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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.
First discovered by Columbus in 1493, the islands were known to the local Caribs as : 'the islands of beautiful waters'. French settlers arrived in the 17th century bringing with them disease - which wiped out the indigenous Caribs - and slaves to work the sugar plantations that were to be source of the islands' wealth for the next 200 years. 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. It is, however, very modern with mostly high-end tourist facilities and excellent health care.
The beaches are quite magnificent and remain the main draw card for the steady stream of tourists, the majority of whom are French. However, somewhat unusually for a Caribbean island, there are many worthwhile attractions inland too. Tropical forests abound, especially around the base of Mt Soufriere, a dormant volcano. You can also find the Caribbean's highest waterfall on Basse-Terre. The diving is excellent, rated by Jacques Cousteau as one of the top 10 diving spots in the world.
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 international dialling code for Guadeloupe is +590.
15 (Medical), 18 (Fire), 17 (Police)
French is the official language of Guadeloupe.
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.
Electrical current in Guadeloupe is 230 volts, 50Hz. Two-pin plugs are most commonly in use.
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.
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. NOTE: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for the duration of their intended stay in Guadeloupe. A visa is required.
Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid for the duration of their intended stay in Guadeloupe. No visa is required.
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.
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 is a Zika virus high-risk area. Pregnant women should avoid visiting the island, and other travellers should take extra care to protect themselves against mosquitos.
Emergency Phone Number
15 (Medical), 18 (Fire), 17 (Police)
* For current safety alerts, please visit Foreign travel advice - GOV.UK or Travel.State.Gov
As part of France and the European Union, the official currency of Guadeloupe is the Euro (EUR).
Exchange RateNot available.
Embassies of Guadeloupe
Foreign Embassies in Guadeloupe
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.
Public Holidays in Guadeloupe
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