The guide for your holidays in Guadeloupe versione italiana english version


What's Guadeloupe like


The islands of Guadeloupe


Les Saintes

Marie Galante

La Désirade


Getting to and around


Useful Info


Where to stay


Restaurants and Bars


Activities and sport



Printable Guide


Discount Vouchers


Useful Links


guadalupa - guadeloupe

guadalupa - guadeloupe

guadalupa - guadeloupe

iguana guadeloupe


Guadeloupe is part of the small Antilles archipelago, an arch of islands which stretch from Anguilla in the north, to Grenada in the south, with a total distance of 850km. Like its neighbouring islands in the Caribbean it boasts the sea, palm lined beaches, tropical forests, plus volcanic soil, a rich colonial history, Creole traditions and culture, sugar cane plantations and rum distilleries. Every one of its islands has its own particular identity, explore each section dedicated to each island to find out.
Sea and beaches

Find a beach in Guadeloupe and voilà the Caribbean sea ! Guadeloupe has a vast variety of beaches lapped by the sea, which is a nearly constant minimum of 28 all year round. They vary from the wild ocean lapped beaches of the Atlantic, to the soft palm tree lined beaches of the Caribbean sea.


ste anne beach guadeloupe


In the north of Basse-Terre, between Sainte Rose & Pointe Noire, you can find large white sanded bays, some almost rose in colour, which lead onto the Caribbean sea. Be careful as they can sometimes be a little dangerous due to changing currents.

In the south of Basse-Terre, between Bouillante and Petit Bourg, you can find grey and black volcanic beaches. In the south of Grande-Terre, between Gosier and La Moule is where you will find the white sands and crystalline waters. In Les Saintes and Marie Galante you will find some of the most beautiful beaches on the archipelago. Other beaches worth note can be found at Souffleur and La Desirade, on the island of Petite Terre, between La Desirade and Marie Galante. They are often equipped and often with an abundance of coco palms, almond trees and sea-grapes bordering the sea line. It is not uncommon to find machaneel trees too, be careful as they are toxic.


Parks and Nature reserves

The national park of Guadeloupe was founded in 1989, of which its 17300 hectors cover 40% of Basse-Terre.
With 200km of pathways, which includes 300 species of trees and shrubs, 270 species of ferns, several hundreds of types of orchids, several species of birds and bats.


parks and natural reserves in guadeloupe


About half way on the Route de la Traversée, you will get to the Maison de la Foret, or, 'house in the forest,' a starting point from which to explore the forest.
The nature reserve of Grande Cul de Sac Marine, founded in 1987, covers diverse marine zones along the coast of Basse-Terre and Grand-Terre, including the islands of Petit-Terre and the south east of Saint Francois. The reserve of 'Cousteau' around the islands of Ilets Pigeons and the protected marine zone, but the reserve has still not gained the status of a nature reserve.


Geography and landscapes

7000 km from Paris, between the tropic of Cancer and the equator, 16 latitude north, 62 longitude west, where the length of night and day are almost even, with sunrise between 5.30 & 6.30 and sunset between 17.30 & 18.30, depending on the season.
panorama guadeloupeThe island of Guadeloupe is 1433km2 in size; It is also called the, 'butterfly island,' as it takes the form of one, if seen from above, as it is divided in two by a narrow stretch of water. In the east is Grande Terre, mostly flat, (135m above sea level at its highest.) It is made of a coral base, with rolling hills, (Mournes which are with out waterways.) It is mostly dry and cultivated by sugar cane in the north. Basse Terre is mountainous and volcanic in the west. It is green & lush, with its highest point reaching 1467m on the volcanoes peak at La Soufriere. Marie Galante is approximately 60km from main land Guadeloupe and nearly circular, with a diameter of about 15km. It is similar to the north of Grand Terre, as in flat, dry and breezy, cultivated again with sugar cane. Les Saintes, proximately 15km of the coast of mainland Guadeloupe, is divided into Terre de Haut and Terre de Bas. The first part is a succession of plains, low steep hills and tropical bays with white sands. The second is made up of rocky outcrops which drop down to the sea with very little access to the waters edge. La Desirade resembles a large rock, 11km long and 2km wide. It is dry and battered by the Atlantic ocean. Pointe a Pitre on Grande-Terre is the economical capital. The city of Basse-Terre is its capital.


