Living in Cayenne as an expatriate

Caffeinate Your Cayenne Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today

Image of Cayenne

Cayenne is a vibrant city that lies on the western coast of the Guiana Shield in French Guiana. It's a melting pot of cultures and languages, with a population of over 165,000 people. French is the official language, but it's also common to hear Guyanese Creole, a French-based pidgin language, in everyday conversations. Cayenne's economy is driven by agriculture, tourism, and commerce, and it attracts a fair number of expats each year.

Tips for expats in Cayenne

Visa requirements

French citizens and European Union nationals do not require a visa to enter French Guiana. However, non-EU citizens must apply for a temporary long-stay visa before entering the country. The visa application process can be time-consuming, so it's essential to start the process well in advance of the intended arrival date.

Language resources

It's beneficial for expats to learn French, as it's the official language in Cayenne. Some Guyanese Creole phrases can also help in daily interactions with the local population. The French embassy and other language centers offer courses for expats looking to enhance their French language skills.

Cost of living for expats in Cayenne


The cost of living in Cayenne is relatively high, but it's still considered affordable compared to other major cities in the region. Renting a furnished room in a shared house costs around €200-€300 per month, while a one-bedroom apartment ranges from €500-€700. Two-bedroom apartments are typically priced between €800-€1200 per month, while a three-bedroom house can cost upwards of €2000. Housing allowances for expats vary according to their specific job contract.


Groceries in Cayenne are reasonably priced, but the cost can vary depending on the location and type of food. Fresh produce is readily available in local markets and supermarkets, and non-perishable items are widely stocked in big stores. Expats can find a wide variety of products at Carrefour, Auchan, and other popular supermarkets.


Transportation costs in Cayenne are reasonably cheap. A caracol bus ticket costs around €1.30, while a collective taxi ride is approximately €2-€5 depending on the distance. It's encouraged to buy a weekly or monthly transportation pass to save money on frequent rides.

Climate in Cayenne

Cayenne enjoys a tropical climate, with high levels of humidity and rainfall. It has a distinct wet and dry season, with May to August being the driest months of the year. The average temperature ranges from 22°C to 29°C, making it a pleasant destination to explore all year round.

Job market in Cayenne

Cayenne has a thriving job market owing to its strategic location and close proximity to Brazil, Suriname, and Guyana. The main industries in the city include agriculture, manufacturing, and services. Some of the key employers in Cayenne include the French Development Agency, airline companies, and construction firms. Those with expertise in IT, finance, and teaching are in high demand, making it relatively easy to find job opportunities.

Healthcare in Cayenne

France provides healthcare coverage to all residents of French Guiana, including expats. There are several government-run healthcare clinics and hospitals in Cayenne that cater to the local population as well as expats. Expats can also obtain private healthcare coverage through leading insurance companies. The public healthcare system is free, but waiting times for specialists and surgeries can be longer than in the private healthcare sector.

Transport in Cayenne

Cayenne has a well-developed public transportation system that includes buses, taxis, and collective taxis known as "lift". The buses, known as "caracols

Safety in Cayenne

Cayenne is generally a safe city, but it's essential to exercise caution in certain areas, especially at night. The city has a low crime rate, but petty theft and pickpocketing are not uncommon in crowded areas. Expats are advised to keep their belongings close to them and avoid carrying large sums of cash. It's also encouraged to remain vigilant in remote areas and to avoid walking alone at night.

Neighborhoods in Cayenne

  1. Mon Jerome

    Mon Jerome is a bustling neighborhood in Cayenne that is home to a diverse mix of locals and expats. The area is well-connected with excellent public transportation links and offers a wide variety of restaurants, cafes, and shops. Mon Jerome is popular among families and young professionals due to the availability of schools and offices in the vicinity.

  2. Mallet

    Mallet is a residential area located on the western side of Cayenne. It's known for its scenic beauty and tranquil atmosphere, making it a popular choice for expats looking to unwind after work. Mallet offers a range of amenities, including schools, supermarkets, and medical centers.

Attractions in Cayenne

  1. Georgetown

    Georgetown is a historic district in Cayenne that is steeped in cultural heritage. It's home to several notable landmarks, including St. Jean Baptiste Church, the Government Palace, and Place des Palmistes. Georgetown is a must-visit spot for expats interested in learning about the city's rich history.

  2. Montagne des Singes

    Montagne des Singes, or Monkey Mountain, is a stunning natural attraction located a few kilometers outside of Cayenne. It offers breathtaking views of the city and the Atlantic Ocean and is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including howler monkeys and sloths. It's an excellent spot for expats looking to connect with nature.

International Schools in Cayenne

  1. Lycée Elleboudy

    Lycée Elleboudy is a reputed international school located in the heart of Cayenne. It offers a high-quality, bilingual education program that follows the French curriculum. The school is open to students from different nationalities and serves as a melting pot of cultures.

  2. Lycée Saint-Thomas d'Aquin

    Lycée Saint-Thomas d'Aquin is another trusted international school in Cayenne. It offers a broad range of academic programs for students of different nationalities and follows a French-based curriculum. The school is known for its modern facilities and state-of-the-art equipment.

Useful expat resources in Cayenne