Walking around Maripasoula you'll find lots of little cafes to the side of the roads, the style ranges from every nationality that is working there, and is generally OK for filling a hole in the stomach. The only thing to be weary of is price, it can vary greatly from cafe to cafe, everything in Maripasoula is expensive, and nothing has a price tag on it, so they charge you what they like, which can be very annoying.
The restaurant is situated on the Surinamese side of the river, so its necessary to take a pirogue across to it, likewise, it is necessary to book the restaurant in advance so that they know you are coming, the pirogue is provided by the restaurant and is free, unless its broken, in which case its necessary to get a local pirogue across, the price for this should be no more than 10 euros each way. The rendezvous point for all pirogue crossings is 'the big tree' on the river front, believe me, you can't miss it.
The food varies, one of the points of phoning up before hand is also to know what they have to eat that night, generally its bush meat ranging from caiman, cochon bois, pac, tapir etc, steak and chips aren't on the menu, in fact, I think you just get what you're given, so, best to know if you like what you're gonna get beforehand!
Favorite Dish: All the food is cooked in a local style, rice, red beans, cwac, pasta, meat, hot sauce.
Nightlife being very limited in Maripasoula, we thought we'd give this place a try, you can hear the music from a while away, the building looks fairly new and well maintained, its also open air.
On arrival, you basically find its a disco with a brothel attached, the music is just loud and many people are there to get drunk and sleep with prostitutes, so the place is generally full of the kind of people who want to get drunk and sleep with prostitutes.
Dress Code: None, I think you could actually turn up naked here, though you might not live very long......
The living, breathing, inhabited part of Maripasoula is quite small, so any clubs going on, you can hear from almost anywhere. Whilst I was there there was one nightspot with live music, that resembled a private party, there was a cover charge to get into the part where the live music was, but outside was free, all we had to do to get there was follow where the music was coming from.
It turned out to be exactly the same for another dancehall we found ourselves in, though this was a more well-known bar, and didn't have the feel of anything private.
Point of note, there weren't any white people at the dancehalls, except for us, the first event was great, a really enjoyable experience, but the second dancehall there was definitely racial tension and we didn't stay long before heading home.
Dress Code: Don't be naked?
Basically, there are 2 transport companies in Maripasoula, both of them are owned by the same family, Cazal. One of the drivers is called 'Big Guy' and the other is his brother, we just knew him as Mr Cazal, they are always there when the plane lands at the airport and as there are 2 minibuses, they have enough to take the plane load.
The going rate is 5 euros per person, he won't ask for anymore, so don't worry about it, we had one chap with us who though he knew better and so we spent 2 hours walking around Maripasoula trying to find where we were meant to be going, not worth it, the taxi guys are fair and know exactly where you are going. As long as you do! If not he'll suggest a place to stay or something to do, really friendly guys, local knowledge etc etc.
Other than the taxi guys, you walk everywhere. When they're not at the airport, they spend most of their time at the Air Guyane office in town, or close by, they've basically got 2 minibuses, the only 2 minibuses in town, one's white, the other is white with 'Cazal Transport' written down the side.
From St Laurent du Maroni it's possible to take a pirogue to Maripasoula, the price, so I've heard, is around 250 euros, and the voyage can take between 1 full day (leaving at 0500, you arrive at night) and 3 days, depending on the season, and how hard you want to ride.
There are a lot of pirogues in St Laurent, the best thing to do it speak to someone with a very big pirogue, I'm not really sure if the small ones go to Maripasoula or not, and you may have to be a bit cautious with choosing the guy you go with too. But lots of people do it, so it shouldn't be too hard to find someone to go with and with a bit of bartering you should be able to get the price down a bit too.
The pirogues in St Laurent are found all along the Maroni river bank, its the guys on the pirogues who will come to you, sometimes quite aggressively, to get your business.
In Maripasoula, the pirogues are again on the river, though if you want to go back to St Laurent, chances are you'll have to wait until the pirogue is full of goods or people to transport.
The only way to get to Maripasoula unless you take a pirogue or a private plane. Flights leave 2-3 times a day from Cayenne, take approx 50 minutes.
The planes are twin otters, well-known for their reliability, they hold about 30 people, you get an excellent view of the Guyanese forest as you basically have to cross Guyane to get from Cayenne to Maripasoula, you also get a good view of the gold mining operations going on and the hills around the town, which you don't have in northern Guyane.
Price is 150 euros-ish return, residents of Maripasoula pay less, but you have to have a certificate stating you're a resident in order to take advantage of this.
Its best to phone around flight times, that way you know someone will be in the office, times are 0815, 1115 and 1415.
As always, safety is primarily a matter of common sense, don't wear jewelery, no big cameras round your neck, no overt display of wealth.
In Maripasoula, there is a large underground network of gold smugglers, drugs, prostitutes and illegal immigrants working in illegal gold mines, it is a cut throat world and it is no exaggeration that at one time Maripasoula was a dangerous place to be. It has calmed down a lot but you should maintain awareness at all times of where you are in the town, keep away from areas with no-one in them, keep away from bars or areas that look a bit dodgy. Most of the time any violence that happens will be inter-group and will not involve tourists, but its easy to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Night-time, try not to go out alone, same as everywhere in the world nowadays, the more of you there are the better, especially if you're female, any aggression you experience is likely to be drunken, and can easily be avoided by staying in bars where there are a few people around.
Above all, if you're not comfortable with an area or bar, walk away, don't let yourself be coerced into going anywhere, bar, dancehall or otherwise that you don't want to go to or are not comfortable with, the local taking you there maybe 100% well intentioned and know the place like the back of his hand, but you're not local and you will attract attention, if you like the idea but aren't sure, check the place out in the day time and ask the local taxi guy what he thinks.