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Guadeloupe, sometimes known as the Butterfly Island (French: I'ile Papillon), on account of the shape of two of its major islands, is a group of islands in the eastern Caribbean, and is a French overseas department. It is located southeast of Puerto Rico. Pointe-à-Pitre: with its suburbs, it is the economic capital of Guadeloupe.
Map of Guadeloupe
Basse Terre: green and lush vegetation, mountainous with a sulphuric volcano.
Grande Terre: flat and dry with a lot of beaches, some of them very touristic.
Marie Galante: the biggest island out of mainland Guadeloupe.
Les Saintes: composed of Terre de Haut and Terre de Bas, one of the most beautiful bays.
La Désirade: Natural and relatively untouched.
Petite Terre: uninhabited and untamed.
Saint Martin: the French part of Saint Martin adjacent to Sint Maarten, the Dutch part.
Saint-Barthélemy: the jet set island.
What to see in Pointe-à-Pitre
Schoelcher museum: the man who has contributed to abolish slavery in the french colonies.
St John Perse museum: a famous writer who has lived in Guadeloupe.
The market place, typical of the creole atmosphere.
In Bas du Fort district, you can of course visit the Fort on the top of the hill. In the same area stands the Aquarium where you can contemplate a lot of fishes.
Don't miss the spectacular waterfalls in the jungle of Basse-Terre. Some are within 5-10 minutes walking distance from the nearest parking lot, some require at least 3-4 hours of hiking.
The local rum distilleries offer tours which are certainly worth the while since rum production is a very integral part of Guadeloupe's economy. And sampling the local rums is definitely worth the while.
Even though they might not be the best way to get around the island, a ride on the bus is still an experience you should not miss. Cheap, full of locals, conducted by fearless drivers, you can enjoy the beautiful Caribbean panorama to the sound of Guadeloupean zouk music. Some routes are not good for passengers with weak stomachs. If you're careful, you can hitch a free ride on the back for some "realistic" tourist experience.
In La Marina, you will discover many restaurants and bars. Try the Zoo Rock Cafe, you can't miss it, it stands on the main place. In the district Bas du Fort, you can have a drink and dance at Bario Caliente, where they play latin music: salsa, bachata, merengue...
American Airlines (from San Juan, PR), Delta Airlines (weekly from Atlanta), Air Caraïbes, Corsair, Air France, Air Europe, Air Canada, Cubana... To get more information, you can have a look at Guadeloupe Airport website.
From some neighbouring islands, you can travel with your car on ferry companies (See section by boat).
From Martinique, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Marie Galante, Les Saintes: Express des Iles, Brudey Frères, Star Ferries.
Windward Islands Yachting Company, one of the worlds largest yacht charter companies, can take care of all charter requirements, from bareboat to crewed in Guadeloupe.
The bus system is infrequent and unreliable. Cars can be hired at the airport in Pointe-à-Pitre: Rentacar Guadeloupe. The main roads are of the same quality as metropolitan France, but smaller roads are often uneven, pot-holed and frankly dangerous. Prudence is required! Drivers are often undisciplined, but rarely aggressive.
Everyone speaks French but few people understand English which has however influenced Antillean Creole since the British seized the island several times.
Scuba diving and snorkeling. There is an amazing assortment of tropical fish, even in water less than one metre deep. For those who can't swim, glass bottomed boat trips are on offer.
There are many festivals to attend to in Guadeloupe. In Guadeloupe they call them "parties on the street". They use colourful ribbons and tie them round their wrists to resemble the colours of all the nations. Their parties last all through the night until the early morning. They sometimes call them "swatson".
Sally. Guadeloupe is the location for the British TV series - Death in Paradise.