Experiencing Turtle Watching in Cayenne, French Guyana

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The beach near the Novotel in Cayenne where we saw the turtles.

One of my most memorable experiences from my 3 days in Cayenne in French Guyana was turtle watching at Novotel Beach. This was a real surprise for us. We knew turtle watching and viewing was something you could do in French Guyana, but what we didn’t know was how random and spontaneous and lucky we would get. It can be done at night and in early morning. By day, you won’t see a single turtle here.

turtle watching novotel beach cayenne

Watching turtles at Novotel Beach, Cayenne, French Guyana.

We hired a car in French Guyana which made it easy to get around. For the basis of this post I will refer to the beach as the Novotel Beach which is just down from the Cayenne Novotel.

The entrance to the Novotel Hotel in Cayenne, on down the road to the right of this photo is the beach for turtle viewing.

The entrance to the Novotel Hotel in Cayenne, on down the road to the right of this photo is the beach for turtle viewing.

If you don’t have your own transport, it will be tricky so I’d recommend getting a car to travel along the main road between Cayenne and Remire-Montjoly.

The location of the Novotel in Cayenne, French Guyana.

The location of the Novotel in Cayenne, French Guyana.

Follow the main road out of Cayenne which heads east towards Remire-Montjoly. At some point you will see a sign on the left hand side for Novotel. This is the turn off you take and less than a kilometre down this road is the beach where you can see turtles. The beach will have signs up on the way in and a small car park, and on the left lots of turtle related murals.

The entrance down to the Novotel Beach, Cayenne, French Guyana.

The best time for turtle watching is between April and June but July is also quite good. Be sure to research in advance.  Night is the only time they come out and they stay out of the water for about two hours. 

The Information Boards: on the way to the beach you will see lots of information boards about turtles, which will tell you about the different types of turtles.

Information boards on the turtles at Novotel Beach, Cayenne, French Guyana.

Information boards on the turtles at Novotel Beach, Cayenne, French Guyana.

Information boards on the turtles at Novotel Beach, Cayenne, French Guyana.

The Murals: on the right hand side as you walk to the beach there are a load of cool murals all featuring images of turtles and this is sponsored by a group called KWATA which protects the turtles.

The murals by the beach sponsored by KWATA.

The Beach: obviously this is a tropical paradise so the beach itself is worth checking out to go in for a dip and relax. There are not really any ice cream or drink vendors which proves how untouristy it really is. It’s a great spot to relax.

Relaxing by the palm trees on the golden sands of the Novotel beach, French Guyana.

Turtle Watching: Essentially, turtle watching by night is the highlight. We turned up just after 8.30 pm and got to see small baby turtles and a mother nesting her eggs. The eggs need to be in sand in a hole. There were a few turtle experts that came along to explain the process to us.

The mother turtle nesting on the beach.

The mother turtle nesting on the beach.

A baby turtle on the beach.

A baby turtle on the beach.

On the beach with a turtle by my feet.

On the beach with a turtle by my feet.

We were lucky to catch both the mother and the baby turtles. It was quite a sight I have to say and really really worth it. Flash lights are not supposed to be used hence the lack of actual photos – go there and see it with your own eyes. The guides will give you stickers which read “Turtle Safe” to put over your torches to prevent the flashlight shocking the turtles. Protect the animals remember.

The turtle safe sticker to put on your torch.

The turtle safe sticker to put on your torch.

Sunrise and Sunset: we ran across people who were heading to the beach to watch sunrise and sunset. Sunrises in the east of course so sunrise is best.

Early morning on the beach near the Novotel.

Early morning on the beach near the Novotel.

There are numerous tour companies throughout Guyana, Suriname and French Guyana that organize turtle tours and turtle viewing.