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General information

When should I travel to Guadeloupe ?
Enjoy scrumptious traditional coconut “tourment d’amour” pastry in one of the word’s most beautiful bays, while admiring a lemon shark swimming along the coast and the view on an island populated with iguanas or hike up the volcano to experience its fumaroles at an altitude of 1467 metres. If you need a quiet holiday baking in the sun, Guadeloupe probably isn’t for you! Of course, you could spend all your time basking in the sun on the Caribbean beaches or bathing in the foam of the Atlantic ocean waves, but Guadeloupe has so much history, culture and nature that can’t be missed! IN the Petites Antilles, check out bed and breakfasts, guesthouses and small hotels or holiday rentals, which outnumber by far the huge, all included hotels on the sunny archipelago.
Guadeloupe, which is actually French territory, comprises two butterfly-shaped main islands named Basse-Terre and Grande –Terre as well the small islands of les Saintes, la Désirade and Marie-Galante.
extrait TVAnouvelles.ca

The Caribbean climate is tropical and temperatures are high all year, but the sea air tempers the heat. Guadeloupe has a tropical climate, which is tempered by sea air and trade winds. There are two seasons in Guadeloupe as in the neighbouring islands: the dry season called “Carême” (Lent) between January and June, and the wet season between July and December.
The average temperature is 27 °C, and there is little difference between the warmest months (25 °C – 32 °C) and the colder months (23 °C – 29 °C). Geographically, the configuration of the archipelago means there is a difference in climate between Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre, Grande-Terre and its limestone plateaux are often subjected to periods of severe drought, when, at the same time, the Basse-Terre perpendicular relief to the trade winds regulates rainfall. The average water temperature is 28°C.

bonjour foulard bonjour madras

Administrative and customs rules and regulations:

French citizens must be in possession of a valid ID card or passport.
Travellers from the US or Canada, the EU, Norway or Switzerland need a valid passport and can remain on the territory for a maximum period of three months.
Travellers from any country NOT mentioned above are advised to contact the French consulate for visa details.

HEALTH:

There are few health warnings, however mosquitoes are definite pests! Anticipate and purchase repellent or buy some at local pharmacies or supermarkets. There is no risk of malaria.
Safety
Tourist areas are safe in Guadeloupe, especially around hotels and holiday residences. Leaving belongings on beaches and visible objects in cars is not advisable, however. Pointe-à-Pitre has the reputation of being an unsafe city, especially at night.

Animals

For EU animals: a health certificate established no earlier than 8 days prior to travelling, anti-rabies vaccination, tattoo or chip, document showing proof of up-to-date vaccinations. Rabies is NOT a threat on the island. Animals are often not accepted in holiday rentals and hotels. For longer stays, it is preferable to consult a veterinary surgeon for appropriate worming medication.

Banking and currency

The euro is the official currency.
Major credit cards are almost always accepted, Visa being the most common. Travellers’ Cheques are also accepted but non-local cheques are usually refused.
Keeping a small supply of cash is necessary for small purchases. ATMs are widely available and most credit and debit cards are accepted.
Current
Standard European: 220 volts, 50 Hz, outlets are also standard European and adaptors should be used for all US or UK devices.

Customs

Personal objects can be imported without tax or restriction (tobacco, camera, film). Dangerous objects, such are firearms, are not permitted, in any case, French law applies (prison in the tropics is far from being a fun experience!). Produce cannot be imported or exported, excepting cut flowers from an approved point of sale.

Water

Tap water is drinkable, however, river water should not be consumed as it could be contaminated (bilharzias or schistosomiasis). There are several local brands of mineral water (Matouba, Capes, Didier) as well as imported water.

Tourist information

Tourist offices

Main tourist office (Office Départemental du Tourisme) Phone: +590-(0)5 90 82.09.30, Fax: +590-(0)5 90 83.89.22
Tourist office of Basse-Terre (Office du Tourisme de la Basse-Terre) Phone: +590-(0)5 90 81.61.54, Fax: +590-(0)5 90 81.18.10
Tourist office of Marie-Galante (Office du Tourisme de Marie-Galante) Phone: +590-(0)5 90 97 56 51, Fax: +590-(0)5 90 97 56 54
Email: info@ot-mariegalante.com
Tourist office of Moule ( Syndicat d’Initiative du Moule) Phone: +590-(0)5 90 23 89 03, Fax: +590-(0)5 90 23 03 58
Email: info@ot-lemoule.com
Tourist office of Saintes (Office Municipal du Tourisme des Saintes), Phone.: +590-(0)5 90 99 58 60
Email: omt.lessaintes@wanadoo.fr
Tourist offices (syndicat d’initiative) open in most towns

