guyane Express also has flight to two major French outposts in the Caribbean, namely Martinique and Guadeloupe and this is probably the best way to get in from North America and the Caribbean. Suriname Airways connects to Paramaribo and Belém (in Brazil) with connections to other parts of South America. In addition there are a couple of seasonal charter flights from Miami and various Brazilian cities. From other parts of the world, expect a complicated journey with three or four transfers.

By boat

From Brazil and Suriname, getting into French Guiana overland includes a 15 minute crossing by boat across Oyapoque (from Brazil) or Le Maroni (from Suriname). It's not very expensive, unless you want to take a car across, but you have to haggle.

French Guiana's main seaport is the port of Dégrad des Cannes, located on the estuary of the Mahury River, in the commune of Remire-Montjoly, a south-eastern suburb of Cayenne. However these days, freighter travel is the only possibility to get into French Guyana from further away by boat.

By car

From Brazil you can take a private barge across the Oiapoque River. Its owner can be contacted in St Georges or in Oiapoque. From Suriname, there is a ferry to cross the Maroni River.

Oyapock River Bridge

The Oyapock River Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge. It spans the Oyapock River to link the cities of Oiapoque in Brazil and Saint-Georges de l'Oyapock in French Guiana. The two towers rise to a height of 83 meters, it's 378 meters long and it has two lanes of 3.50 m wide. The vertical clearance under the bridge is 15 meters. Construction was completed in August 2011, but its opening has been postponed many times, as the border facilities on the Brazilian side are still under construction. As of August 2016, the bridge has still not been opened but the next promised date for its opening is late 2016.

On the French side, access will be through a border checkpoint (FCP) which will present three government control: the Border Police, the Customs and the Directorate for Food, Agriculture and Forestry.

The bridge over the Oyapock will be a toll-free bridge (the booths are control booths, not toll booths), and it will be accessible to both vehicles and pedestrians.

By bus

From Macapá (Brazil) and Paramaribo (Suriname) you can get to the border by minibus, but in both cases you need to cross the river by boat and take another bus after the crossing.

Get around

By boat

3,400 km of French Guiana's waterways are navigable by native craft; 460 km navigable by small oceangoing vessels and coastal and river steamers.

By bus

There is limited public transportation throughout the territory. Transport Interurbain de la Guyane operates bus routes between major towns.

Minibuses go between major towns but there may only be a few per day. They leave when they are full. Fares are fixed per route; if only going partial distance to Cayenne you may have to pay the full fare. E.g. St. Laurent du Maroni to Kourou you may have to pay the full fare to Cayenne. Fare for St. Laurent to Cayenne is €25.

By taxi

It's quite easy to find a taxi, but this is a very expensive way of getting around. The 15 minutes ride from the airport to central Cayenne will cost €35, and to travel one way from Cayenne to Kourou you'll have to fork out €85.

By car

As the public transportation is limited, renting a car is also an option for getting around. Hitchhiking is a good and free alternative. A lot of locals doing it as well.

An asphalted road from Régina to Saint-Georges de l'Oyapock (a town by the Brazilian border) was opened in 2004, completing the road from Cayenne to the Brazilian border. It is now possible to drive on a fully paved road from Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni on the Surinamese border to Saint-Georges de l'Oyapock on the Brazilian border.

By plane

There aren't really any roads in the inner parts of the country. If you don't want to travel by boat, Air Guyane Express has flights from Cayenne to major inland settlements.

Talk

French is the official language of France, although Creole is widely spoken. The majority of the population speaks French while few understand English. However, some officials, police, and gendarmes may speak English. Because of the presence of many Brazilians and Dominicans, lots of people understand basic Portuguese and basic Spanish. On the Maroni river, Sranan Tong (Taki-taki) is often used.

See

  • Guiana Space centre close to Kourou. There is a free tour twice a day. And for a few euros you can visit a museum. Check the rocket launch schedule for a special experience.
  • The capital of Cayenne has some museums and colonial architecture.
  • The Îles du salut and Kourou used to form a penal colony, colloquially known as the Devil's Island (although in reality that's the name of just one of the islands). From Kourou you can visit the islands by boat, however the Devil's Island proper isn't open for visitors.