Flora and fauna

Apart from the important seaside areas, dive spots, beaches and coastlines, 60 percent of Basse-Terre is covered by tropical forest. The mesophilic forest reaches up to 500 meters above the sea line and is that which was has been, by the most part, that which is mostly negatively affected by man. Large parts have been cleared to make way for coffee and banana plantations; it is made up mostly of mahogany & rosewood trees etc. The rain forest stretches between 300 and 100 meters above sea level, its green carpet is made up of ferns, lianas, vines and other entangling green fauna. Above 1000 m the vegetation changes and is often covered by cloud cover and battered by the winds.


nature guadeloupe


Grand-Terre and Marie Galante has a dryer landscape, with mostly shrubs and trees. Local pear trees and rubber trees being the predominant. Along the coast line you will find cactuses and agaves. Many of the species in Guadeloupe where in introduced by man, including coco palms and the beautiful flamboyant s, originating from Madagascar, which become an explosion of reds, between the months of May and August. The list of imports include the voyager palm. Bougainvillea plants colour the island. Fromager trees are also widespread, renowned for their medicinal properties and often found standing majestically in the grass lands with their long straight branches.


iguana guadeloupe


Most of the native animal species have disappeared, such as purple aras, pink flamingos and manatees, (Large, herbivore, aquatic river mammals.) Today you can find 4 land mammals, various rodents, included in which rats & mice, the raccoon, which was imported in the 19th century from the United States, which today are a protected species and the Mongoose which was imported from India in the 19th century to fight off the rats infesting the sugar cane plantations, but which unfortunately considerably reduced the number of birds, reptiles & turtles as a consequence. Bats are an important mammal on the island, where you can find 13 different species, two of which are only found in Guadeloupe. The last of the mammals to note is also protected and seen, but rarely in Desirade and in the north of Basse-Terre the agouti, a small nocturnal rodent. Seasonal, migratory or non migratory, Guadeloupe hosts many species of birds. In the gardens you will often see, many types of hummingbirds, sugar birds and marlins. In the forest you can find several thrushes and to note, the Guadeloupe woodpecker. Along the coastal areas keep an eye out for different types of waders, white egrets, herons, osprey (gly-gly), frigates, and various types of terns and gulls.
Among the reptiles, watch out for the chameleons, iguanas, the gecko (Mabouya), turtles, frogs and toads, including the toad-buffalo. There are no snakes.

Culture and people



Creoles are the local people and Creole is the local culture. Creole is born from a fusion between different Caribbean elements, Europeans, Africans and Asians.
Many local habits, both culinary and artisanal descend from the patrimony of its antique archipelago inhabitants, the Caribs, an Amerindian population which disappeared with colonisation.
The population of Guadeloupe in over 420000 inhabitants, which are made up mostly of an afro and mestizo race, descendents of African slaves and Indians who where employed as a cheap work force after the abolition of slavery. The Beke are descendents- of the French colonialists. The Lebanese and Syrians arrived after the first world war and installed themselves in the industry s of commerce. There are also many 'French Europeans from the mainland or 'Metropole.'



Traditions and beliefs

 carnival guadeloupe

Once Guadeloupe became directed towards modern times, it become part of the mainstream European flow as regards to habitual practises and this had filtered into everyday life. Cock fighting and the antique tradition of the tug of war are still traditions very much alive though and a chance for the local population to celebrate. Christmas is celebrated vivaciously and sees many a large family gathering. Unique Christmas culinary traditions of which a speciality is the 'Boudin Creole,' Christmas ham and coconut sweetmeats. The 'Petis metiers, ' or little jobs are still pat of everyday life too, with sellers of sorbet, sweetmeats, bokits, 'A type of sweetbread sandwich,) and roasted peanuts, being a frequently common sight.
Belief is also still very much alive in Guadeloupe, the imaginary world of zombies, devils and other various spirits are still part of life. Legends and superstitions colour everyday life and particular attention to religious celebrations and festivities, such as the upkeep of its cemeteries and the accompaniment of the dead to there afterlife.



Rum and sugar

There are two sugar plantations on the archipelago, one at Moule on Grand-Terre and the other at Marie Galante, and several distilleries; Guadeloupe is rum land, plantations, harvests.......;rum is actively present in the lives of the Antilles and plays an important part in the rhythm of life and social life.

