Matoury is a charming city located in the overseas department of French Guiana, which is an integral part of France. Nestled in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, Matoury offers a unique blend of cultural heritage, natural beauty, and exciting activities. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Matoury, France:
1. Parc Amazonien de Guyane
Image Source: https://journals.openedition.org/cybergeo/17203
This national park is a paradise for nature lovers. Spanning over 3.4 million acres, it is one of the largest protected areas in France. Explore the lush rainforest, discover a rich diversity of flora and fauna, and embark on guided tours to learn about the indigenous cultures and traditions.
2. Centre Spatial Guyanais
Located in Kourou, just a short drive from Matoury, the Centre Spatial Guyanais (Guiana Space Centre) is a must-visit attraction. It is Europe’s spaceport and the launch site for Ariane rockets. Take a guided tour to witness the impressive rocket assembly facilities, learn about space exploration, and, if you’re lucky, witness a rocket launch.
3. Plage des Ames Claires
Enjoy a relaxing day at this beautiful beach situated along the Atlantic coast. With its golden sands, clear waters, and serene atmosphere, it offers the perfect setting for sunbathing, swimming, and picnicking. You can also indulge in water sports activities such as kayaking and paddleboarding.
4. Maison de la Nature
Immerse yourself in the natural wonders of French Guiana at the Maison de la Nature. This educational center showcases the region’s biodiversity through interactive exhibits, guided walks, and workshops. Learn about the unique ecosystems, including mangroves and savannahs, and gain a deeper understanding of the local flora and fauna.
Image Source: https://www.guyane.catholique.fr/doyenne/matoury/
Just a short distance from Matoury, the capital city of Cayenne is worth a visit. Explore the historic center with its colorful colonial buildings, visit the Cayenne Cathedral, and browse the bustling markets where you can find a variety of local products and crafts. Don’t forget to try the delicious local cuisine, influenced by a mix of French, Creole, and indigenous flavors.
6. Maroni River
Image Source: https://www.britannica.com/place/Maroni-River
Embark on an unforgettable adventure by taking a boat tour on the Maroni River, which forms the border between French Guiana and Suriname. Cruise through the pristine waters, admire the lush jungle surroundings, and discover traditional Maroon villages along the riverbanks. This experience offers a glimpse into the unique cultures and way of life in the region.
7. Jardin Botanique de Guyane
Located in the outskirts of Cayenne, this botanical garden showcases the diverse plant species found in French Guiana. Take a leisurely stroll through the well-maintained gardens, explore the orchid greenhouse, and learn about the medicinal properties of various plants. The garden also features a small zoo with local wildlife.
8. La Trinite
Image Source: https://www.reserves-naturelles.org/la-trinite
A visit to the nearby town of La Trinite is highly recommended for history enthusiasts. Explore the ruins of Fort Diamant, a former military stronghold that played a significant role in the defense of French Guiana. The fort offers panoramic views of the coastline and is a great spot for photography.
9. Local Cuisine
French Guiana is known for its rich culinary heritage, blending French, Creole, and indigenous flavors. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor traditional dishes such as bouillon d’awara (a hearty soup made with palm fruit), acoupa grillé (grilled fish), and boudin créole (Creole blood sausage). Visit local restaurants and food stalls to experience the authentic flavors of the region.
10. Cultural Festivals
Matoury and its surrounding areas host vibrant cultural festivals throughout the year. One of the most significant events is the Carnaval de Guyane, held in February or March. Join in the colorful parades, dance to the rhythm of traditional music, and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere that celebrates the region’s diverse cultural heritage.
11. Local Markets
Explore the vibrant local markets in Matoury and nearby towns, such as the Marché de Matoury and the Marché de Montabo. Thesemarkets offer a fascinating glimpse into the daily life of the locals and showcase a wide array of fresh produce, spices, handicrafts, and souvenirs. Engage with the friendly vendors, try local fruits and snacks, and soak up the lively ambiance.
12. Canopy Tours
Experience the thrill of exploring the rainforest from a unique perspective by taking a canopy tour. Zip-line through the treetops, traverse suspension bridges, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding jungle. These tours provide an exhilarating adventure while allowing you to appreciate the incredible biodiversity and beauty of the Amazon rainforest.
