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Cayenne to Kourou to Saint Laurent - French Guiana

3guianas travel blog by Mark Berman - April 2015   » View Photoset (58 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
I left Cayenne by co-op taxi-van and headed 60kms west to Kourou to see the space center known as Le Centre Spatial Guyanais (CNES), a journey of 1hr ($10euros).
3guianas Photo - Donkeys graze on farmland between Cayenne and Kourou in French Guiana.
Donkeys graze on farmland between Cayenne and Kourou in French Guiana.
Saint Laurent du Maroni on the western border with Suriname is 256kms from Cayenne while St Georges on the eastern border with Brazil is 185kms from Cayenne.

Cayenne to Kourou

Heading out of Cayenne we passed over the Cayenne River (Riviere de Cayenne) on a bridge of 1200 meters and passed through the town of Macouria (Tonate) which has an attractive church with a clock face. The countryside is beautiful and green without rubbish everywhere and the road is in very good condition. As we come closer to Kourou on
3guianas Photo - The rocket engine and satellites, neon displays at the space center museum in Kourou, French Guiana.
The rocket engine and satellites, neon displays at the space center museum in Kourou, French Guiana.
the left are several satellite dishes on a hilltop, we then cross the river (Fleuve Kourou) and arrive in town.

Kourou Space Center

I was dropped off at a hotel near the beach but only so that I could make some inquiries about how to get to the space station. The woman at the hotel called me a taxi and I took the short trip to the space center. Of course I was hoping there just happened to be a satellite launch or a tour of the station about to happen after I arrived but I was sheer out of luck! The best that I could do was to visit their museum onsite. The entrance of the space center has a huge rocket in the carpark area. The museum entrance fee was something like $7euros, everything written in the museum is in French and English. It was quite interesting even though I am not a space freak, there are lots
3guianas Photo - Pictures of rockets inside the museum at the space center in Kourou, French Guiana.
Pictures of rockets inside the museum at the space center in Kourou, French Guiana.
of displays, gadgets and rocket equipment to look at and some you can play with.

Taxi to the Highway

I had the phone number of the taxi that had brought me there and asked the museum reception if they would call him to pick me up. He arrived and took me out to the main highway heading west in the direction of Saint Laurent du Maroni which is where I was going next. I could have waited for a bus or taxi-van but instead stuck my thumb out and hitched a ride. I waited only 3-4 minutes for a ride but it wasn't free, the 2 men asked me for $25euros before I got in the car which I agreed to pay them.

Kourou to Saint Laurent du Maroni

It was a fast trip at between 110-140kms per hour for 2hrs, 199kms distance.
3guianas Photo - The Kourou River with boats and jungle in French Guiana.
The Kourou River with boats and jungle in French Guiana.
We were stopped at a police checkpoint for a few minutes along the way but there were no problems. During the trip we passed the turn-off to a place called Sinnamary (an Indonesian community), crossed rivers and creeks and travelled through beautiful countryside and farmland and small towns like Iracoubo. From Iracoubo it is 111kms to Saint Laurent du Maroni, 77kms to Mana and 35kms to Parc Naturel Regional. We made another stop when my driver and his friend saw some men selling legs of meat on the roadside. This road is in great condition and is lined with many palm trees and much greenery. It is not hard to traverse French Guiana from border to border at all!

     

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Distances & times (if available) from about halfway from Cayenne to Kourou to Saint Laurent - French Guiana (3 Guianas) to:


Map location: Cayenne to Kourou to Saint Laurent - French Guiana, 3 Guianas. I stopped in Kourou to see the space center known as Le Centre Spatial Guyanais (CNES)!
 A : Cayenne, French Guiana 47 kms 47 kms straight distance | 53mins 53mins by car (58 kms) | 1hr 3mins 1hr 3mins by bus (58 kms) (58 kms)
 B : Saint Laurent du Maroni, French Guiana 153 kms 153 kms straight distance | 2hrs 26mins 2hrs 26mins by car (184 kms) | 2hrs 55mins 2hrs 55mins by bus (184 kms) (184 kms)
 C : St Georges / Oiapoque Border - French Guiana / Brazil 170 kms 170 kms straight distance | 3hrs 9mins 3hrs 9mins by car (232 kms) | 3hrs 46mins 3hrs 46mins by bus (232 kms) (232 kms)
 D : Oiapoque - Brazil 173 kms 173 kms straight distance | 3hrs 53mins 3hrs 53mins by car (239 kms) | 4hrs 39mins 4hrs 39mins by bus (239 kms) (239 kms)
 E : Macapa to Oiapoque - Brazil 450 kms 450 kms straight distance | 9hrs 2mins 9hrs 2mins by car (600 kms) | 10hrs 50mins 10hrs 50mins by bus (600 kms) (600 kms)
 F : Macapa - Brazil 582 kms 582 kms straight distance | 12hrs 45mins 12hrs 45mins by car (864 kms) | 15hrs 18mins 15hrs 18mins by bus (864 kms) (864 kms)
 G : Saint Laurent / Albina Border - French Guiana/Suriname 161 kms 161 kms straight distance
 H : Paramaribo, Suriname 295 kms 295 kms straight distance
 I : Nickerie & the Journey from Paramaribo - Suriname 487 kms 487 kms straight distance
 J : South Drain / Moleson Creek Border - Suriname / Guyana 506 kms 506 kms straight distance
 K : Georgetown, Guyana 634 kms 634 kms straight distance
 L : Santarem to Belem (Amazon River) - Brazil 756 kms 756 kms straight distance
 M : Belem to Macapa (Amazon River) - Brazil 798 kms 798 kms straight distance
 N : Belem - Brazil 868 kms 868 kms straight distance
 O : Santarem - Brazil 878 kms 878 kms straight distance
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


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