Transports

Road:

Bus: different private companies connect all towns starting from Pointe-à-Pitre or Basse-Terre. Variable timetables, and stops upon request.
Taxis: although rates are set officially, they are rather high out of urban zones.
Car rental: most international companies have local representatives, it is preferable to book in advance during the high season (December – April)

Ferries:

Bound to: Saintes, Marie Galante, la Désirade, la Dominique, la Martinique, Sainte Lucie From: Ferry terminal of Pointe-à-Pitre (Gare Maritime de Pointe-à-Pitre).
Bound to: Marie-Galante and la Désirade
From: Saint-François.
Bound to: les Saintes
From: Trois-Rivières.

Air:

Transatlantic: Air Canada, Air France, American Airlines,Norvegian Airlines, Corsair, Air Caraïbes, have flights for Guadeloupe.
Domestic: Air Caraïbes, Air Antilles Express, Liat connect the archipelago islands and the Caribbean

links:

one day in Guadeloupe by flyOverGuadeloupe

Exist Guadeloupe Florian Bouhelier

2014 Guadeloupe Island Press présentation

Guadeloupe Trotter-au coeur de la Soufrière

Guadeloupe 2014 Jérémi Stadler
Guadeloupe 2014 Jérémie Stadler

beautiful movie from Marie Galante
Beautiful movie from Marie Galante

welcome at Trois Rivière

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Geography and geology

Guadeloupe and its neighbouring islands are spread over 1 628 km2 of diverse and contrasted land.
The total surface of Guadeloupe is 1 434 km2, Guadeloupe itself is comprised of two different pieces of land, separated by a thin sea inlet, of a maximum width of 200 m2, called the Salt River (la Rivière Salée).
Basse-Terre on the west, (sheltered from the wind, the trade wind on the Caribbean coast) is mountainous and densely covered from north to south with tropical forest and numerous waterfalls and river, is in fact a volcanic island, as are several other islands in the archipelago. The highest peak is the active volcano the Soufrière, 1,467 metres, the highest in the petites Antilles. As in most volcanic islands, there are several beaches of red or black sand.
Grande-Terre on the east, (exposed to the wind, on the Atlantic coast) with its limestone plateaux, is a plain with a mangrove at its south-west limit and compose irregular mornes (mountains) called the Grands Fonds (deep pits) in the centre and an arid plateau with wild rocky coasts in the north. The south coast, dotted with white sand beaches and sheltered from coral reefs, hosts the main tourist resorts and is called the “Riviera”.
La Désirade, on the east of the Castles Peninsula (Pointe des Châteaux), is an elongated limestone island, a north-east slanted plateau. The Grande Montagne, which reaches an altitude of 275 metres, is its highest point.
Petite-Terre, is a small archipelago of 2 km2. Its two isles (Terre de Haut and Terre de Bas) are surrounded with a coral reef and situated around 10 km south from la Pointe des Châteaux and la Désirade. The archipelago is protected as a natural marine reservation.
Marie-Galante, towards the south, is a hilly limestone island, swept by the trade winds and is nicknamed the pancake because of its circular shape (15km diameter)
Les Saintes, 9 isles, of which two are inhabited, Terre-de-Haut and Terre-de-Bas, respectively 5 km2 and 8 km2, are an archipelago of arid and steep islands.
Basse-Terre and Saintes are recent volcanic islands, part of a chain of which the culminating point is à la Soufrière, whereas the other islands are coral islands. Guadeloupe and the surrounding islands are ranked III in the old French seismic zoning system and 5 in the new system, in any case, always at the highest level of risk.

Source: Wikipédia

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Natural reservation

The tropical forest and the mountains of Basse-Terre are areas of exceptional bio-diversity and have been protected since the 1970s when the local council decided to protect natural heritage by creating a park, managed by the ONF (national forestry) and equipping it with trails and facilities. By 1977, the idea of protecting the park further by creating a natural reserve was forwarded, although it was not implemented until February 20, 1989. The management of the Natural Reserve of Grand-Cul-de-Sac Marin created in 1987 was turned over to the National Park in 1990. The UNESCO gave international recognition to the Natural Reserve by designating it as the biosphere reserve of “ Guadeloupe Archipelago”.
Information concerning all protected sites:
Flora and fauna are protected throughout natural reservations.
Under water, several guidelines are to be followed for an enjoyable sea hike.
– Keep your flippers away from coral reefs, coral is fragile and breaks easily, remain in a floating position and lower your flippers onto sandy beds only.
– Refrain from touching any living creatures, especially those which may be dangerous such as stingrays, lionfish, barracuda, lemon shark. As for turtles and dolphins, they should be given a wide berth and observed without being touched or fed.
– Shells and coral skeletons should be left where they are found, rather than taken away from the beaches where they will erode and become sand.
– On land observe rather than touch, iguanas can be approached and actually enjoy posing to be photographed. Do not attempt to touch them, however.
Plants are also protected and should neither be touched nor picked.
Enjoy your visit
Source: Guadeloupe Forever