13. Le Rorota
Located in Matoury, Le Rorota is an eco-tourism park that offers a range of outdoor activities. Take a guided tour to explore the park’s diverse landscapes, including wetlands, savannahs, and forested areas. You can spot various bird species, encounter local wildlife, and learn about sustainable conservation efforts in the region.
14. Hmong Village
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Visit the Hmong Village, located near Matoury. The Hmong people are an ethnic group from Southeast Asia who settled in French Guiana. Explore their traditional village, interact with the locals, and learn about their culture, crafts, and culinary traditions. It’s a fascinating cultural immersion experience that offers a glimpse into the lives of this unique community.
Take a day trip to the town of Saint-Jean-du-Maroni, situated along the Maroni River. This riverside town is known for its rich history, as it was once an important center for penal colonies. Visit the Maison du Patrimoine, a museum that explores the history of the penal colony era, and stroll along the picturesque riverfront.
16. Boat Tours
Embark on a boat tour along the rivers and tributaries near Matoury. Explore the winding waterways, observe the rich flora and fauna, and learn about the cultural and historical significance of the rivers to the local communities. You can also visit remote villages along the riverbanks, where you can interact with the residents and experience their way of life.
While Matoury is not directly on the coast, there are several stunning beaches nearby that are worth visiting. Head to Remire-Montjoly, which is known for its beautiful sandy beaches and turquoise waters. Enjoy sunbathing, swimming, and beachside picnics while soaking up the relaxed coastal atmosphere.
18. Maison de la Canne
Visit the Maison de la Canne (House of Sugar Cane) to learn about the region’s sugar cane industry and its historical significance. Discover the traditional methods of sugar cane cultivation, processing, and rum production through interactive exhibits and demonstrations. You can also sample various types of locally produced rum.
19. Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church
Pay a visit to the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church, located in Matoury. This beautiful church is known for its unique architectural style, blending elements of traditional European churches with local influences. Explore its interior adorned with intricate designs and stained glass windows, and appreciate the religious and cultural heritage it represents.
20. Kayaking and Canoeing
Enjoy an adventure on the water by going kayaking or canoeing in the rivers and creeks near Matoury. Paddle through calm waters surrounded by lush vegetation, spot wildlife along the riverbanks, and embrace the serenity of the natural surroundings. There are guided tours available for all skill levels.
21. Botanical Garden of Cayenne
Take a trip to the Botanical Garden of Cayenne, a peaceful oasis where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Wander through the well-manicured gardens, admire the colorful flowers, and learn about the diverse plant species that thrive in the tropical climate. The garden also features a playground and picnic areas, perfect for a relaxing day outdoors.
22. Guiana Dolphins Observation
Image Source: https://observation.org/species/595965/
Embark on a boat excursion to observe the Guiana dolphins in their natural habitat. These friendly and playful dolphins inhabit the coastal waters of French Guiana. Join a guided tour to witness their graceful movements and learn about their behavior and conservation efforts to protect these magnificent creatures.
23. French Guiana Space Museum
Located in Kourou, the French Guiana Space Museum provides an in-depth look into the history and technological advancements of space exploration. Discover the fascinating exhibits that showcase rockets, satellite models, and interactive displays. Learn about the role of the Guiana Space Centre and its contributions to the global space industry.
24. Nighttime Jungle Excursions
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Join a guided nighttime excursion into the rainforest to experience its captivating ambiance after dark. Explore the jungle trails under the moonlit sky, listen to the sounds of nocturnal creatures, and learn about the unique adaptations of the flora and fauna that thrive during the night. It’s a memorable adventure that provides a different perspective on the rainforest ecosystem.
25. Plage de Montjoly
Located in Remire-Montjoly, a nearby town, Plage de Montjoly is a popular destination for both locals and visitors. This long stretch of sandy beach is known for its scenic beauty and tranquil ambiance. The turquoise waters are inviting for a refreshing swim, and the beach is lined with palm trees, providing ample shade for those seeking respite from the sun.
Places and Things To Do