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Unofficial flag of Guadeloupe (local).svg
Quick Facts
Capital Basse-Terre
Government Overseas department of France
Currency Euro (EUR)
Area total: 1,780 km2
Population 452,776 (July 2006 est.)
Language French (official) 99%, Creole patois
Religion Roman Catholic 95%, Hindu and pagan African 4%, Protestant 1%
Country code +590
Internet TLD .gp
Time Zone UTC-4

Guadeloupe [17], sometimes known as the Butterfly Island (French: I'ile Papillon), on account of the shape of two of its major islands, is a group of islands in the eastern Caribbean, and is a French overseas department. It is located southeast of Puerto Rico.

Map of Guadeloupe


  • Basse Terre: green and lush vegetation, mountainous with a sulphuric volcano.
  • Grande Terre: flat and dry with a lot of beaches, some of them very touristic.
  • Marie Galante: the biggest island out of mainland Guadeloupe.
  • Les Saintes: composed of Terre de Haut and Terre de Bas, one of the most beautiful bays.
  • La Désirade: Natural and relatively untouched.
  • Petite Terre: uninhabited and untamed.


Grande Terre[edit]

  • Pointe-à-Pitre: with its suburbs, it is the economic capital of Guadeloupe
  • Gosier: maybe one of the most interesting places of Guadeloupe to enjoy nightlife. (You can enter most nightclubs with proper clothes, that is, no sneakers, no shorts)
  • St François if you go at the eastern point of Guadeloupe, you will reach La Pointe des Chateaux, a scenery made of sand and rocks which have vaguely the shape of a castle. From there, you can look up at the islands La Désirade, Petite Terre, Marie Galante, Les Saintes, La Dominique but also have a perfect view of the islands Grande Terre and far away Basse Terre.
  • St Anne is a very nice town but also very touristic (probably the primary touristic area of Guadeloupe). There are loads of things to do or see, including:
    • The markets that are held every day next to the beach
    • Thursday night market near the stadium
    • Artisan festival in July
    • The Gwoka (drum) Festival
    • Artisan village at the entrance of Ste-Anne
    • Beaches: Caravel (where the Club Med is located (the beach is public, as required by French law), the town beach with its blue water and for the overall atmosphere, the Bois Jolan beach, it‘s very atypical.
    • You can book a room at different hotels, “Pierre et Vacances”, Club Med, and holiday cottages, like Residence Zandoly.
    • Sainte Anne is very vibrant; the restaurants are open until late at night. L'Americano, bd Georges Mandel, 0590 88 38 99: bar/restaurant offers free salsa courses on Saturdays and live performances some days. You will find all kind of bars. You can try Club Med, 0590 85 49 50 fax: 0590 85 49 59 (for instance, others resort may propose this formula too) for a one day all inclusive (lunch buffet, bars, drinks, beach volley, windsurf, boat, gym, dance courses...) for about €65, so it may be a good deal (as it costs more than €7 one hour of windsurf).
  • Le Moule the town of the Moule is a beautiful place if you want to stay away from the agitation of Pointe-à-Pitre, Gosier and Baie Mahault. Just outside the town: You can visit the archaeological and ethnographic of Edgar Clerc museum. You can see exhibitions about Arawak and Carib Indians civilizations.

In the town: You can enjoy the boardwalk during the day as well as in the evening. For the people who like surfing and have a good level, you can find one of the famous surf spot of Guadeloupe at the entrance of the town. There is a restaurant next to “le spot”. You can find a shopping mall at the entrance of the town and in the downtown. Shops are open from Monday to Saturday, including Saturday afternoon, something rare in Guadeloupe. You can see a very charming downtown with its church, its old ruins. Going to Saint-François Direction: If you look for a beach, you can go in the beach “l’autre bord” or “l’anse à l’eau”, when you leave downtown. You will see the “maison Zavellos” which is an old colonial house. Some say it’s a haunted house. The town of Moule also has, one of the first rum distillery which produces the famous Damoiseau rum. If you like walking, you can go to the “baie Olive” there are beautiful cliffs or go to the beach “plage des rouleaux”.

  • Morne à l'eau, renowned for its amazing cemetery composed of burial places made of black and white tiles.
  • Anse Bertrand, not far from there, you can visit La pointe de la Grande Vigie, northern point of mainland Guadeloupe. You can also go to Porte d'Enfer, a beautiful still stripe of sea between a scenery of reefs. From there, walk one hour along the cliff, and you will discover a Souffleur, kind of geyser due to the pressure of the sea.
  • Abymes nothing special to see, but the weekend, there are 3 local nightclubs: L'instant, Caraibes and Latin Club. They are located at the same place.

