Guadeloupe is an island group or archipelago located in the eastern Caribbean Sea, with a land area of 1,628 square kilometres and a population of 403,750. It is an overseas department of France located in the Leeward Islands. As with the other overseas departments, Guadeloupe is also one of the twenty-six regions of France and an integral part of the Republic. Guadeloupe is part of the European Union hence, its currency is the euro. Guadeloupe‘s two main islands are the capital Basse-Terre to the west and Grande-Terre to the east, which are separated by a narrow strait that is crossed with bridges.
Smaller islands like Marie-Galante, La Desirade, and the Iles des Saintes are also included in Guadeloupe‘s department. A fascinating archipelago of islands, Guadeloupe has to offer something different to travelers on each island while retaining its Franco-Caribbean culture and identity. Guadeloupe’s two main islands look like the wings of a butterfly.
Grande-Terre, the eastern of the two islands, has a chain of beach towns that offer visitors marvelous stretches of sand to laze on and plenty of activities, while mountainous Basse-Terre, the western of the two is crowned by the spectacular La Soufriere volcano. South of the mainland of Guadeloupe are a number of small islands that give a taste of Guadeloupe‘s paradise.
Guadeloupe is part of the Leeward Islands, but stands out from the crowd because of its butterfly shape. The eastern wing, Grand-Terre, features Pointe-à-Pitre, the island’s biggest city and center of tourism. The western wing, called Basse-Terre, is less developed and dominated by a national park. A narrow channel called the Salt River separates the two halves of the island.
There are rolling fields of sugarcane and buzzing rainforests which many rare and colorful animals call home. Snorkelers and divers will be captivated by the variety of marine and coral life in the pristine azure waters that surround the islands. Foodies will delight in the delicious and distinctive cuisine, which blends French and Creole influences. On the quieter nearby islands, many of the inhabitants still wear traditional Creole dress. The mix of African, European, and East Indian cultures makes for a melting pot of charm and excitement.
Weather and the seasons:
Average temperatures on Guadeloupe hover around 74 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter months and 87 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer. Temperatures can drop to between 66 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit after the sun goes down and will vary among different regions.
The nearly perfect sunny weather is moderated by northeastern trade winds, which bring refreshing breezes to the islands, making these French Caribbean islands feel like a little piece of heaven for your tropical getaway.
Seasons in Guadeloupe are not distinguished so much by temperature as they are by rainfall. The islands that make up the country of Guadeloupe experience two different seasons: wet and dry. July through November is the wettest and most humid time of year. The cyclone season officially begins on July 1st and ends on November 30th.
December through May is considered the dry season, and the month of March even averages 0 inches of rain. Still unexpected rain showers can happen any time of year in Guadeloupe. For the most part, showers are short lived and give way to sunshine within a few minutes. Expect to find more rainfall, along with cooler air temperatures, in rainforests and areas with higher elevations.
Sample Itinerary – we will be developing ours as we move forward as discussed.
DAY 1 : Embark at Marina Bas du Fort in Pointe-a-Pitre
DAY 2 : Enjoy a short sail across to Ilet a Gosier (3 miles), a tiny wooded island suffounded by reefs and white sandy beaches.
DAY 3 : Marie-Galante (19 miles). the anchorages are all along the west coast, the nicest being Saint Louis. Ashore you’ find an authentic Caribbean life style, white sandy beaches and lagoons protected by coral reefs. Visit the Grande Anse refinery and taste the world’s best rum.
DAY 4 : Portsmouth, Dominica (25 miles). Discover this magical, unspoilt island. Tour the Indian River.
DAY 5 : Sail to Les Saintes (18 miles). Terre de Haut lies in a beautiful bay. Explore the island and visit Fort Napoleon.
DAY 6 : Choose one of the many anchorages on Basse Terre: Anse à la Barque, Rivière Sens, Trois Rivières, Goyave… or visit the Cousteau Marine Park.
DAY 7 : Return to Marina Bas du Fort in Pointe-a-Pitre.
Discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493, this charming butterfly-shaped island is now a French overseas departement. The French influence is unmistakable and the smell of fresh croissants and pastries mixes everywhere with the spicy aromas of West Indian cooking in restaurants and charming bistros
The two halves of the island, Grand Terre in the east and Basse Terre in the west are separated by a narrow sea channel, “La Riviere Salee”. The island is covered in tropical forests, cleared in places for banana, pineapple and sugar plantations.
Guadeloupe itself has many harbours and secluded anchorages all around the coast and you’ll find gorgeous bays on the islands to the south, all less than 3 hours sailing away, Les Saintes, La Desirade, Petite Terre, Marie Galante. The snorkelling and diving is superb in the whole area.
Les Saintes is a chain of little islands just 6nm south of Guadeloupe. Terre-de-Haut is renowned for its gorgeous bay with clear, turquoise waters, its spectacular sugarloaf mountain, its charming village with quiet roads lined with cute cottages. Visit the Napoleon Fort with its museum and exotic garden. The island’s restaurants are stocked with fresh produce on a daily basis and offer tasty tropical cuisine. Terre-de-Bas has a beautiful beach at Grande-Anse and a tiny village at Petite-Anse.
The three distilleries on Marie Galante produce some of the best rum in the world. Learn how sugar cane is made into the Caribbean’s favourite drink at the Bellevue Distillery. The visit ends with a chance to sample some of the rum. Everywhere in Guadeloupe you will taste delicious rum cocktails, including the local favourite, “Ti-punch”
The Guadeloupe islands are outstanding for diving. Nearly every kind of coral fish can be found here, around many well-known spots. On Basse-Terre, Bouillante is the dive capital and the nearby the Cousteau nature reserve should not be missed. Les Saintes and Marie-Galante also have excellent dive sites.
No restrictions for French citizens with an ID-card or a valid passport.
Tourists from the EU, the USA, Canada, Switzerland, and Norway need a valid passport for stays up to 3 months.
To be sure – contact your various banking institutions to ensure that you can use what ever credit cards you plan to based upon the islands you intend to visit and to check for foreign transaction fees.
Currency: Euro. Most banks and bank machines accept most international credit cards.
Credit Cards: Welcomed almsot everywhere; Best Card is VISA.
Checks: Traveller Checks are accepted. Bring cash for small expenses.
Tel: +590 (0) 5 90 22 19 30
Mob: +590 (0)6 90 81 81 68
Getting There International flights 3 Companies offer direct flights from France (Air France – Air Caraïbes – Corsair) Other companies (Air Canada, American Eagle).
It can be organized by the base (Prices listed in Guadeloupe rates / 20-30 mn between airport & base.) Max Taxi: 06 90 35 96 50 or Taxi at the airport.
Commercial Centers Supermarket on the Marina, as indicated on following map. Dream Yacht can take care of your provisioning. Please send back the provisioning list available on the web site and provisioning will be on board at your embarkation.
Accepted Credit Cards/Accepted Currencies Master & Visa are accepted. On Anglophone islands; euros et US$ accepted.
Telephone: Talk to your carrier to ensure service when possible – reception can be surprisingly good at times.
Call from Guadeloupe to France: You just need to dial the number of your contact (home or cellular). There are no special numbers to add.
Call from France to Guadeloupe: You dial the 10 figures of your contact 0590 xx xx xx ou 0690 xx xx xx.
Call from abroad: you have to add international code 590 for home phones +590 590 xx xx xx or for cell phones +590 690 xx xx xx.
Things to Know
Only soft bags – No suite case (rigid suite cases are too cumbersome).
“The days pass happily with me wherever my ship sails.”