We couldn’t resist the opportunity to stop at Devil’s Island...infamous from 1854 to 1952 as one of France's most notorious prisons, or "hell on earth."
We hacked our way through the dense foliage with a machete in the overgrown jungle that seemed to be growing before our eyes. The thick palm and coconut tree canopy provided us welcomed shade in the heat, and long, crawling vines curled around the window bars. There were countless prisoners’ drawings on the walls throughout the complex, depicting their lives, their torture, and their despair. Many of the cellblocks had no ceilings, just barred overhead openings from wall to wall, affording no privacy from the guards who paced above.
It was haunting, walking in the footsteps of these prisoners. It almost seemed as if they had just left recently and in a hurry, as there were still cots, dirty mattresses, and chamber pots strewn about in abundance.