Guadeloupe Guide

Know Before You Go...®

The island guide intro here is a brief summary of all things Guadeloupe. You’ll find an overview of the island, things to do while there, the kinds of transportation available, and what kind of weather to expect while you’re there. The guide is a good place to start your planning as it is comprehensive and concise. Your visit should be one of the most memorable events in your life—from your Guadeloupe villa rental, bungalow, cottage, or other accommodation you select, to the beaches and restaurants you visit—and we want to help make that possible.

Why Guadeloupe?

  • Guadeloupe is home to the only volcano in the Lesser Antilles.
  • Guadeloupe's capital is Basse-Terre, which was founded in 1643.
  • The archipelago is made up of two main islands, Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre, and five smaller islands.
  • Guadeloupe is the birthplace of the Caribbean music genre zouk.
  • The island of Guadeloupe is a popular destination for whale watching.

Guadeloupe Weather/Climate

Average Temperatures

January
84° F
68° F
February
84° F
68° F
March
85° F
69° F
April
86° F
71° F
May
87° F
74 ° F
June
88° F
75 ° F
July
89 ° F
75 ° F
August
89 ° F
75 ° F
September
89 ° F
74 ° F
October
88 ° F
73 ° F
November
87 ° F
72 ° F
December
85 ° F
70 ° F

Average Rainfall

January
3.31 inches
February
2.52 inches
March
2.87 inches
April
4.84 inches
May
5.83 inches
June
4.65 inches
July
5.91 inches
August
7.8 inches
September
9.29 inches
October
8.98 inches
November
8.66 inches
December
5.39 inches

Overview

This tiny member of the French territory, Guadeloupe plays host to thousands of tourists each year searching for sunshine, natural beauty and a uniquely French experience. Not as cosmopolitan as her sister, St. Barth’s, Guadeloupe mixes French with Creole, Europe with the Caribbean and the east with the west in an unapologetic fashion.

Although butterflies are known for their perfect symmetry, butterfly-shaped Guadeloupe is comprised of two island wings marked by dramatic contrasts. To the left, Grand-Terre - a flat land of chalky fields and perfect white beaches that resemble the island’s chief export: sugar. To the right - Basse-Terre, a mountainous forest region filled with volcanic peaks, waterfalls and hot springs. The city of Pointe-a-Pitre feels like the French Riviera, with skyscrapers standing alongside palm trees. On the other hand, at the Parc National on Basse-Terre the scenery is anything but man-made, including four-story waterfalls, thick, colorful flora and largely dormant volcanoes to be explored.

This French-speaking island is amiable to tourists, although English is rarely heard outside of the hotels. Water sports abound on the isle originally named “Island of Beautiful Waters” by the Carib Indians. Jacques Cousteau named it one of the top ten dive sites in the world, while water-skiing, sailing, windsurfing and parasailing are offered at most major hotels. “Dry sports” are almost as popular, including hiking, bicycling and horseback riding on the beach.

Looking to ditch the thousands of cruise ship day-trippers that descend on the island daily? Head for the offshore islands of Guadeloupe, where you’ll explore abandoned sugar mills, spectacular views and empty beaches. The nightlife of Guadeloupe is as spicy as the Creole cuisine, including gambling, discotheques and restaurants that appeal to a range of tastes. Stick with the local dishes, though. Authentic Creole cuisine is one of the many things that Guadeloupe does right.

History

Located in the eastern Caribbean Sea, Guadeloupe is an archipelago comprising of two main islands - Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre, along with several smaller islands. It is an overseas department of France, making it the largest and wealthiest French-speaking territory in the Americas.

The history of Guadeloupe can be traced back to 300 AD when the Arawak tribe, native to South America, arrived on the island and established settlements. They were later replaced by the Carib tribe, who gave the island its name “Karukera,” meaning “island of beautiful waters.”

In 1493, Christopher Columbus arrived on the island during his second voyage to the Americas and claimed it for Spain. However, it was not until 1635, when French colonists led by Bertrand d’Ogeron arrived, that the island was officially settled and named Guadeloupe.

The island quickly became a major producer of sugarcane, with the French importing African slaves to work on the plantations. The sugarcane industry thrived, and by the 18th century, Guadeloupe was one of the wealthiest colonies in the Caribbean.

In 1794, during the French Revolution, Guadeloupe declared itself a republic and abolished slavery. However, slavery was reinstated in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, leading to a rebellion by the enslaved population. The rebellion was eventually crushed, and slavery was not abolished until 1848, following the French government’s decision.

