A Travel Guide For Guadeloupe

Introduction

Guadeloupe is a multifarious destination to go on vacation from sandy beaches to the hilly-crazed mountain ranges, an island nation of captivating  islands. The country looks like a butterfly’s wings.  Grande-Terre, the eastern part of the islands. It has a series of coastal towns, which offers a variety of activities for tourists. The western island of Mountainous Basse-Terre houses the dense, lush Guadeloupe National Park, full of waterfalls and overshadowed by the majestic volcano of La Souffrière.

Where Is Guadeloupe?

Located on the French Caribbean tropical islands in the Lesser Antilles is Guadeloupe.  The country lies on the east and northern coasts of Puerto Rico, 500 km south-east. Guadeloupe comprises the central Basse-Terre and Grande Terre islands. These two islands are shaped roughly like a butterfly and are separated by the Salée river, a narrow seaside channel. 

Guadeloupe is smaller than two-thirds of Luxembourg or slightly bigger than half the size of Rhode Island. Many of the islands are rocky and volcanic. Guadeloupe is a member of the European Union. 

Weather and climate of Guadeloupe

The northeast weather patterns are tempering the tropical climate. The coastal temperatures range from 25 to 28°C, with the extreme temperatures being 20 to 34°C. Temperatures may fall to 16°C in mountain ranges above 580 m, and they may fall to 4°C at Soufrière peak. 

Two separate seasons exist. The dry season (December to April), which is also traditionally known as “Creole Lent,” and the wet seasons (July to September to October). Rainfall varies with height and topography.

Grande-Terre receives about 990 mm of rain annually. Whereas, the Basse-Terre mountainous areas receive over 2540 mm of rain per year. Often, hurricanes come from the south in several circumstances.

The Tropical Forest Of Guadeloupe

The five islands of Guadeloupe comprises old colonial houses and castles as well as the vibrant local markets, which together with the frequent bullocks pulls and cockfights are a perfect place to experience the cultural diversity. 

In a National Park like Le Carbet Waterfall, the Basse-Terre is filled with green tropical forests. The area activities include butterfly spotting. Tourists will live with the rural community Marie-Galante and enjoy the style of living, walking and kayaking along the Vieux-Fort. Les Saintes bay is one of the most stunning in the world.

The Five Major Islands Of Guadeloupe

Basse-Terre

Lorient

Basse-Terre is the highest point in the Eastern Antilles, above the other islands of Guadeloupe with its magnificent Mountains surrounded by the (sometimes) active volcano “La Soufriere”. 

Guadeloupe Basse-Terres National Park is the seventh largest park in France, covers 10% of Guadeloupe ‘s total ground mass and tens of thousands of acres of rainforest.

Gardens, waterfalls, natural swimming pools, hot springs, sulfur baths and marine reserves have been protected in Basse-Terre, including the well-known Cousteau Reserve.

The Biguine Famous Dance

The island has a popular dance  called the Biguine. It is often performed in colorful Creole clothing.

Grand Cul de Sac Beach

Best Time To visit Guadeloupe

It’s the rainy season from July to November, so expect even more rainfall, humidity and hurricane weather in the Caribbean as well. 

Guadeloupe is most visited between November and March, when the weather is dry, sunny and not too wet. There are  few showers in January, but a lot of sun and mild mornings and nights. 

Best Diving Sites And Clear Waters

Gouverneur Beach

With its sparkling blue waters, beautiful coral and  spectacular native species, Guadeloupe offers some of the best diving locations on earth.

One of the Largest Producers of Sugarcane in the World

Sugar cane is grown on the island in Marie-Galante. Their harvest takes place in January and June as carts bring the sweet sugarcane to the factory on the fields. Vintners begin to run  and the scent of sweet sugar which has been processed, overwhelms rural territories.

People and Culture

Saline Bay

The key inhabitant is Creoles, referring to people of mixed African and European ethnicity who have been raised on the islands. Black and French Amerindians are the major minorities in Guadeloupe.

During the French Revolution at the end of the eighteenth century, the Caucasian population significantly dropped; today, Caucasians constitute only a small proportion. In comparison with other West Indian islands, the demographic of Guadeloupe is small in natural growth.

The choreography, costumes and entertainment are all set for the opening of the Guadeloupe Islands annual carnival. The whole island performs the cha-cha in two months of celebrations, in the wild rhythms of drum, trumpets and other festival instruments.