Do

  • Take a guided tour to the inland rainforest.
  • Like in many other Catholic countries, the carnival is celebrated early in the year. In French Guiana the festivities take place between the first Sunday in January and Ash Wednesday. During the carnival people put on masks and traditional dresses and go out dancing along the streets every Sunday in Cayenne, Kourou and St.Laurent. Visitors are also welcome to dress up and participate in the parades. During the carnival the festivities continue through the night in bars and nightclubs.

Buy

The official currency is the euro just like in mainland France. Most purchases will be more expensive than you expect, as a lot of stuff has to be imported - even milk is flown in from metropolitan France. Things like electronics are really expensive. However the local rum and objects carved out of wood are great souvenirs and relatively affordable.

For daily purchases, there is a shopping mall outside Cayenne similar to the "hypermarkets" of metropolitan France. Smaller grocery and convenience stores are in the city selling not just food but other small things you might need like insect repellent, tooth paste and other hygiene articles.

Eat

A typical local dish includes fish and other seafood or game meat served with rice, red beans or couac (flour made out of dried cassava) and can be rather fierce, as they often use liberal amounts of spices. What else would you expect from a region whose capital has given name to the cayenne pepper? You can of course always ask the chef to make your dish less spicy. Guyanese specialties include:

  • Bouillon d'Awara - broth of awara fruit (Astrocaryum vulgare)
  • Colombo - a Creole dish with pork or chicken
  • Red beans - served with game or fish
  • Lentils - served with game or fish
  • Kalou/Kalalou - a fish dish with spinach and okra
  • Pimentade - peppered and lemon seasoned fish in tomato sauce
  • Blaf de poisson - fish prepared with court-bouillon
  • Roti couniad - fish barbecued with its scale

In some restaurants you may find meat of threatened species (such as cayman and certain turtles) on the menu. Think twice before ordering any of those exotic dishes.

Drink

Tafia is a local hard liquor that is widely drunk and used as medical purpose. One can drink it with lime juice or with salt and it's used in a drink called Planter, excellent. Rum and ti-punch are also common.

Sleep

Hotels are rather expensive in French Guiana, at many hotels you'll need to spend well over €100 for a night. For cheaper accommodation there are also a couple of hostels that however don't have web pages.

The cheapest accommodation is also the most adventurous one. For a few euros you can sleep in a hammock in a traditional carbet, a shelter without walls. This is the only type of accommodation available in the rainforest.

Learn

There are two of higher education institutions in the departement; L'Université des Antilles et de la Guyane (UAG) and Le Pôle Universitaire Guyanais (PUG).

Work

For European people coming from an EU country, working in French Guiana is allowed without problem. If you're from outside the EU, you will probably need a work permit - check with the French Embassy in your country. Do not forget though that the unemployment rate is high. But if you work in the health sector (doctor, nurse), it will be much easier. French proficiency is essential.

Voluntary service: Volontariat Civil à l'Aide Technique (VCAT) . Conditions: you must be French or from another EU-member state or a country belonging to the European Economic Area. You must be over 18 and under 28 years old (inclusive). You must not have had your civic rights revoked by a court or have been convicted of certain offences.

Stay safe

It is advisable to pay extreme attention not to lose your passport: there are very few consulates in French Guiana as such services are provided by consulates in Paris, so you will be required to go to Paris in case you need your passport to be reissued if you are not an EU citizen.

Some parts of the department are patrolled by the French Foreign Legion, including the Kourou space centre and areas where illegal gold mining have occurred.

Stay healthy

Vaccination against yellow fever is necessary; without a yellow fever vaccination certificate you are not allowed into French Guiana. Also two other tropical mosquito-born diseases, namely malaria and dengue fever are endemic to the region. In other words, do protect yourself from mosquitoes and ticks - long sleeved clothing and insect repellent are recommended. The risk is smaller in the cities and towns. Swimming in still-standing water is not a good idea as it often contains parasites. This is less of a problem in rivers. However water in nature is not safe for drinking.

