Always dreaming about white sandy beaches, clear turquoise water and tall palm trees? Look no further and book your flight to Guadeloupe. But just before, check out our Guadeloupe travel guide, with practical and first hand travel information and tips about this amazing Caribbean island.
Guadeloupe travel guide
How to reach Guadeloupe?
The Caribbean island Guadeloupe is French, so do check the Air France airlines as they often offer some promo fares. Based in Europe you might be flying via Paris, meaning you will probably need to switch airports – Charles de Gaulle and Orly. If you’ll be flying with Air France, you will get a free voucher for the shuttle bus between airports. If you’ll be flying to Guadeloupe with other airlines and will need to change flights, the shuttle bus will cost you 37 EUR/adults (return ticket) or 22 EUR/adults (one way ticket). Traveling to Guadeloupe with kids from 4-11 years old, the shuttle bus will cost you 26 EUR (return ticket) or 13 EUR (one way ticket). The average transfer time with the shuttle bus is 70-80 minutes, but if you’ll be traveling during the rush-hour, you will need even a bit longer. The shuttle bus between Charles de Gaulle and Orly drives from 6.10 am to 9.50 pm – each 25-40 minutes. If you have a long transfer time and want to enjoy some Paris city vibes, you can also decide to reach the other airport by metro – blue line Rer B takes you from Charles de Gaulle to Anthony station, where you change the train – OrlyVal, which takes you directly to the Orly airport. You will need around 1 hour for transfer using the metro and the OrlyVal train, but it will cost you more than the shuttle bus, so this kind of transfer makes sense only if you have enough time to see Paris a bit too.
How to explore Guadeloupe?
The Guadeloupe Island is not a backpacker’s paradise, as most of the tourist, who wants to explore the island, rent a car. Having a rented car you will be able to explore the whole island and it will still be on a budget and most importantly fast. You can pick-up the car at the airport – you will get all the needed papers there and a free shuttle will take you to the main building where you’ll get the car. You will also return the car there and take a shuttle back to the airport – the drive takes you only a few minutes.
You can also decide to just show up at the airport and rent a car, but normally that cost more than booking it ahead. Not to mention, you might have problems with employees if you don’t speak good French.
Navigation in Guadeloupe
We used a combination of old-fashion map and google map app. You can get a free map of Guadeloupe at the airport – there’s a corner with tourist information desk right next to the luggage carousel.
Things to do and see in Guadeloupe
Lots of people travel to Guadeloupe only because of its paradise beaches, but there are so many other things to do and see in Guadeloupe. We had 10 days for exploration and we ran out of time for many activities we wanted to do. What we liked best is, we were able to join visiting and exploration of sights with swimming in its crystal clear waters every single day. You can read more about things to do and see in Guadeloupe here.
Food in Guadeloupe
We tried to do Guadeloupe on a budget, so we spent all our days in accommodations offering kitchen too. This way we were preparing breakfast (except the last four nights in Canella Beach Resort, where breakfast was included in the room rate) and dinner by ourselves and eat lunches out. Everything we ordered and tasted was delicious. The food in Guadeloupe is really tasty. We really liked their Caribbean BBQ and chicken with sugar cane. You can also try its local street food – bokit and amazing coconut sorbet – you will get the best creamy one from vendors who have automatic stirring. Some vendors stir the coconut sorbet only before serving it to you, what makes it more crystalized. You can read more about food and prices in our separate blog post about Guadeloupe on a budget.
Accommodation in Guadeloupe
Caribbean island are not the cheapest travel destination, but you will be able to find all kinds of options in Guadeloupe – from Airbnb to hotels, which we normally book through booking.com. We staid first 5 nights in apartment and last four nights in a Canella Beach Hotel – the rooms also included kitchen. You can read our review of the Canella Beach Hotel here.
You can get more information about accommodations and prices in a blog post »Guadeloupe on a budget«.
If you’ll be traveling to Guadeloupe for more than a week, we would definitely recommend you to choose two different locations for your accommodation – one in Basse-Terre and other in Grande-Terre. The reason is that if you’ll be exploring Basse-Terre you can avoid driving through the capital, which is pretty crowded during the rush hours. You should rather use the extra time for swimming or just relaxing at the beach or at the hotel. But if you don’t want to switch accommodation during your stay in Guadeloupe and you’ll be based in Grande-Terre, make sure to pass the capital before 7.30am or after 9am and being back at the hotel before 2.30pm or after 6pm to avoid the traffic jam. You can find accommodation options in Basse-Terre here – a nice town is Deshaies and around.
Safety in Guadeloupe
We did not have any bad experiences in Guadeloupe. We actually were surprised how well the island is organized and how people are honest and friendly. We don’t speak French and when buying something from street vendors we never really knew how much something costs so we just gave some money. Few times a vendor walked away and I thought that’s it, so we continued our way, when he /she called us, running after us, to give us back the change.
Health in Guadeloupe
If you are worrying about health issues in Guadeloupe don’t stress out too much. Guadeloupe is French and that is why you will find plenty of good facilities there. After all, many elderly French people moved there to enjoy their retirement. Nevertheless, we still recommend good travel health insurance.
We would like to inform you, some mosquitos in Guadeloupe can infect you with the dengue fever, so having something against mosquitos is a good idea. If you’ll be based around forests, it is wise to have a mosquito net around the bed. We were staying in Le Gosier town and we have not seen any mosquitos and had no bites – our travel time was February – during the dry season.
Paying methods in Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe is developed island so you can normally use your Maestro, Mastercard or Visa for payments and withdraw money from ATMs. Not to mention the currency there is Euro, what is indeed very practical.
Prices in Guadeloupe
You can read more about the prices in Guadeloupe in our special blog post about »How to do Guadeloupe on a budget«. But the fact is that Guadeloupe can be much cheaper than you might have first thought.
Language in Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe, being a French island, the official language is French. Not many people in Guadeloupe speak good English. But nevertheless – even though you don’t speak French (we don’t) you will still be able to enjoy and experience a lot. When we ordered food we just went with the flow and were often surprised when being served. Sometimes we just looked around and show what we want or used our hands to help with explanations. If that does not work, you can always use google translate app.
Best travel time to Guadeloupe
The best time to travel to Guadeloupe is from December to May, during its dry season. The temperatures are similar all year round, but the humidity is much lower during the dry season, what makes a day much more pleasant. Not to mention you can hardly find any mosquitos during the dry season. If you don’t mind some rain showers, you can also travel to Guadeloupe off season – it is also cheaper then. But we definitely advise you not to travel to Guadeloupe in August and September, as it is the hurricane season then.
Guadeloupe with kids
If you ask me, traveling to Guadeloupe with kids is the perfect destination – including if this is your very first travel as a parent. The hygiene is good and you have good flight connections from Europe or other parts of the world, not to mention its health care is well organized.
If you will travel to Guadeloupe with a baby you will find several Carrefour supermarkets, but the best and the largest one is Carrefour Destreland. You will really find everything for a baby there – milk, food, clothes, diapers, toys… If you just need diapers you can get them in other stores too, so you can easily go on a plane with almost nothing.
Guadeloupe is truly a paradise island – its many picture-perfect beaches and numerous diverse sights for every taste will probably be best reasons you will have a hard time going back home.