Folk culture is of great importance, and on holiday it is still possible to see the vibrant tribal outfits like the traditional madras et foulard (a shawl and headdress costume composed mainly of scarves). Events include Creole music and folk dancing as well as the Beguine (rumbalike ballroom dancing), especially the annual Pre-Lent Carnival.

 In the city centers of Pointe-à-Pitre, numerous museums, such as the Schoelcher Museum, and Pointe-à-Pitre also have a center for performing arts. Throughout the islands there are many newspapers distributed.

The official language of Guadeloupe is French, spoken by almost all. However, most people can speak Guadeloupean Creole , a variety of Antillean Creole. Roman Catholics make up about 80 % of the population. Different Protestant traditions also have other major religions.



Fun Places To Visit In Guadeloupe

Explore Zoo de Guadeloupe, Basse-Terre

Zoo de Guadeloupe is a famous hilltop garden with a wildlife park on the coasts of the Rivière aux Hérbes, neighboring the Guadeloupe National Park. About 85 animal species, many of which are uncommon and endangered, are present there. 

Walking paths in the national park, where raccoons, monkeys, tortoises, parrots, and Jaguars  can be seen. One part of the park is lined by cord bridges that pass via the vegetation over the mountain with beautiful scenery.

Explore the Stunning La Pointe des Châteaux, Grande-Terre

The Pointe des Châteaux is a stunning island at Grande Terre ‘s easternmost point.  A strong and majestic remnant of the Bretagne, the windy wave-burning spot with castle-like geological formations.

From the village, a botanical road leads to a point of view between great black rocks, offering direct views to Petite-Terre, La Désirade Islands, and Marie-Galante.

Dive Into the Pristine Waters of Plage du Souffleur, Grande-Terre

The Plage of the Souffleur skirts on the coast of Port Louis, one of Grande-Terre’s most stunning beaches, a maritime small town on the north-west coast of the island. 

This scenic stretch of sandy beach and aqua water borders on water grape trees and coconut palm trees, providing many cool places to relax on your towel. 

You can find some good surf waves here according to the circumstances, and scuba diving can be fun when the water is calm. Creele snacks and drinks are sold by food carts.

Wander Through the Magnificent garden In Terre-de-Haut Island, Les Saintes

One of the key tourist hotspots of the island on the cliff top bay is the Fort Napoléon from the 17th century, with its antique museum and luxurious gardens.  The highest point in the island, Morne du Chameau, from Terre-de-Haut village takes about two hours to climb. At the other side of the bay, Ilet à Cabrit is an island where the remains of Fort Josephine from the 19th century exist.

Explore the Marie-Galante Island

Marie-Galante is a small , flat island known for its beautiful beaches and called the big pancake by its natives. The key markets are sugar and tourism and many windmills can be seen all over the island in ruins.  All sports are common, including hiking, sunbathing, surfing and local events. Established in 1839, Castle Murat was Guadeloupe ‘s largest sucre plantation and its environmental museum acknowledges the arts and culture of Marie-Galante, as well as its sugars industry background.A colonial house, a windmill house, the sugar factory ruins and a medical nursery are also on site. Feuillere Beach is one of the most scenic parts of the island’s sandy beaches.

Be Mesmerized by the National Park, Basse-Terre

The park comprises 300 km of walking routes. The crater of La Soufrière at 1,467m, and the col de la Matéliane at 1,298m. A large variety of biodiversity with 100 flowering plants and 11 baths. 

The variety of native species including black woodpecker, Lesser Antillean pew and  pearly-eyed thrasher are a favorite for birdwatchers. The Route de la Traversée is a good way to visit the park. This stunning trans-coastal freeway winds over magnificent mahogany and bamboo rain rainforest. 

The path includes lookouts, camp sites, jungle waterfalls and the staffed Maison de la Forêt roadside base. The park has been acknowledged as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

Explore La Citerne, Basse-Terre for Volcanic Activities

The Cistern belongs to the volcanic ensemble of Soufrière to the south of Basse-Terre and rises to 1155m.

 

Dive into the Immaculate beach of Saint-Anne, Grande-Terre

Sainte-Anne is an abode to over fifty exclusive beaches and lies within palm trees. It is suitable for relaxing and swimming in the shallow pristine beaches. Pick your accommodation via booking.com.  Stroll through the city and enjoy the local atmosphere and the tropical way of living for your snorkeling, sailing or relaxing on the beach.

