Backpacking in French Guyana: Things to see and do in St. Laurent du Maroni

french guyana backpacker

Backpacking in French Guyana – the town of St. Laurent du Maroni.

Most overland backpackers to the Guyanas will pass through the French Guyana riverside town of St. Laurent Du Maroni. For us we used it as our stepping stone to Suriname but still spent a day and night to check out the ‘delights’ of the town. In all honesty apart from the coolness and uniqueness of where you are, there isn’t too much to shout about here. That said you only live once and you might not be here again so we checked out these things while lingering in town. The town is as clumsy and disorganised as they come by the way.

st laurent du maroni jonny travel

Downtown St. Laurent du Maroni, French Guyana.

1. Camp de la Transportation
This fort like complex by the harbour stands out. It’s probably the main touristy thing to do in town. Read up on your history – this was once the biggest prison in French Guyana and the convicts arrived here by boat from France. There is a cell within which is rumoured to be Papillons.

Camp de la transportation in St. Laurent du Maroni.

Camp de la transportation in St. Laurent du Maroni.

2. French Guyana Local Beers
I love to try new beers in every new country or region I visit. The thing about beer here is it’s mostly just French, Belgian or Dutch beers. Kronenberg and Heineken being the two ones I reluctantly drank – not a fan of either I must admit. But look around and you can find three types of French Guyana beer! I found them for sale in the tourist information centre where they have free maps, souvenirs to buy and helpful staff.

beers from french guyana

French Guyana beers in St. Laurent du Maroni.

3. Football Stadium
Obviously football is big here and you will find locals supporting both Brazil and France in equal proportions. The stadium is surprisingly big for a small town and if you’re lucky you might catch a local league game.

Football Stadium in St. Laurent du Maroni.

Football Stadium in St. Laurent du Maroni.

4. Tipic Creoles Bar and Restaurant
This place has a cool vibe to it. Run by a friendly French couple boasting beers on tap, French food, a pool table and live sports it’s a decent spot to hang out. We watched the France v Ecuador match in here, 1 of 41 places I watched the World Cup First Round. The bar has a French and Caribbean vibe to it but expect to pay a fair bit. Pints of beer are around 6Euros. Ouch!

Tipic Creoles - cool French restaurant in town.

Tipic Creoles – cool French restaurant in town.

5. St. Laurent Church
With France being a dominantly Catholic Country there are churches in the main towns in French Guyana. In fact we managed to see the churches in Cayenne, St. Georges de Loyapock, Sinnamary, Iracoubo and the central church here in St. Laurent du Maroni. Nothing completely striking of course, but still cool – there’s no other travellers around.

Checking out the Church in St. Laurent du Maroni.

Checking out the Church in St. Laurent du Maroni.

6. Feliciciao Restaurant
To try a more local dish head to the Felicicao restaurant in the town centre. Beans, vegetables and meat. It’s hard to find something “authentically French Guyanese” but you can get it here.

Felicidade - local restaurant in town.

Feliciciao – local restaurant in town.

7. Suriname Consulate
If you didn’t get your Suriname visa in Cayenne, dont stress too much. There is a Suriname Consulate here too!

You can get your Suriname Visa here too.

You can get your Suriname Visa here too.

8. The Boat to Albina, Suriname
Once you’ve seen enough, head to immigration then back out onto the beach to get a boat across to Albina in Suriname. I wrote a full guide on getting from French Guyana to Suriname.

On the boat to Suriname.

On the boat to Suriname.

Overall I have to say St. Laurent du Maroni is a really unusual and slightly clumsy border town, the French colonial times and slow ways of life make it worth a night and a day.

French colonial reminders in St. Laurent du Maroni.

French colonial reminders in St. Laurent du Maroni.

Here are some videos from my time in St. Laurent du Maroni:

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