Sao Maripa is actually on the FG side of the border and consists of a little holiday village set against some rapids on the river.
It is possible to take a pirogue or canoe down the rapids but you may need to go a travel agent in Oiapoque or St. Georges to do this.
If you take a pirogue from Oiapoque it will take about 20 minutes and they will drop you off at a seemingly deserted creek. - ARRANGE A PICKUP TIME!!!
Once you are there you have to follow the railway track (disused) for about hald an hour through the jungle and you will end up in the village.
There are no shops there and no bars so bring your own food - Ideally take a car from St Georges it will work out cheaper as pirogues to Sao Maripa are about R$70 - make sure you negotiate the price before hand and don't go over R$70, one of the operators tried to charge me 70 Euros for the journey so be careful.
Baby Beef is a 'pay by the kilo' restaurant, basically you take a plate, help yourself to whats on the hot plate, pop along to the barbecue type thing, get what meat you want, get your plate weighed and crack on!
I don't know if these kind of restaurants are unique to Northern Brazil, but I've never come across them anywhere else, and having barbecued meat on tap is always a winner I feel.
The other good thing about this hotel is that its above the dust of the street below and has some pretty nice views over the river, the price is about average for Oyapoque too, the thing is that you have to enter in through the hotel entrance to the Paris hotel, don't go looking for another entrance cuz they're aint one!
Favorite Dish: The barbecue is awesome, just big metal skewers stacked with sausages, pork, beef, lamb, basted in sauce, its yummy, especially if you haven't had meat in a while.
At the top of town there is a 'football pitch' which is basically a large sandpit with concrete steps running around it.
Around this pitch are quite a few bars and at night several stalls open up selling Caiparinhas (R$1) and various local food, usually barbecued chicken or beef kebabs, served with rice, pasta and beans, which seems to be the local staple.
It gets really busy but is always interesting for people watching, there is a disco or two on the other side of the road from the stalls, its generally open to kids till 10pm, then open only to adults.
Dress Code: Absolutely no dress code at all.
You can fly to Oiapoque from Macapa with Puma (or Punta) air lines, tickets are R$400 1 way and fly 3 times a week.
Its also possible to fly there from Belem but I think that the flight goes via Macapa anyway, I don't know how much the ticket costs.
If you are going to fly to FG from Belem I would suggest it is far easier to take the flight with Air Caraibes direct to Cayenne, its only an hour and unless you're travelling up through FG on foot or collectif, it'll save you a long journey.
You have to get to Macapa to get to Oiapoque by land.
Macapa is the nearest town to Oiapoque, you can get buses to/from Oiapoque for 57 R$ there are two types of buses, air conditioned and non-air conditioned, take the air conditioned! The journey can last up to 18 hours but usually is about 12, the buses only run in the dry season because the road becomes impassable in the rainy season.
In the rainy season its necessary to take a 4x4 - these cost R$200 one way and can turn into a competition to see how many people you can fit into a pickup, there are also several occassions where you may have to get out and push and journey times are up to 24hours - its really not comfortable.
In Oiapoque go to a travel agent to get a bus ticket, the 4x4s are usually parked up along the side of the river. In Macapa get a taxi to the general station where there are stacks of travel agents for the buses, you'll have to ask around if you want a 4x4 as they vary where they hang out.
Again, you need to get to St.Georges first, as there is no car ferry or anything like that there.
St.Georges lies about 3 hours south of Cayenne and Kourou, there are two roads there, 1 being quite a good road all the way (from Cayenne) and the other being a bit dodgy in places (from Kourou), but both the roads meet up at a town called Regina and from there on its quite possibly the best road in FG (being the newest).
When you get to St.Georges you have 2 options, you can leave your car in a secure car park, where you pay 5 euros a day and hand your keys over to a security guard, this is located on a turning on the left hand side of the road as you enter the town, but its best to ask as it isn't that obvious to find.
The second option is to leave your car on the street (you'll see when you get there that the side of the streets are filled with cars parked like this), this option is free, I did it for 4 days and had no problems at all, try to pick somewhere in plain site if you do it though!!
Again, you have to take a pirogue for R$ to Oiapoque from there.
During the rainy season most bus companies will have a period when their buses don't operate as the track to Macapa is too bad to use (though this is being improved, more tarmac on the track and its been flattened out (April 2006)).
So as a replacement service, local taxi companies rock up with their pickups and 4x4s, charge about 2 or 3 times the going rate in order to take you where you want to go and fill the pickup to the rafters with people, the journey really isn't comfy. You can pay just to have a pickup to yourselves but this can be a lot more expensive.
The danger is that not all the pickups are 4x4, they're just normal 2wd road cars, if you are going to take one of these taxi's, make sure the vehicle is a genuine 4x4, or your trip will be VERY long and you will be getting out to push, which means you will be getting VERY muddy.
For absolutely everything, it is ESSENTIAL that you negotiate the price beforehand. Even if its for a taxi journey you know to be short after you've been in the place for a while.
I've heard of a horror story of a bloke taking a 5 minute taxi and being charged R$400 for it, non-payment is not really an option as the driver or seller causes a rucus and you are then in the middle of a crap situation.
Unique Suggestions: Just haggle, don't take anyones initial price unless its known to be OK, sometimes they have the monopoly on things (4x4 trips to Macapa) and there is not arguing as that is the price and they won't be budged.
Separate your money in your pockets, , don't put it all together, so that after getting a good price you don't show the bloke you're loaded. Have an idea of the price you want to pay for something and put that in your pocket, often if you show someone how much money you have they will accept it and you get a good deal.
Fun Alternatives: No real alternatives to paying for things, though if you need to change money into R$ its best to get it done either inland Brazil (Belem/Macapa) or maybe in Cayenne, the guys that change money in Oiapoque do it at rates that change quite a lot daily, and say its 1 Euro to R$2.2in Oiapoque, you can get 1 Euro to R$2.65 in Macapa and even better in Belem.