French Guiana has the distinguished position of being the wealthiest of the rainforest nations in the North Eastern portion of South America. It is also the most emotionally bereft. Maybe it's the influence of its often-stodgy colonizing country, maybe it's the fact that the people here have something to lose, but French Guiana does not have the open, welcoming attitude of its neighbors.

What to do

French Guiana consists mostly of hills and undeveloped wilderness. The rare sights in this country are the urban developments of Cayenne and Kourou. Cayenne is unique because of its shops and museums, cafes and restaurants that draw residents from neighboring countries for the atmosphere of the big city.

Kourou is home to the famous Kourou Space Center. Hundreds of launches from this fair weathered platform have taken off over the years and the mega-structure with six launch pads draws tourists from all over the country for guided tours of the facility.

Getting there

France is the only country outside of South America and the Caribbean from which flights to French Guiana originate. Connections from other airports will be in order, so think about combining a trip to French Guiana with a trip to regular Guyana so that you can see the difference the French make.

Where to stay

The hotels in French Guiana are similar in quality to those you would find in Europe when you're willing to pay for them. Budget hostels are also available, but you can be hard pressed to find something in the middle with a high level of quality at a lower-end price.