Poisonous snakes and spiders also pose a risk, and you should definitely wear boots in the rainforest and not "explore" hollow trees where these creatures often lurk. Remember that it can take very long to get to a hospital if you get bitten.

Other health risks include cholera, typhoid fever and rabies.

Healthcare is almost up to the same standards as in mainland France, although slightly more expensive. There are hospitals in Cayenne and Kourou. Concerning tropical diseases they are better equipped and more experienced than mainland hospitals.

Respect

The Creole culture is deeply rooted in French Guyana, but the population is still proud of being French. Hence insinuating they aren't really French is likely to cause offense. For example mainland France should be referred to as metropolitan/mainland France ("métropole"), not "France". The locals are happy to answer any questions about their culture, history and religion. However slavery is a sensitive subject that should be avoided.

Connect

For cheaper local calls and calls to mainland France it's advisable to buy a local prepaid SIM card. The Alizé cards by France Telecom offer 13 hours of communication for €15.

There are three GSM operators: Orange Caraïbe, Digicel and Only.

FRENCH GUIANA: The Bizarre and the Beautiful

Donna Mulvenna

Despite being home to the largest snakes, biggest rodents and most ferocious mosquitoes in the world, Donna Mulvenna falls in love with French Guiana, taking readers on a humorous, chaotic and entertaining journey that can only result in a severe case of wanderlust. French Guiana might not be the first place you think of when you pick a travel destination. It probably wouldn’t even be the first place in South America. But it is a land of pristine rain forests and wild nature that offers more adventure and deadly infectious diseases than your average two week holiday in Spain could ever throw at you. In this wittily written fact-filled book, full of the joy of life and travel, Donna tells of an exciting journey to a strange and mysterious land, where she dodged a multitude of life-threatening infectious diseases and death by giant river monsters, and how she retained her sense of humour when many people would have lost theirs in the first sweltering night with a broken air conditioning unit. French Guiana unlocked a hidden spirit within her. Once it was there she knew she would never lose it. Inside this book you will get those same feelings, as you allow yourself to be immersed in one of the most unusual countries in the world.

French Guiana History and Travel guide: Early history, Government, People, Settlement, Tradition and Custom, Culture, Tourism

Evan Adams

The Arawak Indians are the people first known to inhabit French Guiana. The next major waves of people were the Caribs. These peoples came from the Amazon and traveled to the Antilles (most of the islands of the West Indies). The Caribs displaced many of the Arawak. During the age of discovery and Christopher Columbus's journeys, the Caribs were still traveling through the Caribbean. More in the History Book……

Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary (Lonely Planet Phrasebook and Dictionary)

Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet: The world's #1 phrasebook publisher*

Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary is your handy passport to culturally enriching travels with the most relevant and useful French phrases and vocabulary for all your travel needs. Ask about tucked-away vineyards, bargain with local famers at the market or order wine like a professional; all with your trusted travel companion. With language tools in your back pocket, you can truly get to the heart of wherever you go, so begin your journey now!

Get More From Your Trip with Easy-to-Find Phrases for Every Travel Situation!

Feel at ease with essential tips on culture, manners, idioms and multiple meanings Order with confidence, explain food allergies, and try new foods with the menu decoder Save time and hassles with vital phrases at your fingertips Never get stuck for words with the 3500-word two-way, quick-reference dictionary Be prepared for both common and emergency travel situations with practical phrases and terminology Meet friends with conversation starter phrases Get your message across with easy-to-use pronunciation guides

Inside Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary:

Full-colour throughout User-friendly layout organised by travel scenario categories Survival phrases inside front cover for at-a-glance on-the-fly cues Convenient features 5 Phrases to Learn Before You Go 10 Ways to Start a Sentence 10 Phrases to Sound like a Local Listen For - phrases you may hear Look For - phrases you may see on signs Shortcuts - easy-to-remember alternatives to the full phrases Q&A - suggested answers to questions asked Covers Basics - time, dates, numbers, amounts, pronunciation, reading tips, grammar rules Practical - travel with kids, disabled travellers, sightseeing, business, banking, post office, internet, phones, repairs, bargaining, accommodation, directions, border crossing, transport Social - meeting people, interests, feelings, opinions, going out, romance, culture, activities, weather Safe Travel - emergencies, police, doctor, chemist, dentist, symptoms, conditions Food - ordering, at the market, at the bar, dishes, ingredients

The Perfect Choice:Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary , a pocket-sized comprehensive language guide, provides on-the-go language assistance; great for language students and travellers looking to interact with locals and immerse themselves in local culture.

