"A town built for gold mining" Maripasoula by johnkebab

Maripasoula Travel Guide: 9 reviews and 3 photos


Maripasoula was first created and inhabited by the Bushnenge, solely for the purpose of mining gold, since then, the town has flourished, and is now the largest inhabited commune in France, occupying more space than even Paris, not bad for a small town in the back of beyone in Guiane.

Due to the amount of gold found there, Maripasoula has become an attraction for Brazilians, Peruvians, Surinamese, Haitians, Guyanese, Dutch and French people, with all the racial tension that that entails (imagine, everyone is there for the same thing, Gold, and at 11,000 euros a kilo, that can be a lot of losing out to your 'neighbours'!)

When I was there I have to say the people were fine, warm and friendly, though you could see that there was plenty of clandestine activity going on, and clandestine activity attracts very very dodgy people, as one person living there put it, ' the town is full of robbers, prostitutes and murderers', though I think if you're not involved in the clandestine side of life and you're there as a tourist, there are no problems.


The town was built for gold mining, the main gold mining company there is, I believe, Canadian, though there is a lot of clandestine gold mining, in April 2007 the Gendarme found 35 kilos of clandestine gold and seized it, causing quite a lot of loss to the local clandestine goldmining community, thus raising local tension and not gaining any love for the Gendarmes...

The head of the goldmining community is really the chap who has the power, there have been times when the Gendarmerie of the town has been raided and the police held at gunpoint whilst a prisoner is freed, a witness, later taken into the forest and ne'er seen again, the houses and cars of the goldminers bears witness to just how much money there is to be made there.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Out of the way, unique town
  • Cons:A lot of dodgy characters, you have to be careful
  • In a nutshell:Definitely worth a visit for the weekend
  • Last visit to Maripasoula: Apr 2007
  • Intro Written Apr 11, 2007
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