During World War II, Guadeloupe was under the control of the pro-Nazi Vichy government. However, after the Allied invasion of North Africa in 1942, the island came under the control of the Free French forces, led by Charles de Gaulle.

In 1946, Guadeloupe became an overseas department of France, giving its inhabitants French citizenship and representation in the French government. This status has remained to this day, with Guadeloupe being an integral part of France.

In the 20th century, Guadeloupe experienced significant social and political changes, including the rise of the Creole identity and the Black Power movement, which sought to address issues of racism and inequality on the island.

Today, Guadeloupe is a popular tourist destination, known for its beautiful beaches, rich culture, and delicious cuisine. The island continues to be an important part of France, with its inhabitants proudly embracing their dual identity as both Caribbean and French.

Transportation on Guadeloupe

Getting to Guadeloupe and getting around. Our transportation tips will help make your trip smoother. More good sand advice.

Entry Documents

Proof of citizenship for US and Canadian citizens in the form of a passport or an original birth certificate or voter’s registration card with a photo ID and a return or ongoing ticket. Other countries require passports or visas.

Airport

Pole Cara&imul;bes International Airport

Departure Tax

None

Driving

On the right - A valid driver’s license is sufficient for up to 20 days on the island

Local Transportation

2021

1. Rental Cars: Renting a car is the most popular form of transportation in Guadeloupe. There are several rental car companies available at the airport and in major cities, offering a variety of vehicles to choose from.

2. Taxis: Taxis are available throughout Guadeloupe, but they can be expensive. It is recommended to negotiate the fare before getting in and to only use licensed taxis.

3. Public Buses: The public bus system in Guadeloupe is efficient and affordable. The buses cover most of the island and run frequently, making it a convenient option for budget travelers.

4. Water Taxis: Water taxis are a fun and unique way to get around the islands of Guadeloupe. They operate between the main islands and offer a scenic view of the coastline.

5. Scooters and Motorcycles: Renting a scooter or motorcycle is a popular option for exploring the islands of Guadeloupe. It gives travelers more flexibility and the opportunity to discover hidden gems.

6. Ferries: Ferries are available for inter-island travel in Guadeloupe. They are a great option for day trips to nearby islands such as Marie-Galante and Les Saintes.

7. Cycling: Cycling is a great way to explore Guadeloupe, especially on the smaller islands. Many hotels and rental companies offer bicycles for rent.

8. Walking: For short distances, walking is a great option. Guadeloupe has many scenic walking trails and paths, making it a great way to discover the natural beauty of the islands.

9. Carpooling: Carpooling is becoming more popular in Guadeloupe as a way to reduce expenses and minimize the environmental impact of transportation. There are several carpooling apps available for travelers to connect with locals.

10. Private Tours: For a more personalized and hassle-free experience, travelers can opt for private tours. These can be arranged through tour companies or with a local guide for a customized itinerary.

Know Before You Go...® - Guadeloupe Travel Tips

Before making their way to Guadeloupe , vacationers like to know a little bit of helpful information to make them feel more at home during their stay. Take a look at our travel tips to make your time in villas in Guadeloupe even more relaxing.

Capital: Basse-Terre
Population: 452,776
Size: 1,780 sq km
Electric Current: 220
Time: zone:-4 (GMT/UTC )
Official Language: French (official) 99%, Creole patois
Currency: euro (EUR)
Tipping and Taxes: Tipping and taxes in Guadeloupe are an important aspect of the local culture and economy. While tipping is not mandatory, it is customary to leave a small gratuity for good service. The standard amount for tipping in restaurants and bars is 10% of the total bill, although some establishments may include a service charge in the bill. In addition to tipping, there are several taxes that visitors should be aware of when traveling to Guadeloupe. The value-added tax (VAT) is a general consumption tax that is added to most goods and services at a rate of 8.5%. This tax is included in the price of goods and services and is not typically added on separately. Another tax that tourists should be aware of is the tourist tax. This is a small fee that is charged to all visitors to the island, regardless of the length of their stay. The amount of the tourist tax varies depending on the type of accommodation, but it is typically around 1 euro per person per night. It is also important to note that
Dress Code: The dress code in Guadeloupe is typically casual and relaxed with a focus on comfortable and light clothing due to the warm climate.
Topography: 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
Telephone: international: country code - 590

Guadeloupe Weddings and Honeymoons

Vacationers don’t just stay in Guadeloupe villas - they come to paradise to get married and celebrate their honeymoons! Submit required documents to the Guadeloupe offices after completing required residency time.Cost: None.Documents Required: Birth certificate, certificate of good conduct and single status. Residency card, medical certificate including a blood test, and