Looking for just the basics? Check out Lonely Planet's Fast Talk French, a pocket-sized, essential language guide designed to get you talking quickly; perfect for a quick trip experience. Looking for an auditory guide to pronunciations? Check out Lonely Planet's French Phrasebook & Audio CD.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, Michael Janes, Jean-Pierre Masclef, Jean-Bernard Carillet.

About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet is the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, and has been connecting travellers and locals for over 25 years with phrasebooks for 120 languages, more than any other publisher! With an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community, Lonely Planet enables curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves. The world awaits!

*#1 phrasebook publisher. Source: Nielsen Bookscan UK, US & AUS

A Cruising Guide to French Guiana, Suriname and Guyana

Martin Dixon-Tyrer

An essential guide for sailors planning to explore this fascinating but rarely visited coast. It includes details of many harbours, anchorages and rivers. Written by an experienced cruising yachtsman with contributions from others who have sailed in this area recently. It completes the RCC Pilotage Foundation coverage of the east coast of South America.

Guyana/Suriname & French Guiana 1:850 000 (International Travel Maps)

International Travel maps

3rd edition. 2 sides map. Inclued Cayenne, georgetown, Iles du Salut, Kourou, and Paramaribo Inset. Printed in Canada

Lonely Planet French Phrasebook and Audio CD (Lonely Planet Phrasebook: French)

Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet: The world's #1 phrasebook publisher*

Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Audio CD is your handy passport to culturally enriching travels with the most relevant and useful French phrases and vocabulary for all your travel needs. Ask about tucked-away vineyards, bargain with local farmers at the market or order wine like a professional; all with your trusted travel companion. With language tools in your back pocket, you can truly get to the heart of wherever you go, so begin your journey now!

Get More From Your Trip with Easy-to-Find Phrases for Every Travel Situation!

Listen & Learn with our audio CD Feel at ease with essential tips on culture, manners, idioms and multiple meanings Order with confidence, explain food allergies, and try new foods with the menu decoder Save time and hassles with vital phrases at your fingertips Never get stuck for words with the 3500-word two-way, quick-reference dictionary Be prepared for both common and emergency travel situations with practical phrases and terminology Meet friends with conversation starter phrases Get your message across with easy-to-use pronunciation guides

Inside Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Audio CD:

Audio CD includes 375 key phrases Full-colour throughout phrasebook User-friendly layout organised by travel scenario categories Survival phrases inside front cover for at-a-glance on-the-fly cues

Convenient features

5 Phrases to Learn Before You Go 10 Ways to Start a Sentence 10 Phrases to Sound like a Local Listen For - phrases you may hear Look For - phrases you may see on signs Shortcuts - easy-to-remember alternatives to the full phrases Q&A - suggested answers to questions asked

Covers

Basics - time, dates, numbers, amounts, pronunciation, reading tips, grammar rules Practical - travel with kids, disabled travellers, sightseeing, business, banking, post office, internet, phones, repairs, bargaining, accommodation, directions, border crossing, transport Social - meeting people, interests, feelings, opinions, going out, romance, culture, activities, weather Safe Travel - emergencies, police, doctor, chemist, dentist, symptoms, conditions Food - ordering, at the market, at the bar, dishes, ingredients

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Audio CD, a pocket-sized comprehensive language guide with accompanying audio CD, provides on-the-go language assistance; great for language students and travellers looking to interact with locals and immerse themselves in local culture.

Looking for just the basics? Check out Lonely Planet's Fast Talk French, a pocket-sized, essential language guide designed to get you talking quickly; perfect for a quick trip experience.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, Michael Janes, Jean-Pierre Masclef, Jean-Bernard Carillet.