Basse Terre[edit]

  • Baie-Mahault: the industrial and commercial zone of Guadeloupe, nothing special to do or see. Here stands the biggest shopping mall of the island. Not too far from there, you can find a local bar/nightclub named Bik Kreyol, Beau Soleil, 0590 25 80 46 or 0590 92 06 48 (Entrance €5, Drinks €3). Local music (ragga, zouk, rnb) and local customers. The building is typical, it's a former warehouse.

Other destinations[edit]

Don't miss the spectacular waterfalls in the jungle of Basse-Terre. Some are within 5-10 minutes walking distance from the nearest parking lot, some require at least 3-4 hours of hiking (those are, of course less frequented by other tourists and you might find yourself alone at a spectacular waterfall in the middle of nowhere - an amazing experience!).

The local rum distilleries offer tours (check for opening times as they may vary from season to season) which are certainly worth the while since rum production is a very integral part of Guadeloupe's economy. And sampling the local rums is definitely worth the while.

Even though they might not be the best way to get around the island, a ride on the bus is still an experience you should not miss. Cheap, full of locals, conducted by fearless drivers, you can enjoy the beautiful Caribbean panorama to the sound of Guadeloupean zouk music. Some routes are not good for passengers with weak stomachs. If you're careful, you can hitch a free ride on the back for some "realistic" tourist experience.


Guadeloupe has been a French possession since 1635 except for the years 1813-1814 when it came into Swedish possession as a consequence of the Napoleonic Wars. The island of Saint Martin is shared with the Netherlands; its southern portion is named Sint Maarten and is part of the Netherlands Antilles and its northern portion is named Saint-Martin and is part of Guadeloupe.

Guadeloupe is an archipelago of nine inhabited islands, including Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Marie-Galante, La Desirade, Iles des Saintes (2), Saint-Barthélemy, Iles de la Petite Terre, and Saint-Martin (French part of the island of Saint Martin).


Subtropical tempered by trade winds; moderately high humidity


Basse-Terre is volcanic in origin with interior mountains; Grande-Terre is low limestone formation; most of the seven other islands are volcanic in origin


Guadeloupe is a very mixed island culturally waves of successive immigrations of Indians, Lebanese, Syrians, Chinese makes it an Eldorado where living together is paramount.

Get in[edit]

Passports and visas[edit]

French Guiana, Martinique,Guadeloupe, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Reunion

Passport holders of the following countries do not require a visa to enter the Departement o. Mere,D.O.M. as long as their visit (for business or tourism) does not exceed 90 days.

NOTE: If you cannot find your nationality in the list below this means that you require a visa.

Some passeport holders of the following countries mentioned below do however need to apply for a visa in order to study or work in the D.O.M. Please contact the visa section at [email protected]

A Andorra Anguilla (1) Argentina Australia Austria B Bahrain (2bis) Barbados Belgium Bermuda (1) Bolivia Brunei Brazil (5) Bulgaria C Canada Cayman Islands (1) Chile Congo Republic - Brazzaville (3bis) Costa Rica Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic D Denmark E El Salvador Estonia F Falkland Islands (1) Finland G Germany Gibraltar (1) Greece Guatemala H Honduras Hong Kong SAR (4) Hungary I Iceland Ireland Israel (3) (regular passeport only) Italy J Japan L Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg M Madagascar (2) Malaysia Malta Maurice (2) Mexico Monaco Montserrat (1) N Netherlands, The New Zealand Nicaragua Norway P Panama Paraguay Poland Portugal R Romainia S Saint Helena (1) San Marino Serbia (6) Seychelles (2) Slovakia Slovenia South Africa (2) South Korea Spain Sultanat of Oman (4bis) Sweden Switzerland T Taiwan (7) Trinidad and Tobago Turks and Caicos (1) U United Kingdom (1) United States Uruguay V Vatican City Venezuela Virgin Islands (1) (1) The holders of passports with one of the following stipulations: “British Dependent Territories Citizen”, “The holder has the right of abode in the United Kingdom”, “European Community”, “European Union”, do not require a visa for tourism purposes as long as the stay does not exceed 90 days within a period of six months. All other passport holders of this nationality must apply for a visa. (2) No visa required for Reunion only (2bis) From August 1st, 2009, only citizens of the Kingdom of Bahrain holding a diplomatic or special passport, do not require a short stay visa to travel to France and/or D.O.M./T.O.M. (3) Holders of diplomatic and service passeports need a visa (3bis) From August 1st 2009, only citizens of the Congo Republic (Brazzaville) holding a "Biometrically Secured" diplomatic passports ONLY do not require a visa to travel to France and/or D.O.M./T.O.M. (TAAF excepted) (4) British National Overseas (B.N.O.) require visas. (4bis) From July 1st, 2009, citizens of the Sultanat of Oman holding a Diplomatic, Official (only Omanees citizens) and Special passport do not require a short stay visa to travel to France and/or D.O.M./T.O.M. (5) From August 1st 2009, Brazilian citizens holding a diplomatic, official or ordinary passport, do not need a short stay visa to travel to Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy. (6) Only for holders of red biometric passports. Holders of non biometric passports must apply for a visa. (7) Only for holders of passports mentioning a "Personal id No"

