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Visit Ilet la Mère in French Guiana

French Guiana, a territory rich in history and landscapes, is home to natural and historical wonders such as Îlet la Mère. Îlet la Mère, one of the five islets of the Rémire archipelago, belongs administratively to Cayenne and lies on the Mahury river. On arrival, you'll be warmly welcomed by the local inhabitants, the saimiris, who give the islet its nickname of "l'îlet aux singes" ("the monkey islet").

Rémire's islets are made up of Îlets la Mère, le Père, le Malingre and les Mamelles (two islets), with a sixth, l'Enfant Perdu, often added. According to legend, these islets represent a family and their servant who were surprised by a tidal wave and washed up in the mouth of the Mahury, except for the son, who drifted off Cayenne. L'îlet la mère is the only one to have been inhabited.

History of Ilet la Mère

Inhabited since the time of the Amerindians, as evidenced by the polissoirs on the beach, it was then occupied by the Jesuits in the 17th century. In the 18th century, the islet was transformed into a farm, then into a penitentiary in 1852, one of the first penal colonies in French Guiana. In 1875, it was closed due to yellow fever. Between 1923 and 1933, a convict's wife rented the islet and set up business. In 1981, the Institut Pasteur set up a saimiris farm for malaria research. In 2005, the Conservatoire du Littoral took over, preserving this natural site. The site was developed and maintained with the help of the Conservatoire du Littoral, and opened to the public in 2007.

What to do on Ilet la Mère ?


On this islet, visitors can enjoy a number of outdoor activities. These include walking the trails, observing the Saïmiris monkeys and relaxing by the water.

It should be noted that nocturnal stays are forbidden, as are hunting, capturing animals or collecting eggs. The Saïmiris, with their cute looks and curiosity, add a touch of life to the island. However, be careful with your picnic, as these little monkeys are reputed to be mischievous little thieves.

A hike around the island is highly recommended. This signposted trail leads you to discover the remains of the penal colony and traces of earlier occupation, such as engraved rocks and polissoirs.

During your exploration, you'll discover the old hospital, the church bell tower and the buildings that once housed the prisoners. The tour lasts approximately 1.5 hours and covers just over 3.5 km.

For a well-deserved break, an open carbet with picnic tables is available under the trees. It's the ideal place to relax and enjoy a meal in the shade.

And don't forget to take advantage of the beach to swim and relax by the sea. As there are no restaurant services on the island, we recommend you bring your own picnic to enjoy a meal in the heart of this exceptional natural setting.

How to get to Îlet la Mère?

Best time to visit : The ideal time to visit Îlet la Mère is from May to December. During these months, weather conditions are generally more favorable. On the other hand, from January to April, the weather can be uncertain and less conducive to sea travel.

Departure point : All excursions depart from the Dégrad des Cannes marina. The motorboat trip takes around 40 minutes, offering a great opportunity to admire the seascape.

For your trip to Îlet la Mère, we suggest two service providers capable of offering you a safe and enjoyable sailing experience.

Tropic Alizés

Fleet: The 'Papi Jo' and 'Django' boats will take you comfortably to the island.

Various departure times, suitable for day or half-day excursions.

  • Departure 1: Morning from 8am to 12:20pm

  • Departure 2: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (bring a picnic)

  • Departure 3: 1:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Payment methods : Vacation vouchers accepted

Prices : Adults - 39€, Children (1 to 11 years) - 19€.

Guyane Evasion

Offers several time slots for half-day and full-day excursions.

  • Departure 1: 8am to 12:30pm (half-day)

  • Departure 2: 2:30 pm to 7:00 pm (half-day)

  • Departure 3: 9:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. (full day)

  • Departure 4: 10:30am to 5pm (full day)

Prices : Adults - 36€, Children (0 to 11 years) - 17€.

Special offer: Every Thursday (except school vacations

Restaurant option : For the full experience, consider a meal at Wayk Village restaurant in Roura. This option is available with the 8am or 2pm shuttles, and requires a minimum of 5 adults to be confirmed.

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Things to remember

  • meet at the Dégrad des Cannes marina

  • Bring a picnic

  • Schedules vary according to service provider

  • Same price for 1/2 day and 1 day trips

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