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Introducing Guadeloupe
News Source/Courtesy: www.wordtravels.com

Courtesy/News Source: wordtravels.com

Coastal scenery, Guadeloupe © J Armand

The islands of Guadeloupe are radiant gems of the Caribbean, offering travellers a unique combination of Creole culture, incredible beaches, and simply fantastic French food. Guadeloupe is shaped rather like a butterfly, with Basse-Terre and Grand Terre as each of its wings. Better developed Grand Terre has exceptional beach towns and plenty of fun nightlife along its shores. Basse Terre is more wild, home to Parc National de la Guadeloupe and topped by the spectacular La Soufriere volcano.

First discovered by Columbus in 1493, the islands were known to the local Caribs as Karukera: 'the islands of beautiful waters'. In the 20th century Guadeloupe become an overseas department of France, enjoying French protection and economic support. Guadeloupe is less well known than Antigua, its neighbour to the north, so it enjoys a somewhat laid-back atmosphere and less developed infrastructure by comparison. The beaches are quite magnificent and remain the main draw card for the steady stream of tourists, the majority of whom are French. Unusually for a tropical island, there are many other attractions such as tropical forests, towering waterfalls and a hard-hitting museum of slavery. The diving is also excellent, particularly on the 15 mile (25km) long coral wall of Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin just off the coast of Grand Terre.

Getting around the islands is a breeze, with a decent public bus network and plenty of bicycle rental spots presenting better options than the rather expensive taxis.

The Basics

Time

GMT -4

Electricity

Electrical current in Guadeloupe is 230 volts, 50Hz. Two-pin plugs are most commonly in use.

Language

French is the official language of Guadeloupe.

Travel Health

Guadeloupe has good medical facilities, although not all doctors speak English. A vaccination is recommended for hepatitis A. Yellow fever vaccinations are required for those arriving from infected areas. Guadeloup was a Zika virus high-risk area, though there is currently no evidence of ongoing transmission. Still, risk may exist. Pregnant women should avoid visiting the island, and other travellers should take extra care to protect themselves against mosquitos.

Local Customs

Guadeloupean society is famously welcoming and friendly, with a high emphasis placed on convivial social interactions between men and women. Social mores and etiquette in Guadeloupe reflect its colonial history (indeed, it is still subject to French Law). However, gender roles are perhaps more traditional than in European societies, with the bywords 'reputation' (for men) and 'respect' (for women) often being invoked.

Communications

The international dialling code for Guadeloupe is +590.

Duty Free

Visitors to Guadeloupe over the age of 17 may import up to 200 cigarettes/50 cigars/100cigarillos/250g of tobacco, and one litre of spirits up to 22%/four litres of wine. Plants and flowers are prohibited.

The Pointe-à-Pitre Le Raizet (Guadeloupe Pôle Caraïbes) International Airport (PTP)

Location

Pointe-a-Pitre International Airport is located on the island of Grande-Terre, just two miles (3km) north of the city Pointe-a-Pitre.

Getting to the city

Renting a vehicle is highly recommended, as public transport is very unreliable. Reputable hotels in the area may offer shuttle transfers. Cabs are also available from the airport.

Time

Local time is GMT -4

see full airport guide

Pointe-a-Pitre International Airport Taxis: the ta

The weather in Guadeloupe is generally lovely year-round, with average temperatures ranging between 67°F (19°C) and 88°F (31°C) throughout the year. The only possible drawback is the potential for hurricanes and tropical storms: the rainy season runs from June to November, with hurricanes possible between June and September, and most likely in September. The best time to visit is from December to May, when it is warm and dry.

Money

As part of France and the European Union, the official currency of Guadeloupe is the Euro (EUR).

Entry requirements for Americans

US citizens must have a passport that is valid for the duration of their stay in Guadeloupe. No visa is required for touristic stays of up to 90 days.

Entry requirements for UK nationals

British citizens must have a passport that is valid for the duration of their stay in Guadeloupe. No visa is required for British passports endorsed British Citizen, and no visa is required for British passports carrying any other endorsement for touristic stays of up to 90 days.

Entry requirements for Canada

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for the duration of their stay in Guadeloupe. No visa is required for touristic stays of up to 90 days.

Entry requirements for Australians

Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid for the duration of their intended stay in Guadeloupe. No visa is required for touristic stays of up to 90 days.

Entry requirements for South Africans

South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for the duration of their intended stay in Guadeloupe. A schengen visa is required.

Entry requirements for New Zealanders

New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid for the duration of their intended stay in Guadeloupe. No visa is required for touristic stays of up to 90 days.

Entry requirements for Irish nationals

Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid for the duration of their intended stay in Guadeloupe. No visa is required.

Passport/Visa Note

All foreign passengers to Guadeloupe must hold a return or onward ticket, and the necessary travel documentation for their next destination. Note that a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required to enter Guadeloupe, if arriving in the country within six days of leaving or transiting through an infected area. It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Note: Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travellers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate.

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