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Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe
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Guadeloupe is an insular region of France which consists of six islands on the east of the Caribbean sea in West Indies. It shares its maritime borders with Montserrat, the Dominican Republic and Antigua and Barbuda. The administrative center is the city of Basse-Terre.

The climate in Guadeloupe is tropical with trade winds. The wet season lasts from July to November and we do not recommend coming to the country during this time because of frequent tropical cyclones.

French is the official language in the country but people can also speak English and Creole. The majority of the population are the Catholics.

The tourists come to Guadeloupe to spend time on the white sand beaches of the Grande-Terre Island which is famous for its first-class hotels and well-developed infrastructure. Shopping and entertainments are available in Pointe-a-Pitre and in the capital city. In the port city Saint Francois, yacht sailing tours are arranged for the tourists. 

The second largest island Basse-Terre is the main destination for divers as there is one of the best places in the world for diving, namely Jacques Cousteau’s Underwater Reserve. The national park on the island attracts the lovers of ecological tourism and all those who love nature. The southern coast of Marie-Galante Island is also a very good place for diving and snorkeling. This resort is for people who prefer to stay away from the noise.

One can get acquainted with the everyday life of the locals in the Beausejour village which is in the Desirade Island. On this island, the tourists can escape from everyone on secluded beaches.

If you look for privacy, choose a small island Terre-de-Bas and if you want to have a really good food, go to the restaurants on the Terre-de-Haut Island. 

Get in

By Plane

There are no direct flights between Guadeloupe and CIS countries. The travelers will have to take a transit flight with one or two stops. Aeroflot and Cubana offer the most convenient flight from Moscow with a stop in Havana. Air France and UIA offer flights from Kiev to Pointe-a-Pitre with a stop in Nice and in Paris. Lufthansa, British Airways, and Air France fly from Belarus.

There are direct flights only from France with Corsair, Air Caraibes and Air France. The citizens of other European countries have to take transit flights.

By Sea

One can get to Guadeloupe by sea from Dominica, the Martinique Island and Saint Lucia by a speed boat. 

Visa

The citizens of the European Union can stay in Guadeloupe for 90 days visa-free.

The tourists from CIS countries must obtain a visa in French Embassies or visa centers. A person must submit all the documents for a visa personally. The minimal period for processing the documents is 10 working days. A visa is valid from 1 to 90 days depending on its type.

Those tourists from CIS countries who have a French Schengen visa which is valid for at least 90 days can travel to Guadeloupe without obtaining any additional permit. 

Customs

In Guadeloupe, there are no restrictions concerning import and export of national and foreign currency. The sums exceeding 7.000 Euros must be declared. The reverse exchange of the currency must not exceed 500 Euros. 

The tourists can bring in Guadeloupe duty-free the following goods:

  • a small amount of cigarettes and alcohol;
  • personal belongings, perfume, clothes;
  • a certain amount of foods with expiration dates;
  • a certain amount of coffee and tea.

It is prohibited to bring in Guadeloupe:

  • medications without a doctor’s prescription or notary certification;
  • pets without a vet certificate in French issued not earlier than 5 days before crossing the border.

It’s not allowed to export:

  • items having a historical and cultural value;
  • rare species of flora and fauna. 

Cuisine

Despite the fact that the cuisine of Guadeloupe was under a great influence of French cooking traditions, it still preserved its authenticity and unique ways of cooking. The staple food is vegetables, rice, potatoes, fruits and seafood.

Meat is not very popular in Guadeloupe but the tourists can try local black pudding (blood sausage) Budin, roasted pigeon and stewed rabbit.

Seafood is used in very many local dishes and as is known seafood is rich in useful microelements. Thus is good news for those who try to stick to a healthy diet. The tourists can try a fish casserole La Creole, a dish with boiled octopus meat Chatrou, stewed crab Matutu de crabes and delicacies from crawfish, lobsters, sea-urchin, turtles and clams.  

Treat yourself to Callaloo soup with bacon, spinach and the greens, Blaff soup with seafood and Bebele soup with giblets.

The main dishes are usually served with casava, pineapples, ocra and feijoa.

The most popular desserts are fruits and fruit jams and a cake Tourment d’Amour.

If you need to cool down and quench your thirst, try the drinks from guava, sugar cane, tangerine and paw paw.  The meal is usually followed by coffee and tea. In Guadeloupe, you have a chance to try French wines, locally produced rum and punch.  

Money

As on the entire territory of the European Union, the national currency in Guadeloupe is Euro which is equal to 100 cents. The bank notes from 5 to 500 Euros and coins from 50 to 1 cent are in circulation.

On the resorts, US dollars are accepted almost everywhere.

The tourists can exchange currency at banks, in exchange offices and in hotels. The banks offer the best exchange rate. We strongly recommend you against dealing with the locals to exchange currency.

Cashless payment is available only in some restaurants, stores and hotels. Learn about it beforehand.

The traveler’s checks are not widely accepted. It is preferable to have checks in US dollars or in Euro. Some shops give a 20% discount if you pay with traveler’s check. 

The tourists can refund VAT at the Customs checkpoint if the total sum of the purchase is 185 Euros and over; and you need to have a sales receipt. Vat is not charged in the shops on the Saint-Barthélemy Island.

There is a great risk of robbery in Guadeloupe, so don’t leave your belongings unattended. 

Details of interest

Sightseeing in Guadeloupe

In Guadeloupe, there is a place which is under UNESCO protection. This is the Guadeloupe National Park on the Basse-Terre Island. This biosphere reserve attracts all the lovers of wild nature. The territory of the park covers both land and water areas which are critically important for preserving the natural landscape and for saving rare animals. Among the most popular sights in this reserve are the Carbet Falls, Soufrière  volcano and De Mamelles Park. The Grand Cul de Sac Marin Nature Reserve in the northern part of the Sale river also makes up the territory of the National Park. The tourists can go hiking to the mangroves and wet meadows Grand Cul-de-sac Marin. In the reserve, one can find fresh-water marshes, coral reefs and seaweed colonies.

Learn more about the island visiting the Edgar-Clerc museum of pre-colonial culture, Pointe-a-Pitre Slavery Memorial and Rum Museum in Sainte-Rose.

If you spend your holidays on the St. Barths, visit the sights of the administrative center, the city of Gustavia, namely Morne du Vitet point and  Marie-de-Saint-Barthelemy cathedral. On the Basse-Terre visit the Zoological and Botanical Park.

If you are looking for something unusual, head right to the Hell Gate hills. The sea in this place always looks as though boiling due to the power with which the water flows into a narrow strait. You will find this unique place on the Grande-Terre Island.

In a small city of Grand-Bourg on the Marie-Galante Island, there is the Notre-Dame-de-Marie-Galante church and not far from the city is the Chateau Murat sugar plantation.

In the French part of the Saint Martin Island, the travelers can enjoy the calmness and fuss free living of the small fishing villages Orlean and Gran Kaz. Anyone can visit the local butterfly farm, have a walk along the green valley Colombier and climb the highest peak in this area the Paradise Peak.

On the island Terre-de-Haut, visit a complex of fortifications Fort Napoleon.

Souvenirs in Guadeloupe

  • national hand-made clothes;
  • local rum;
  • herbs and spices;
  • sea shell jewelry.