Lighthouses of Guyane (French Guiana)

Guyane, usually known in English as French Guiana, is located on the north coast of South America bordering Brazil to the east and south and Suriname to the west. Since 1946 Guyane has been an overseas département fully integrated in the French Republic; this means it is part of the European Union and has the euro as its currency. Formerly the site of the infamous Devil's Island penal colony, Guyane has become much better known in recent years as the site of the European Space Agency's Spaceport launch facilities. Both the prison and the Spaceport are now popular tourist destinations.

The French word for a lighthouse, phare, is often reserved for the larger coastal lighthouses; a smaller light or harbor light is called a feu (literally "fire," but here meaning "light"). In French île is an island, cap is a cape, pointe is a promontory or point of land, roche is a rock, récife is a reef, baie is a bay, estuaire is an estuary or inlet, détroit is a strait, rivière is a river, and havre is a harbor.

Aids to navigation in France are maintained by the Bureau des Phares et Balises, an agency of the Direction des Affaires Maritimes (Directorate of Maritime Affairs). However, aids to navigation in Guyane are probably operated in practice by the port authority, the Grand Port Maritime de Guyane.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume J of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 110.

General Sources
Online List of Lights - French Guiana
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas. Photos for French Guiana are by Luc Petrelluzzi and Douglas Cameron.
Lighthouses in French Guiana
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - French Guiana
Photos by various photographers available from
Leuchttürme Südamerikas auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard views posted by Klaus Huelse.
Navionics Charts
Navigation chart for Guyane.

Île Royale Light
Île Royale Light, Îles du Salut, 2007
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Didwin973

* Île Royale (2)
1934 (station established 1864). Active; focal plane 65 m (213 ft); two white flashes, separated by 2.5 s, every 10 s. 29 m (95 ft) skeletal tower with lantern and gallery mounted atop a round masonry tower. Masonry tower painted white; skeletal tower and lantern painted bright red. A photo is above, Trabas has a photo by Cameron, Özbay Kozmetik has a 2013 photo, Jun Yokoyama has a 2019 photo, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse stands amid the buildings of the former penal colony. (Devil's Island, the best known part of the penal colony, is separated from Île Royale by a narrow strait.) The light was originally shown from the roof of the prison hospital. The island is accessible from Cayenne by passenger ferry, and guided tours are available. Located at the highest point of the island. Site open, tower closed. . ARLHS FRG-002; Admiralty J6894; NGA 17416.
* [Île Royale Jetée (Range Front)]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); continuous green light. 7 m (23 ft) post centered on a small square equipment shelter. Lighthouse painted with green and white horizontal bands. Trabas has Cameron's photo and Google has a distant satellite view. The rear light of the range is on a post. Located on the pier at the southeastern corner of Île Royale. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS FRG-003; Admiralty J6895; NGA 17420.
* [Kourou (Tour Dreyfus)]
Date unknown. Inactive (daybeacon). Tripod with a red trapezoidal daymark mounted atop a 12 m (39 ft) round stone tower with gallery, carrying a white daymark mounted on a red tripod. Tower painted white. Gaetano Cerrone has a closeup photo, Wikimedia has many photos, has a closeup photo, a 2022 photo is available, A. Georges-Noël has a street view, and Google has a satellite view. This tower was built as a signal tower for communications between the mainland and the Îles du Salut, including Devil's Island. The tower is named informally for Alfred Dreyfus, the French Army officer famously imprisoned on Devil's Island from 1895 to 1899. Located on the Pointe des Roches, the promontory on the west side of the entrance to the Kourou River in Kourou. Site open, tower status unknown.
L'Enfant Perdu (2)
1919 (modified in 1934) (station established 1863). Reactivated (inactive 1968-1989); focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white flash every 5 s. 15 m (49 ft) round concrete tower topped by a lantern and gallery mounted on a short skeletal tower. An abandoned keeper's house stands next to the lighthouse. A photo is at right, has Patrick Balta's photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Klaus Huelse has a historic postcard view of the first lighthouse on the reef. It was replaced in 1919. Huelse also has a postcard view showing the original appearance of the present tower. The lighthouse was deactivated in favor of a buoy in 1968. After many protests from mariners the tower was reactivated in 1989 with an automated, solar-powered lamp. Located on a rocky islet about 11 km (7 mi) north of Cayenne. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS FRG-001; Admiralty J6901; NGA 17428.
* Fort Cépérou (2)
1905(?) (station established 1850). Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); three flashes every 15 s, in a 2+1 pattern, white or red depending on direction. 9 m (30 ft) concrete post light mounted on a square 1-story concrete equipment shelter. Post painted red, equipment shelter white. has a closeup photo, Trabas has Petrelluzzi's photo, a 2021 photo of the light in action is available, Eddy Lalouette has a closeup street view, and Google has a satellite view. This light replaced a 12 m (39 ft) wood skeletal tower. Located on a hill in front of Fort Cépérou, overlooking the harbor of Cayenne, the capital of Guyane. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS FRG-004; Admiralty J6902; NGA 17436.
Cheval Blanc
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); quick-flashing red light. 15 m (49 ft) triangular skeletal mast mounted on a square concrete pier. Tower painted white with a red top. Trabas has Petrelluzzi's photo and Google has a satellite view. Located on the west side of the Cayenne River channel, about 1.6 km (1 mi) southwest of Fort Cépérou. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J6904; NGA 17440.

L'Enfant Perdu Light
L'Enfant Perdu Light, Cayenne, April 2012
Flickr photo copyright Terres de Guyane; permission requested

Fleuve Mahury (Grand Port)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 4 m (13 ft); continuous light, white, red or green depending on direction; also a quick-flashing white light. 4 m (13 ft) round concrete tower, upper half painted black and lower half yellow. Trabas has Petrelluzzi's photo and Google has a distant satellite view. This light guides ships in the dredged entrance channel for the new Grand Port Maritime de Guyane, located on the Mahury River on the east side of Cayenne. The light is in the river opposite the port facilities. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J6907.3; NGA 17455.5.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: Southeast: Northern Brazil | West: Suriname

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Posted July 7, 2003. Checked and revised May 4, 2022. Lighthouses: 5. Site copyright 2022 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.