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Guadeloupe spreads its tropical butterfly wings in shimmering colours, declining the expanses of blue and green punctuated by the sinuous lines of the white beaches... Here is the scenery planted upon your arrival at Pointe-à-Pitre Airport! Guadeloupe, a French overseas territory, is an archipelago in the West Indies located south of the Caribbean Sea. Its two largest islands, Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre, separated by the Salt River, each evoke a butterfly wing, hence the nickname of the archipelago. The hilly island of Grande-Terre has long beaches and vast sugar cane fields from which rum is produced. On the island of Basse-Terre, nature lovers enjoy a visit to the Guadeloupe National Park with its Carbet Falls and the Great Soufrière volcano. In addition, there are the small islands, including Marie-Galante, Désirade and Les Saintes. Guadeloupe thus invites you to enjoy the pleasures of the seaside, to discover the natural riches of the land and sea, such as the Cousteau reserve, but also to discover a traditional culture rich in colour. For the history of Guadeloupe, its folklore and delicious cuisine, consult your Guadeloupe guide.
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When to go Guadeloupe ?
The period from December to April is the most popular, and therefore most expensive, high tourist season, when reservations must be made well in advance. The end-of-year holiday season is accompanied by a peak in both attendance and fares. Between April and November, the number of visitors decreases and so do the prices. It's the low season. The summer months (July and August) are a special time in the West Indies. It is the summer holidays and the West Indies of the metropolis return home, the Martiniquans come on holiday to Guadeloupe and vice versa, which makes it an intermediate season. The prices of tourist services, car rentals are rising slightly and airline tickets are expensive, even very expensive, at least if you do it at the last minute. And if you plan your stay between June and September, you will have the added bonus of attending a very festive, popular and colourful parish festival every Sunday.Read more
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Covid-19 : current situation GuadeloupeDue to the Covid-19 pandemic, entry and travel restrictions may apply Guadeloupe. Remember to visit the site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before you leave for the latest information
By choosing Guadeloupe as your destination, you will have the opportunity to multiply your experiences as you explore while remaining on French territory. After about 8 hours of flight from Paris and a time difference of 5 or 6 hours depending on the season, a change of scenery is offered to you wherever you stay. Plan your activities taking into account the distances you will have to cover, as the 1,436 km2 that make up mainland Guadeloupe (1,702 km2 for the whole archipelago) are full of natural or heritage sites and museums. It is now up to you to set your priorities according to your expectations and the length of your stay, the ideal duration being 12 to 14 days to enjoy all these wonders. So, if you have the time and opportunity, don't hesitate to plan a visit to at least one of the islands in the archipelago (Les Saintes, La Désirade, Marie-Galante and Petite Terre).
Discovery of Guadeloupe in 7 days
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Two weeks in the butterfly archipelago
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Guadeloupe : the big tour
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How to go Guadeloupe
How to go alone
Don't worry about going alone. Small budgets will find accommodation everywhere (youth hostels, homestays, bungalows...) at low prices. Some accommodations offer car rentals at attractive prices. On the catering side, you will find takeaway dishes and sandwiches, bokits, local dishes... During the off-season, many natural sites are accessible free of charge or at reduced rates. Travel from one end of the archipelago to the other to enjoy the different sites.
How to go on a tour
Guadeloupe is widely offered by tour operators. Several formulas in their catalogue, from a simple seaside holiday to a tour with discovery of national parks, hikes and visits to original sites and enjoyable activities around gastronomy, for example. Family stays are also available, which are interesting at all levels with tree climbing and swimming in the waterfalls.
How to get around
Maritime shuttles connect the islands. Combine business with pleasure, by visiting the islands and islets of the archipelago during a day cruise aboard a catamaran. On the agenda: sailing, swimming, meals on board or in a restaurant on the island... In general, buses operate from 5:30 am to 8 pm, Monday to Friday. Grande-Terre is better served than Basse-Terre. Guadeloupe has a fairly good road network but driving is not easy, especially at night!