Tourist attractions
The most interesting sites in the Natural Park are:
– The Soufrière volcano, 1, 467 meters the highest point of the Petites Antilles
– The Grand Sans Toucher and the Petit Sans Toucher
– The Carbet waterfalls, the le saut de la Lézarde waterfalls and the Ecrevisse waterfalls
– The Deux Mamelles et the Traversée route
– The Roches Gravées, in Trois Rivières
– The natural reserve of Grand-Cul-de-Sac-Marin
– The trails and paths, which cover the park territory
– The Petite Terre isles, which became Natural Reserve and managed by ONF (national forestry) in 1998. Access to the desert isles is limited to protect natural heritage.

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Marine parks

The most impressive park is the vast bay of the Grand Cul de sac Marin, open to the north, between the grande terre and basse terre (highlands and lowlands) and protected by a coral barrier reef.
Other sites are: Petite Terre, the Pigeon isles, Kahouane and Tête à l’anglais
These marine parks form the biosphere reservation of the archipelago of Guadeloupe.
Information concerning all protected sites:
Flora and fauna are protected throughout natural reservations.
Under water, several guidelines are to be followed for an enjoyable sea hike.
– Keep your flippers away from coral reefs, coral is fragile and breaks easily, remain in a floating position and lower your flippers onto sandy beds only.
– Refrain from touching any living creatures, especially those which may be dangerous such as stingrays, lionfish, barracuda, lemon shark. As for turtles and dolphins, they should be given a wide berth and observed without being touched or fed.
– Shells and coral skeletons should be left where they are found, rather than taken away from the beaches where they will erode and become sand.
– On land observe rather than touch, iguanas can be approached and actually enjoy posing to be photographed. Do not attempt to touch them, however.
Plants are also protected and should neither be touched nor picked.
Text : Guadeloupe Forever

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Fauna and flora

Fauna

Although fauna may appear to be quite limited, due to extensive hunting over the colonisation period and to the fact that Guadeloupe was populated relatively early, it is in actual fact rich and endemic, with numerous species found nowhere else in the world. The national park strives to preserve at risk wild species, with the Guadeloupe zoo in the Mamelles park, for instance.

Mammals

The most characteristic are the racoon, imported from the United States in the XIXth century, bats (13 species, of which, two, at least, are unique), the mongoose (imported from India) and the endangered agouti. The manatee was reintroduced in the Grand Cul de Sac Marin natural reservation in 2015, after a 100-year disappearance.

Birds

The bird population is numerous on land and at sea. The land population includes the Guadeloupe pecker (also called “tapeur”), which is the only sedentary pecker of the Petites Antilles, humming birds, several species of thrush, pheasant, doves, flycatchers, and warblers. At sea and on the coastline, le frigate is common, as well as the brown pelican and several tern species.

Reptiles

Guadeloupe is completely snake free, but has an abundance of iguanas, anoles and five different species of marine turtles.

Shell-fish

Lobsters, spider crabs, land and sea crabs, slipper lobsters can be found in profusion in the sea as well as soft water shrimps (ouassous) and soft water crabs in rivers, ponds and lakes.

Insects

The most widespread are, of course, mosquitoes; nevertheless, the rest of the insect world is also well represented and exceptionally diverse. Some species, such as the sawyer beetle, one of the longest beetles in the world, or the mourning butterfly and the stick insect (devil’s horse), can reach impressive lengths.

Flora

The national park covers three types of natural environment.

Tropical forest

There are several vegetation layers:
– Dense, humid mountain forest covers 80 % of the heart of the park between the altitudes of 300 and 1,000 meters. There are high trees (30 – 35 meters) such as the white gum tree, the chestnut tree, or the acomat-boucan, average sized trees (6 – 10 metres high) oleander, marbri ; shrubs and bushes (0 – 10 m): the mountain palm, heliconias, ferns, as well as numerous hanging plants: bromeliads, philodendrons, asplundia, orchids and lianas.
– Above 1,000 meters altitude, high humidity and clouds generate a much lower forest than lower in the mountains. The vegetation is mossy, savannah-like, with a profusion of lichen, sphagnum mosses as well as tougher vegetation such as mountain mangrove, Guzmania plumieri which develop around flowers: mountain violets, thyme, or fuschia.

