If you end up backpacking in French Guyana, you should try and make it to the town of Kourou. Not only is this place right next to the Space Centre (C.S.G.), but it’s a real chilled out town where you can relax and get a feel for local life in French Guyana. Which is pretty damn relaxed! Not a lot happens here, nor does it need to. Life slows down to a halt in Kourou. Here’s a quick fire top 6 I personally picked out from my time in Kourou.
1. Kourou’s Beaches
Kourou is blessed with a few miles of beaches. Sunrise can be worth getting up for but gentle strolls, relaxation and golden sands are the main selling points here. We took a short stroll for sunset too (see first photo) and it was pretty epic. You can also stare across at the Iles du Salut (Salvation Islands – a separate trip which can also be done).
2. Kourou Football Stadium (Stade du Bois Chaudat)
Whether this football stadium has ever been used for the international French Guyana team (who are members of CONCACAF but not FIFA) was unclear to me, but I had to check it out. Sadly it was looking a bit dilapidated at the time of my visit. I still thought it was pretty cool though to be at a football stadium where I was sure even Northern Ireland could grind out an away win at.
3. Bar Des Sports
Though we saw a couple of other bars, the Bar Des Sports was showing the World Cup and this seemed to be the nightlife in the village and probably the only “sports bar”! Beer on tap is a bonus and a big screen for sports! A mixture of locals and mainland French people mingle here.
4. The Church
I say “the Church” as it seemed to be the only one. I could be wrong. It’s a Catholic country and the churches here are old and pretty.
5. Centre Spatial Guyanais (C.S.G.)
This is my personal highlight from our visit to Kourou and you should aim to see this. It comes as a massive surprise. Here in the tiny country of French Guyana is the Space Centre for all of Europe, yet it sits in South America. It’s so vast, it merits a post of its own and I will do at some point. You will see rockets of all kinds and get a proper in depth look at the European Space history – fascinating and truly insightful. Entrance was 7Euros for the museum and I have to admit it was worth it.
6. The Lake (Lac du Bois Chaudat)
I told you this town was chilled out to a standstill. Lac du Bois Chaudat is a massive lake and again comes as a surprise. In a small town like this, you don’t expect such a lake right there in front of the housing.
There is also a market (which didn’t look open), a cultural centre, a post office and a ferry terminal for the boat to Iles de Salut (Salutation Islands) so you won’t get bored here. It’s a cool spot – we stayed at Hotel le Ballahou which was self catering and had wifi and a TV with the football on. I caught some of the first round World Cup matches here, you can also go turtle watching in certain parts of French Guyana depending on the season – we did ours at Cayenne though so not sure if Kourou has the same opportunities. You’ll still enjoy the tranquility of this spot hopefully.