Devil's Island, Cayenne

4.1
#1 of 8 in Nature in French Guiana
The penal colony of Cayenne, commonly known as Devil's Island, was a famous prison of the 19th and 20th century. It operated at several locations in French Guiana. Opened in 1852, it was notorious for being used for internal exile of French political prisoners during that period, the most famous of whom was Captain Alfred Dreyfus. It is also known for its harsh treatment of criminals, who were deported there from all parts of the French empire. The system was closed down in 1953.OrganizationThe prison system stretched over several locations, on the mainland and in the off-shore Îles du Salut group. Île Royale was the reception centre for the general population of the penal colony; they were housed in moderate freedom due to the difficulty of escape from the island. Île Saint-Joseph was the Reclusion, where inmates were sent to be punished by solitary confinement in silence and darkness for escapes or offences committed in the penal colony. Île du Diable was for political prisoners. In the 19th century, the most famous such prisoner was Captain Alfred Dreyfus. In addition to the prisons on each of the three islands in the Salut island group, the French constructed three related prison facilities on the South American mainland, just across the straits at Kourou; 30 miles east in Cayenne, which later became the capital of French Guiana; and a hundred miles west at St. Laurent.
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Devil's Island Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
187 reviews
Google
3.9
TripAdvisor
  • This Royal island is part of the islands of salvation with the Devil's Islands and saint Joseph. It is accessible by catamaran that you will lay in the morning around 9:30 and bring you back to Kourou the same day at 16:30. The visit of the island and the remains of the buildings of the prison is done in two hours. Alternatively, you can circumnavigate the island on foot in an hour. Then, you have to wait for long hours, the time of the return. On this island there is a hotel bar and restaurant that takes advantage of the system and offers prohibitive rates. A tourist destination to improve...
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  • Our cruise ship stopped at this island and I'm glad they did. I walked the entire island and loved it, the natural setting and the history. A French penal colony infamous for their brutal care of inma...  more »
  • I am not sure how to write a review for this. You can't call it an "attraction". It's a historical relic, which has been allowed to decay. Many of the buildings are in a poor state so you have to use ...  more »
Google
  • Had a nice stay but didnt really like i was falsely accused of high treason.. do i recommend the prison, no, but the island was very nice and the parrots made it better. the food was awful and did i mention i was falsely accused. French Artillery Captain, Alfred Dreyfus
  • This is hecking darned
  • I really love the story of Papilon...That's why I wanted to visit this island once in a life
  • Was locked up by the French colonial government here for nearly a score of years 1852 - 1859 after suffering the association of disreputable colleagues and being left to assume their debts. The parrots were friendly.
  • Today the Devil's Island penal colony is no longer used as, fortunately, but retains its left fame. Visit materially impossible and the only thing a tourist eager to see you could do is fly over in a helicopter and settle for view of the buildings that made up the penitentiary and who are now literally crumbling
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Plans to Devil's Island by other users

1 day in Cayenne BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, historic sites, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: January, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Cayenne BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM September, culture, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: September, culture, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in Cayenne BY A USER FROM CANADA June, culture, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 9 days in French Guiana BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 29 days in French Guiana BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 60 days in South America BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS August, culture, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: August, culture, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Kourou BY A USER FROM SURINAME May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Cayenne BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 10 days in South America BY A USER FROM SWEDEN July, historic sites, museums, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: July, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 5 days in Cayenne BY A USER FROM BRAZIL May, teens, popular PREFERENCES: May, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in French Guiana BY A USER FROM CANADA July, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 14 days in Cayenne BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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