A TRIP TO THE “ILES DU SALUT”
Located some 10 miles (8 nautical miles) off the coast of Kourou, the Ile Royale, Ile St-Joseph and Ile du Diable (Devil Island) form an archipelago that once was one of the most infamous penal colonies in the world. Numerous penitentiary buildings are still to be seen on the Ile Royale, offering striking landmarks of a prison system that lasted until 1946; you will visit the late 19th-c. convicts’ hospital, the “death-row” quarters, the church and its presbytery, the madhouse, the lighthouse, etc. Some of the buildings – incl. houses formerly used by guards – have been restored to their original aspect and now accommodate visitors. The former guards’ mess is actually a restaurant where you can have lunch while scanning a fine distant view of Devil Island.
8.00am – Gathering at the port of Kourou to board a sea shuttle (serving only the Ile Royale) or a catamaran (serving both the Ile Royale and Ile St Joseph).
Between 9.30 and 10am – Landing on the Ile Royale. Free tour or guided tour starting at 10.30 in front of the Auberge des Iles. This tour will take you to the church, the hospital, the children’s cemetery, the guards’ quarters and the museum—two hours of history and gripping tales of human survival.
Wildlife is free to roam on the island and you will encounter numerous Agouti rodents, monkeys, macaws and iguanas along the many footpaths allowing for strolls; swimming is possible at the so-called “piscine des bagnards” (convicts’ swimming pool).
Lunch will be served at the Auberge des Iles (drinks not included).
If you took the “Catamaran option”, further sailing will transfer you to the Ile St-Joseph in the afternoon—where you can visit more convicts’ cells—or enjoy the beach covered with seashells.
5pm – Arrival back at Kourou.
Other lenghts are available.
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