rum and distilleries guadeloupe


A little bit of history

 guadeloupe history

The island of Guadeloupe has been inhabited since 4000 AC, the population of the pre ceramic era was from Venezuela, the last indigenous population was the Caribs (Kalinas,) disappeared , apart from a small pocket living in the north of Basse-Terre still in the 19th century, with the coming of the colonisation around 1635. The Spanish arrived in the archipelago of Guadeloupe in 1493 with Christopher Columbus. On the 3rd November pulled anchor at Marie Galante and the next day dropping anchor at Guadeloupe, naming the place “Sainte Marie of the Guadeloupe, after a Spanish monastery. After their return in Europe followed a period of tentative colonisations of the island and its inhabitants up until 1635, the year that the French started the colonisation of the island. The Caribs where chased off the island, but in 1660 a peace treaty was signed between the French English and Caribs. The Caribs where granted the islands of Dominica and Saint Vincent. In 1654 arrived a couple of hundred colonial Dutch settlers, who had been expelled from Brazil, experts in sugar cane production, which resulted in a new era of production and the development of the slave trade. At the end of the 17th century was the beginning of the English armada of the archipelago, which would lead to the conquest of the island of Marie Galante and the subsequent attempt on the mainland of Guadeloupe. They how-ever where easily over run. history guadeloupeIn the 18th century the production of sugar lead to a subsequent occupation by the English in 1759 & 1763, this in turn lead to a military assembly in Pointe a Pitre and the introduction of many a slave in the area. After 1763 the sugar production continued and coffee production was also introduced. The French revolution in 1789 also involved the archipelago of Guadeloupe. The land owners and patrons where opposed of the revolution. This was followed by the slaves revolt, in which many whites where massacred in 1793. The following year lead to further English occupation, who installed themselves on the island for several months, but where yet again expelled by the new republican regime. The following regime was 'terrifying,' in order to regain order. In 1797 Guadeloupe becomes a department of France. Slavery was abolished in 1794 by the convention, but was reintroduced in 1801 under Napoleons rule. Between 1801 & 1847 Guadeloupe also lost its status as a department, its spirit seems to have fallen in the past. Slavery was finally abolished in 1848 by the Layrle. The economy which was aligned to sugar production subsequently fell into a crisis in the 19th century, many plantations gave way to distilleries. In the 20th century sugar plantations made way for banana plantations and the economy remained fluid until the second world war, where which Guadeloupe became involved in the Vichy government and fought on the side of motherland France. From 1946 Guadeloupe became an overseas department of France and in 1982 a region of France.

Guadeloupe and France

 guadeloupe flag france flag

Guadeloupe, like Martinique, became overseas departments in 1946 and regions of France in 1982, with all the benefits of.

Climate and Seasons

The island of Guadeloupe has a tropical climate, it is breezy all year round, with an average temperature of 26.
The sea is always tepid and the lowest water temperature in the 'chilly' period is 24, from November to May and can reach above 29 in the hotter period in August, September & October. There are two different seasons;
From June to November is the wet season, which does not mean that it rains everyday, but rainfall is more common during this period than the rest of the year.
The temperature is slightly hotter, between 28 30 and that atmosphere is more humid. The threat of a hurricane is more probable, the hurricane season is between May and November and it effects all the islands.

grande anse beach guadeloupe

The dry season is between December & May and includes the, 'Careme,' which is the period of lent. Starting from February up until April, this period is dry and the landscape can be dry too. This period though is normally nice, but there can still be some thundery weather. The temperature is normally around 27 and can be 'fresh' in the hills at night.
The western coast line in Guadeloupe is down wind and is more likely to be hit by rain than the coastline upwind.

For the weather forecast and storm information:

Meteo France Antilles-Guyane



sugar and rum guadeloupe


Once upon a time the economy of the archipelago was based upon the harvest of sugar cane & sugar. During the 20th century the banana plantations became a fluid market. Today banana cultivation is still active, but is suffering due to competition from less developed countries. Agriculture still remains a principle workforce in the archipelago. Tourism is how ever now the main source of revenue for the island.


Antillian Gastronomy



Creole cuisine in Guadeloupe...

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The Creole Language



Creole is a language in all effects, with its own rules and grammar. Born from the need for masters to their slaves during the colonial period. The slaves began to adopt the simple French that their masters where using, integrating their own phonetics and expressions. From there a new language was born, still spoken by all from the old, young and children. In the last few years Creole has been reinstated, both in official studies, in written form and even university materials.


Music and Dance

Singing and dancing, in Creole, where the only ways to celebrate culturally in the years of slavery.

music guadeloupe


Tambourines and dancing gave rhythm to the night for the African slaves.

In the 18th century Creole music was born. The Marzuka and latter Biguine arrived in the 20th century from Saint Pierre in Martinique. During the second world war, Gwoka, played with tambourines and sung in Creole, exploded in Guadeloupe. Latter a type of Salsa, Cuban styles, reggae, compa from Haiti arrived. Zouk, born in the 70s took off in the 80s with the group Kassav.



Want to learn more about the Creole culture?
We recommend this French site,