The Marvelous Steep Cliff of Terre-de-Bas Island

A steep cliff and mini island is the perfect location if you are looking for serenity. Terre-de -Bas is a genuine rural sanctuary. The location is renowned for its craftsmanship, hiking routes, antique sculpture remains, and the manufacture of the Salako chaffs. Both on foot or by the monorail, enjoy a magnificent and memorable visit to the main villages.

Explore the Jacques Cousteau’s Underwater Reserve

The water around the Pigeon island near Basse-Terre includes Jacques Cousteau, a regulated underwater reserve area, one of the best underwater reserve dive areas in the world. As a rookie or a skilled diver, you cannot skip the sub-aquatic scenery. 

Appreciate the sensitive environment and scuba gear along the ocean floors or dive for some unforgettable experiences with marine creatures.

Dishes You Should Try on Your Holiday in Guadeloupe

The food scene in Guadeloupe is one of its greatest assets, rising as the culinary hub of the Caribbean. Local restaurants delight diners not only with their ingredients, but also with their presentation with a mix of African, French and Indian influences. 

Meals continue with a ti ‘punch, a traditional stiff beverage made from white rhum, lime juice and sugar. Snack with delicious accras de morue (cod fritters) or boudin créole (black pudding) and neutralize the shake.  Colombo (affected by Sri Lankan curry-like stuff with chicken) and seafood made from lobster-mans to crayfish and filled crabs are popular intakes.

Best Restaurants To Visit

Restaurant Grand Voile

La Playa, Marie-Galante

Le Génois, Les Saintes

Restaurant Le Plato Kreyol,Pointe-À-Pitre

Restaurant Mambo,Basse-Terre

Top Choices For Accommodation in Guadeloupe

Book the best accommodation

Anything you seek, Whoever you are, we have  the perfect place for you at Booking.com. Here are nice accommodation locations in Guadeloupe for your consideration.

Terrathely 

Villas Et Chambres D’hôtes Chez Flo 

au bout du rêve 

Eden Green

La Toubana Hotel & Spa

Habitation Capado

Residence Hôteliere Hurlevent

Coco D’Iles 

Résidence Caraibes Bonheur 

Le Domharry

 

How To Get Around Guadeloupe

A bus service is available in the islands, but it may be a little confusing when and how often the bus arrives. There are several local vehicle hire companies at the airport. It is best to rent a car. Roads are usually quite good, although on the Basse-Terre they may be hilly. 

Ferries to the other islands from Pointe Pitre and Trois Rivires to Les Saintes, from  Pointe-à-Pitre to Marie Galante and Saint Franois to La Dsirade and Saint Franois will take you to the other islands.

Guadeloupe offers frequent air and sea links to North America and France.   East of the Pointe-à-Pitre is the Guadeloupe International Airport. The smaller Islands include Marie-Galante and La Désirade airports. 

Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre are also linked by community ferry to the other Guadeloupe Islands. There is an outstanding road network on the major islands. There have been no railways in Guadeloupe, except a few individual plantation tracks.

Click here to see more accommodations at Guadeloupe

Travel Tips

When entering a venue, Guadeloupeans welcome others and respond in kind. Sainte-Anne is a perfect midday beach vacation, and the weekend even better is when barbeque conch slices on banana leaves are sold at the roadside stalls. 

On the way to the famous sight of Pointe des Châteaux, a small golden sand beach is known to stop in the Douche (The Shower). The sea crashes hard against the rocks to surge up in the air, producing a refreshing mist that falls on you like raindrops 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The region consists of five populated islands, Grand-terre  Basse-Terre, Marie-Galante, La Désirade and Saintes Islands. There are several uninhabited islands and mountain ranges.

The colonial history of Guadeloupe began in 1493 when Columbus set foot upon the island for the first time.  It was transferred from indigenous Arawaks to Carib Indians, and then was brought to Spanish. The French claimed Guadeloupe as a colony officially  in 1635 after killing the indigenes. 

The island ‘s popular dance is called the biguine,  displayed in glamorous Creole attire.

 

The best season to visit Guadeloupe, when the weather is mild and dry, will be between December and May. Most of the months, particularly between July and November, are typically hot, moist and rainy.