By plane[edit]

American Airlines (from San Juan, PR), Delta Airlines (weekly from Atlanta), Norwegian Air (New York, Providence, Fort Lauderdale), Air Caraïbes, Corsair, Air France, Air Europe, Air Canada, Cubana and Level. Norwegian air-shuttle has introduced a low-cost connection between Fort Lauderdale and Point-à-Pitre. To get more information, you can have a look at Guadeloupe Airport website [18].

From Guadeloupe, to travel in the surrounding places, here is an idea of the prices (roundtrip): Trinidad ~250 €, Barbade ~260 €, Puerto Rico ~300 €, Dominican Republic ~350 €, Cuba ~550 €

There is an Air Pass [19] to travel between most of the islands of the lesser Antilles delivered by the regional company LIAT Airlines [20], it costs about $500 for one month and is unlimited, but you have to pay taxes for each airport.

You can obtain information at Agence Penchard, 1 bis rue de la République 97100 Basse-Terre, Tel 0590 812 712 Fax 0590 810 711

By car[edit]

From some neighbouring islands, you can travel with your car on ferry companies (See section by boat).

By boat[edit]

From Martinique, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Marie Galante, Les Saintes: Express des Iles [21], Brudey Frères [22], Star Ferries[23].

  • Windward Islands Yachting Company, one of the worlds largest yacht charter companies, can take care of all charter requirements, from bareboat to crewed in Guadeloupe. Operating from its international offices (USA, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Caribbean, Hong Kong, Dubai).

CMA CGM shipping company take a few passengers on their weekly container ships from France to Martinique and Guadeloupe

Get around[edit]

By car[edit]

Cars can be hired at the airport in Pointe-à-Pitre or booked online on sites such as Rentacar and Satevan. The main roads are of the same quality as metropolitan France, but smaller roads are often uneven, pot-holed and frankly dangerous. Prudence is required! Drivers are often undisciplined, but rarely aggressive.

By bus[edit]

Grande-Terre and Baie Mahault in Basse-Terre are served by Karu'lis, with routes and schedules available online. Other routes are served by various companies. Buses are infrequent except the S01 running between Pointe-à-Pitre and St-François. Services are reduced on Saturday afternoons and Sundays.

From Pointe-à-Pitre, buses to Grande-Terre leave from the Darboussier Terminal east of town between Place de la Victoire and the Mémorial ACTe, while buses to Basse-Terre leave from the Bergevin Terminal near the ferry port.

Buses AE1 and AE3 run between the airport and Gosier, passing Pointe-à-Pitre along the way. On Saturday afternoons and Sundays, the route between the airport and Pointe-à-Pitre is served by Bus Z2.

By boat[edit]


French is the official language. Antillean Creole is a language also spoken primarily in the French (and some of the English) Lesser Antilles, such as Martinique, Guadeloupe, Îles des Saintes, Dominica, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago and many other smaller islands. Everyone speaks French but few people understand English which has however influenced Antillean Creole since the British seized the island several times.

See also: French phrasebook.

See[edit][add listing]

La Désirade

Do[edit][add listing]

Scuba diving and snorkeling. There is an amazing assortment of tropical fish, even in water less than one meter deep. For those who can't swim, glass bottomed boat trips are on offer.