About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet is the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, and has been connecting travellers and locals for over 25 years with phrasebooks for 120 languages, more than any other publisher! With an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community, Lonely Planet enables curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves. The world awaits!

*#1 phrasebook publisher. Source: Nielsen Bookscan UK, US & AUS

Lonely Planet South America on a shoestring (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet

#1 best-selling guide to South America *

Lonely Planet South America on a Shoestring is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to skip, what hidden discoveries await you, and how to optimize your budget for an extended continental trip. Drift between river towns in the Amazon, shake it in Rio de Janeiro or hustle for traditional crafts in Ecuador all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of South America and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet's South America on a Shoestring Travel Guide:

Color maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices Budget-oriented recommendations with honest reviews - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - history, lifestyle, arts, religion, outdoor activities, cuisine, sports, environment, politics Over 170 maps Covers Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela and more

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet South America on a Shoestring is perfect for both exploring top sights and taking roads less traveled.

Looking for just a few of the destinations included in this guide? Check out Lonely Planet Argentina, Brazil or Chile & Easter Island, our most comprehensive guides that cover South America's top sights and offbeat experiences.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, Regis St Louis, Sandra Bao, Celeste Brash, Gregor Clark, Alex Egerton, Brian Kluepfel, Tom Masters, Carolyn McCarthy, Kevin Raub, Paul Smith, Phillip Tang, Lucas Vidgen

About Lonely Planet: Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveler community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travelers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves.

*Best-selling guide to South America. Source: Nielsen BookScan. Australia, UK and USA.

Venezuela Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana

Nelles Verlag GmbH

New edition. 1 : 2.5 Million scale. Detailed, relief shading clearly shows spot heights and mountain ranges giving a real sense of the terrain with distances provided for the majority of routes. Numerous points of interest are highlighted such as national parks, nature reserves and ancient sites. With inset maps covering: Isla de Margarita (1 400,000 scale) and City Plans for: Caracas, Maracaibo Centre, Cayenne, Paramaribo.

Exercise normal security precautions

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Crime

Petty crime occurs, particularly in urban areas. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Do not leave valuables unattended in vehicles. Motorcycle theft is common.

Jungle expeditions

Make prior arrangements before entering the jungle. It is considered a high-risk area owing to gold-panning activities and the potential targeting of foreign tourists by criminal gangs. Over the past few years, there have been cases of foreign tourists being kidnapped and held for ransom. If you intend to explore the jungle, exercise extreme caution and seek local advice in organizing expeditions.

Demonstrations

Strikes and demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media. Roadblocks may be set up on main roads. Do not attempt to cross blockades, even if they appear unattended. Curfews may also be in effect.

Transportation

Major roads are paved and well maintained. Driving after dark can be dangerous, especially in the remote interior regions or on less-developed rural roads.

Emergency call boxes can be found alongside main highways, but few are functional due to vandalism. If possible, carry a cellular phone and check the local cellular phone coverage.

Rental cars and motorcycles are available in Cayenne, Kourou and St-Laurent.

Public taxis and vans are relatively safe.

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Emergency services

Dial 15 for emergency assistance.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Rabies

Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by 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.

* 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.
Risk
  • There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required for travellers from all countries.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in South America, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in South America. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!


Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in South America, certain insects carry and spread diseases like American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness)West Nile virus and yellow fever.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Dengue fever
  • Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.  
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.

Malaria

Malaria

  • There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
  • Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.

Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in South America, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

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). 

Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.

Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical care is limited. Hospital facilities are available only in major centres.

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.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Canada and France are signatories to the European 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 French authorities.

Dual citizenship

Although France recognizes dual citizenship, dual citizens are considered French citizens and are subject to French laws. Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.

Driving laws

You may drive with a Canadian driver’s licence for three months, however, an International Driving Permit is recommended. A driver’s licence is required to drive a four-wheeled vehicle.

Illegal drugs

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

Money

The currency is the euro (EUR).

Climate

The rainy season extends from January to June. Flooding can occur during this period. Monitor weather forecasts and plan accordingly.