Devil’s Island was made famous in the movie starring Dustin Hoffman and Steve McQueen: “Papillon.” But the Devil’s Island that tourists are welcomed on today is not the island associated with the unfortunate French prisoner, Papillon (Henri Charriere).
The island the ships dock at or where passengers are tendered to is Isle Royale; it’s one of two islands just across the waters from the actual Devil’s Island. The other is St. Joseph Island.
This is a wonderful day or half-day adventure. Walk around the perimeter of the island to see stunning coastline, massive palm trees, old decayed buildings, an abundance of wildlife like squirrel monkeys and guinea pig type creatures called, “agoutis,” parrots, chickens, pigs, and the Children’s Graveyard.
Isle Royale or Royal Island once played host to the guards in charge of the French penal colony of French Guiana. In 1952, the prisons were closed and the buildings were abandoned. But many like the ones showing above have survived the passage of time very well.
Today, the island offers a museum, a hotel, a restaurant and a gift shop, not to mention hours of pure bliss for both the hiker and the photographer.
Devil’s Island is just under 7 miles from the French Guiana mainland.
Wishing you safe and happy travels,