There are many festivals to attend to in Guadeloupe. In Guadeloupe they call them "parties on the street". They use colourful ribbons and tie them round their wrists to resemble the colours of all the nations. Their parties last all through the night until the early morning. They sometimes call them "swatson".

  • Sally. Guadeloupe is the location for the British TV series - Death in Paradise.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Characteristic of the Antilles is the colourful tiled Madras fabric.
  • The local made rum is also distinctive and very cheap to buy. Certainly worth sampling (during an evening at one of the beautiful beaches or at home when showing vacation pictures to friends and family to warm everyone up to caribbean temperature)

Eat[edit][add listing]

Not to be missed, the plate Colombo (chicken, rice, curry), imported from India, has become the typical regional plate. the expected cost for food is anywhere from 4.99 to 38.99

Drink[edit][add listing]

The local drink is white rum. Do try the "'Ti Punch" (Petit Punch/small Punch) (rum, lime, and sugar cane/brown sugar). Packs a wallop, so be prepared to melt into the island way of life.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Gîtes de l'Habituée, Capesterre Belle Eau (route de morne crossing with chemin baron), +590 590 98 68 95, [1]. [2] 3 fully furnished Bungalows (#1:sleeps 2 #2 an #3:sleep 4 35-55 euros) Jean-Marc, Néli and their children welcome you in their little botanical garden: palm trees, fruit trees, flowers, orchids. South east of Basse Terre island, Capesterre Belle Eau heights, entry of the Guadeloupe national park [3], between the bananier surfing beach and Carbet waterfalls, hikes and hot springs [4]. Free WIFI [email protected] Map of Gîtes de l'Habituée on wikimapia [5] 16°1'8"N 61°36'5"W 35-55 euros. (16°1'8N,61°36'5W) edit
  • PV-Holidays Sainte Anne Holiday Village, +33 1 58 21 55 84, [6]. The self-catering village is made up of exotic 2-floor houses, each of which contains several hotel apartments. It is located “on the water’s edge” and is embellished by tropical gardens. Surrounded by two beaches, sports and water areas and has many on-site shops.  edit
  • Chalets Sous-le-Vent - Réserve Cousteau, Route de Poirier, Pigeon (Basse-Terre Region, 40km from Airport), +590590989161, [7]. Véronique & Alex welcome you in their 7 fully equipped cottages located in a 2'300sqm tropical garden with a swimming pool and sea view, facing the "Réserve Cousteau" marine park in Guadeloupe. Diving spots and beach 5 min. away by car. One chalet is fully equipped for disabled persons. Swiss owners and alumni of the Lausanne Hotel Management School. Special offers for scuba-divers. Cottages 2-3p Bungalow with aircon 2-4p Twin cottages 4-6p  edit
  • Sunset Surf Camp, 97118 Saint François, Grande-Terre, [8]. One of the few (perhaps the only?) backpackers accommodations in Guadeloupe, with both private rooms and dorm-style rooms of three beds. The surf camp is located within a 2500m² tropical garden located a few hundreds meters from Raisins Clairs beach and it takes less than 10mn to walk to the center of Saint François. From €29 per night for a dorm room (high season 2010).  edit
  • Grand Baie Vacation Rental, Terre-de-Haut, Iles des Saintes, [9]. You can choose to stay in one of our two houses : "Anse Caraïbe" located in the center of town close to beaches and shops, or "Grand Baie" located on the edge of town on a hill overlooking the bay, only two minutes walk from the first beach. Rental possibilities range from studio apartments suitable for one to three people, to the whole villa (up to 22 people). From €48 for a studio.  edit
  • Hotel Amaudo, Saint-François, Grande-Terre, [10]. Has the best online reviews by a mile on the whole island, and looks beautiful in photos! From €130 a night (High season 2010).  edit
  • Hotel Karaibes, Le Gosier, Grande-Terre, [11]. Two star hotel, basic but clean and fine. From €70 per night (High season 2010).  edit
  • Hotel le Petit Havre, Route de la Plage - Petit-Havre - 97190 Gosier - Grande-Terre, [12]. Simple two star hotel From €85 per night (high season 2010).  edit
  • Aloes Vacances, route de la pointe des châteaux la coulée 97118 St François, Grande-Terre, [13]. Gites (holiday apartments) in St François, less than 10 minutes walk from the beach and the town. From €85 per night for a studio (high season 2010).  edit
  • Les Gîtes de la Grande Source, Rue du Souffleur - 97127 La Désirade, [14]. On one of the most genuine islands of the Guadeloupe archipelago, vacation bungalows in quiet tropical gardens only some 200m from the sea are awaiting you. From €46 per night for a double (high season 2010).  edit
  • Oualiri Beach Hotel, Beauséjour - 97127 La Désirade, [15]. Of a reasonably small size allowing personal contacts, the Oualiri Beach Hôtel offers all the charm and authentic atmosphere proper to the island of Desirade. From €60 for a single (low season 2009).  edit
  • Orchidée cottages, Le GOSIER, [16]. homestay apartment located in Gosier 10 min from Gosier City Centre, 20 minutes from the airport.  edit