The coast

Vegetation is sparser on the coast due to the salinity of the air and the soil, the sun and lack of rain as well as the strong winds. The most widespread species are the seaside grape and the pear tree.

The mangrove

Mangroves are coastal forests, which are permanently or punctually flooded by salt or freshwater. These forests are very common in Guadeloupe as the coral reefs protect a large part of the coast from strong deep-sea wave swells.
Approximately 3,700 hectares of mangrove out of a total of 8,000 were integrated into the heart of the national park in June 2009.
These forests are essentially mangrove trees. Source: Wikipedia

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Sea and land activities

Guadeloupe is not only a tourist high spot, surrounded with magnificent beaches, it is also an island packed with a wide array of exciting activities! There is an almost endless supply of fun things to do for visitors, from hiking to nautical sports. Hikers will enjoy climbing the Soufrière volcano, following mountain or coastal trails, joining discovery safaris along waterfalls and rivers. The sea allows for diving, surfing or cruising and there is flora and fauna to discover at sea or on land. Nautical excursions will take you to Petite Terre, les Saintes, Marie Galante or closer isles such as Gosier, Fortune or Caret. At sea there are possibilities to go deep-sea fishing, dolphin or whale watching, on land, horseback riding or trekking through the mangroves will be equally exotic experiences, the only thing you won-t have enough of, is time!
Aquarium de la Guadeloupe
Diving
Safaricaraib adventure

Guadeloupe has several diving spots of international reputation such as la Réserve Cousteau at the Pigeon isles, or the Port Louis caves. A mask and tuba are all you will need to begin your adventure in shallow waters, no more than 3 feet deep. Experienced guides are waiting to accompany you from the isles of Caret and Gosier.

Hiking

Hikers will be delighted with the selection of short walks (30 minutes) and long hikes (12 hours and more) up the mountain trails or along the seacoast.

Kite and windsurf

With regular trade winds over 8 months a war and smooth water surfaces, conditions for kite and windsurfing are nothing short from ideal!

Surf

Surf spots enjoy international recognition Le Moule, Le Héleux in St Anne, Port Louis, Petit Havre among others, will delight beginners and confirmed surfers alike.

Sea scooter

Jet ski or sea scooters can be rented, a licence is necessary for independent outings, but qualified instructors are available and will be happy to organise excursions with you.

Sea canoeing

Canoes are ideal to visit the mangrove, the isles and the inaccessible wild beaches.

Sea excursions

There are multiple options

Boat rental

Boats can be rented for an afternoon to go dolphin or whale watching or even for leisurely trips along the coast or excursions towards les Saintes, Marie Galante or Petite Terre.

Deep-sea fishing

As all around the Antilles islands, there is an abundance of fish in Guadeloupe. Upwind or downwind, are equally good for deep-sea fishing.

Golf

Exposed to the trade winds, the St François golf course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, is a rather technical experience.

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Strong sensations

Professional instructors are ready to ensure your safety whether you choose canyoning,  hang-gliding, paragliding or parachute jumping.

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Sweet sensations

If you feel like being pampered, or just need to get back in shape, Guadeloupe is the place for you!
SPA, massages and other relaxing treatments are available in a wide selection of wellness hotels.
If you would rather be outside, there are waterfalls, rivers, pools and warm thermal baths all over the island.

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Hikes and trails

Basse-Terre is an ideal spot for hikers seeking magnificent trails to discover the national park eco-systems, waterfalls, rivers and the natural beauty of Guadeloupe heritage.
Along the coast between St François and Anse Bertrand, there are wonderful hikes through plantations or the mangroves.
There is a wide selection of trails in Guadeloupe which can be walked alone although it is preferable to hike with a guide who will introduce you to the local fauna and flora and will make sure you don’t lose your way. Remember the sun sets very early.
Tips:
All forest trails can be flooded under heavy rainfall and rivers can rise rapidly, sometimes forming waves several feet high.

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Bank holidays

January 1 : New year’s day

25 /28 MARS 2016 : Easter weekend  and Easter Monday

May 1: Labour day

May 8 : Memorial day, World War II

May 27 : Abolition of slavery

July 14 : Bastille day

July 21 :  Victor Schoelcher commemoration day

November 1 : All saints

November 11 : Memorial day, World War I

December 25> Christmas day

CARNIVAL 2016

January 6 – February 10

– Mardi Gras (pancake day) : February 9

– Mi Carême (mid-Lent) : March 3

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