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Each visitor will find an activity to his liking, whatever he wishes, between blue leisure activities, land activities, air sports, memorial and heritage sites, activities dedicated to night owls, without forgetting a very warm and mixed population, just like its cuisine with its multiple flavours... The archipelago, made up of islands and islets with contrasting landscapes, some of which are uninhabited, is home to a population with its own identity. A specificity directly linked to the history of the West Indies that we will help you discover through this guide. Its natural sites, between steep limestone cliffs, idyllic beaches whose sand color will surprise you, hot springs, a volcano, breathtaking waterfalls, a mangrove with a surprising ecosystem, a rainforest with exceptional flora and fauna... So many assets that will not leave you unmoved.
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The 12 keywords Guadeloupe
This is the event that brings together the crowds every year. It begins on the first Sunday of January and ends on Ash Wednesday in a climax, with the "Vaval brulé" which marks the end of the festivities. The carnival gives rise to colourful parades in different communes of the archipelago with particularities depending on the day
Several Creole languages exist and Guadeloupe has its own. More than a simple regional language used in daily life, Creole, with its Spanish, English and French sounds, was invented by slaves, with their various dialects, to understand each other. Creole, originally an oral language, does not know how to address each other and does not know gender.
If you see a property surrounded by candles, it means that there is a mourning in the house. On All Saints' Day, the cemeteries are lit up with candles (don't miss the one in Morne à l'eau), and families come in the evening to mourn their dead in a friendly atmosphere, far from the sad atmosphere in France.
The game of dominoes is played a lot. It is common to see Guadeloupeans playing on the terrace of a lolo (a small local grocery store where you can drink rum). The particularity of this game is that it is not played in silence; on the contrary, it is a question of impressing one's opponents by noisily placing dominoes on the table.
Party time is not just a formula here. There is always an occasion to have fun, put on some music and dance a little. As a proof, to the eleven public holidays recognized in metropolitan France are added nine days off in Guadeloupe. The main event of the festival is the carnival which, every year, brings together the whole population
Karukera, which means "the island of beautiful waters", is the name given to the island by its first inhabitants, the Caribs, referring to its many rivers, waterfalls and hot pools. The island was then named Santa Maria de Guadelupe by Christopher Columbus. A name that was later Frenchified to become Guadeloupe.
These small traditional shops are generally installed in creole huts. They are still very present despite the establishment of local shops. The "lolos" are used as food shops, refreshment stands, and even as a restaurant for some of them, and above all, still today, as a social link
This small freshwater crustacean, with claws, the size of a crayfish, is a treat for the taste buds. Until a few years ago, it was the guest of honour at festive meals. Unfortunately, it is no longer found in the rivers of the archipelago. An aquaculture park located in Pointe Noire has hatcheries to safeguard the species.
The population benefits from a double identity, both West Indian and French, because the history of Guadeloupe has generated a mix of mentalities, faces, cultures and religions that make its charm today. The gentle way of life of its inhabitants can be perceived as nonchalance and can be difficult to understand
It must be admitted that Guadeloupe owes its reputation in part to the quality of its rums. This drink, specific to each of its distilleries and sublimated by the tropical climate, comes from the local soil with fertile volcanic soils. It is associated with traditions, manufacturing techniques and undoubtedly with the history of the archipelago
Creole cuisine is a reflection of the West Indies, mixed, fragrant and tasty. Its secret lies in the preparation of the marinade and the use of spices. Some products were already used by the Amerindians (annatto), others were imported to feed the slaves (roots), others by the Indian indentured servants (curry)
12. Creole Villas
If the concrete house, popular for its resistance to hurricanes, has long supplanted the traditional Creole house, the latter, better adapted to the climate, is coming back in force: it is equipped with openings allowing better ventilation to limit the use of air conditioning and a large terrace, a living room in its own right.
You are from here, if...
You follow the cycle of the sun; and you get up early, because night falls at 6pm
Despite an early suns et, you don't have to live each day in a frantic way. Guadeloupeans have adopted a stress-free lifestyle. Punctuality is not a priority
When you say "see you tomorrow" , you are usually told "God willing", because the population is very pious and trusts God for its destiny. This philosophy is felt even in mourning, because here, death is approached in a special way, with acceptance. The period of All Saints' Day is the most significant, with its cemeteries cleaned and lit with candles in the evening. Families come to gather in a friendly atmosphere.
You take advantage of every moment of life and dance as soon as you hear your favorite music, between zouk, biguine, Gwo ka...