Introducing French Guiana
Kourou © Cayambe
On the north coast of South America, French Guiana is part of the French Republic and visitors to this region can experience a world of foreign cultures, sights and cuisine. The capital city of French Guiana is Cayenne, a very picturesque holiday destination, and the Center Spatial Guyanais (Space Centre) in the city of Kourou is another popular attraction.
French Guiana is a tiny country covered in dense rainforest. Eco-tourism is a growing industry, with visitors trekking from other countries to see leatherback turtles lay eggs at Awala-Yalimpopo, spot exotic birds on the savannahs of Kaw, and watch capuchin monkeys lying along the Sentier Molokoi de Cacao trail. Island holidays in French Guiana are also popular, especially the lovely Îles du Salut, which has a somber history as a penal colony.
French Guiana was originally inhabited by indigenous Americans and settled by the French in the 17th century. Today it is administered by a French representative based in Cayenne. As part of the European Union, the currency used in French Guiana is the Euro, and the main industries are fishing, gold mining and timber, while eco-tourism is a growing enterprise.
The French Guiana population of 221,500 is made up of various ethnicities, the majority being Guianese Creole, Maroon, Amerindian and French. Most people in French Guiana inhabit the coastal areas, which are more developed. While French is the official language, Creole is widely spoken. The main religion is Roman Catholic but the Maroons and Amerindians have their own religions.
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