This place is phenomenal…now.  You would not have been saying that when it opened as a prison for French convicts back in 1852.  To borrow words from A. Smith’s article, Devils Island: The Most Dreaded Prison In The World:

Record has it that of the thousands of prisoners sent to this island, more than 80,000 of them were never seen again. It is a palm-covered rocky island rising 131 feet above sea level. The water surrounding the island was infested with piranhas and beyond that there was a dense jungle. Escape from this island was practically impossible.

“The island was said to be harsh conditioned and disease-infested. As an island, the only way of escaping was through the water; accordingly, very few convicts ever managed to escape. Even if someone were successful in crossing the rivers he would still be caught by Dutch soldiers stationed in the jungle.”

Devil’s Island is off the coast of South America’s French Guiana, and while it’s been closed as a penitentiary since 1952, it is currently home to agoutis , monkeys (careful – they are territorial), peacocks, cats, and a few people who work there.  The island receives approximately 50,000 visitors a year, who can wander through the ruins of its crumbling structures, photograph its beautiful wildlife, or munch on a snack while enjoying the gorgeous view from its cafe.

A note to future visitors:

Wear bug spray or long sleeves and pants to avoid mosquitoes and the like.  Sturdy shoes are also recommended, as much of the paths are uneven.

DSC_8846 DSC_8848 DSC_8850 DSC_8852 DSC_8868 DSC_8874 DSC_8876  DSC_8899 DSC_8901 DSC_8902 DSC_8906 DSC_8907 DSC_8908 DSC_8909 DSC_8920 DSC_8927 DSC_8929 DSC_8930 DSC_8939 DSC_8952 DSC_8958 DSC_8962 DCIM103GOPRO Panorama Feb 8, 2015, 4.26.52 PM-2 Panorama Feb 8, 2015, 4.28.39 PM-2 Panorama Feb 8, 2015, 4.32.14 PM-2

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