"St.Laurent, border town with Suriname" Saint-Laurent du Maroni by johnkebab

Saint-Laurent du Maroni Travel Guide: 15 reviews and 61 photos


St. Laurent Du Maroni is quite a busy little town as it is on the river-border (the Maroni) with Suriname, therefore a lot of trade goes through it.
Originally St. Laurent was the debarkation point for arriving French prisoners to the penal colony of French Guyana, the processing prison is still standing and offers tours daily.
This is the de facto (legal) point of entry between La Guaine and Suriname, there are lots and lots of pirogues jostling for your business, it costs 5 euros to cross the river, and you need to get your passport stamped on exiting French Guiana and also entering Suriname, though you will have to ask the taxi driver to take you there as its not on the route. You need a Visa to get into Suriname, consulate is in Cayenne. You can risk it, there are no border checks, but if you get in the ***e, you're gonna wish you had taken the time whilst learning the meaning of the phrase, ' ***ty death'. Lest you have a good consulate.

St. Laurent is a little bit out of the way, but you can make the journey from Kourou in about 2 hours. Though St. Laurent is the central town of the area, there is also the Hmong village of Mana 30km up the road and also the famous beach as Awala Yalimapo, not famous for blue waters of course, but famous for the various turtles that come to lay their eggs there.

Down the road is St.Jean, home of the relegation camp from the penal colony days, the arche de noe zoo and many little villages along the road linking the two towns.

In my humble opinion, St. Laurent du Maroni is one of the most interesting towns in La Guyane, there are lots of things going on, art festivals bands, an active nightlife, it has the same amenities as every other large town here, with a cinema, restaurants, bars etc. The only thing to watch out for is clandestine immigrants hanging out in the town, you're much more likely to get approached or whistled at or whatever in St. Laurent, but that really shouldn't deter you.

The best thing about St. Laurent is the history of the place, doing the prison tour and seeing how the prisoners lived either before transportation to the islands or during their captivity there. I still haven't found the camp at Km 42, though I suppose I should try harder........

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Border with Suriname, Turtles, History, Créole and Amerindian influence.
  • Cons:A bit less secure than some other towns, 2 hours from nearest 'big' town.
  • In a nutshell:Living history
  • Last visit to Saint-Laurent du Maroni: May 2005
  • Intro Updated Nov 6, 2006
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Reviews (9)

Comments (3)

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Feb 16, 2016 at 12:33 PM

    just read theres a 52 euro departure tax to leave Suriname - so if i leave Suriname to visit FG for 2 day and then reenter Suriname to fly back to P of G another rip off 52 euro...might have to rethink my plans. have just looked at flying from guyana to french guiana first - and skyscanner only comes up with flights at 2245 pm arriving Cayenne at 230am sounds rather ridiculous..

    • johnkebab's Profile Photo
      Feb 16, 2016 at 9:20 PM

      That definitely wasn't in place when I was there, is that airport only? There's no way they could effectively police that at the border!

  • fabrice's Profile Photo
    Sep 23, 2006 at 12:21 AM

    la nature semble magnifique mais l'atmosphere fait un peu peur

  • calcaf38's Profile Photo
    Dec 10, 2005 at 3:13 PM

    Hi John. It is my dream to visit St. Laurent, Maripasoula and Cayenne. But it is so difficult to reach from Eastern U.S: Much more expensive and longer than Peru or Ecuador Amazonia...

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