For European people coming from an EU country, working in Guadeloupe is allowed without problem. If you're from outside the EU, you will probably need a work permit - check with the French Embassy in your country. Do not forget though that the unemployment rate is around 28%. But if you work in the health sector (doctor, nurse), it will be much easier. Else you could find a job in bars, restaurants, and/or nightclubs. The better is to have a precise idea of what you want to do, inform yourself and prospect before going there.

Voluntary service: Volontariat Civil à l'Aide Technique (VCAT). Conditions: you must be French or from another EU-member state or a country belonging to the European Economic Area. You must be over 18 and under 28 years old (inclusive). You must not have had your civic rights revoked by a court or have been convicted of certain offences. VCAT [24], Préfecture Guadeloupe [25].

Stay safe[edit]

Bring lots of sunscreen!

There are Metropole-style pharmacies which carry top of the line French sunscreen, that can be expensive.

Also, keep hydrated, especially when hiking in the mountainous areas. A hat is often a good thing to have because the sun can get extremely hot.

Stay healthy[edit]

There is no particular disease but you should protect yourself from the sun. Sanitary and medical facilities in Guadeloupe are good. Health care in Guadeloupe is controlled by a state-owned organisation (Sécurité Sociale). Doctors are available in almost every village. Tap water is usually safe for consumption. Public sources of water are unsafe if labeled with "Eau non potable" (no drinking water). Visitors from European Union should bring a European Health Insurance Card or EHIC (formerly the E111 form) with them. Ask details at your local health care organisation.

Emergency phone numbers[edit]

  • emergency services: 112 (which can be called from any mobile phone, even if not connected to a GSM network);
  • fire brigade: 18;
  • police station: 17;
  • specialised emergency medical service (called SAMU): 15.


While officially a part of France, the country does not have a very europeanized way of life. In fact, life in the Caribbean has a much slower pace. Busses run very infrequently, taxis are hard to find, smaller stores open or close not always on time, queuing in stores is sometimes very time consuming... Try to fall into the local pace and do not complain about minor annoyances as Guadeloupeans will see that as an offense to their way of life. And they are proud of the distinction between caribbean and metropolitan (French) life style!



Country code: 590

Dialing within Guadeloupe: all numbers have 10 digits. Landlines begin by 0590 and mobile phones by 0690.

Dialing to Guadeloupe: international prefix + 590 + phone number without the first 0 (this leads to dial twice 590 which is normal). If you dial from France, just use the 10 digits number.

Dialing from Guadeloupe: the international prefix is 00.

Calling to a mobile phone is more expensive than to a landline. Number beginning by 0800 are free phone. Number beginning by 089 are premium-rate.

Few foreign mobile phone companies offer international roaming to Guadeloupe so double-check before leaving. Your company should provide specific roaming to Guadeloupe since it has deferent mobile phone companies than in mainland France.

Alternatively, you should be able to get a Pay-as-you-go SIM card from various locations. There are two companies offering wireless services: Bouygues Telecom Caraïbe [26] and Orange Caraïbe [27].


Post offices are found in all cities. Letter boxes are colored in yellow.


Less than 20g (postcard, letter with one or two pages in a regular envelop) :

  • France (including Oversea Territories DOM-TOM): 0,53€
  • area 2 (rest of the world) : 0,90 €


The basic stamp for regular mail is red with the head of "Marianne" (the Republic logo). It does not carry its value and can therefore be used even after a price increase. It is sold in all Post Offices, Bureaux de Tabacs (Tobacco sellers identified by a red lozenge) and postcard vendors. The latter may also carry other common stamps.

In most Post Offices you will find an automatic machine (yellow) with a scale and a screen. Just put your mail on the scale, tell the machine (French or English) the destination, pay the indicated amount and the machine will deliver a printed stamp.

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