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Size: 530 square miles
Population: 410,000
Capital: Basse-Terre (Point-a-Pitre is the main city)
Political Status: Overseas Department of France/administrates Guadeloupe Le Saints, Maria-Galante, St. Barts & St. Martin
Language: French & Creole with English spoken in tourist areas
Currency: Euro/$US Dollar widely accepted
Climate: 79-85 degrees year round with constant breezes
Electricity: 220/50 cycles
Time: Atlantic Standard Time
Telephone: area code is 590
Drive On: Right hand side of the road

Guadeloupe is one of the most beautiful of all islands in the Caribbean as well as a stunning jewel of the French Caribbean. In the language of the original native people the island was called “Karukera”- The land of Beautiful Waters.” The Arawak natives sure named it correctly!

Guadeloupe is actually two islands in the shape of butterfly wings joined in the middle by a draw bridge. The eastern wing of the butterfly is known as Grande-Terre and is mostly flat with an indented coastline with bays and coves, white sand beaches and rings of coral reefs.

The western wing of the butterfly shaped island is Basse-Terre and is a lush land filled with forests, rivers, green valleys and the highest point on Guadeloupe- La Soufrierie Volcano that stretches to 4,800 feet.

Grand-Terre has the hustling and bustling city of Point-a-Pitre often referred to as the “Paris of the Caribbean.” It is a city of over 100,000 people with parks, shops, museums, art galleries, open air markets and one of the busiest cruise harbors in the Caribbean. Attractions to check out would include the Guadeloupe Aquarium & the impressive Fortress of Fort Fleur D’Apee- that includes a moat and was the scene of battles between the French and British.

The countryside is dotted with historic sugar mill plantations and the east coast is the scene for watching huge waves crash unto the rocky cliffs, carving out spectacular rock formations. The beaches just outside of Point-a-Pitre are marvelous white sand playgrounds that stretch from the resort area of Gosier to the fishing village of St-Francois which is now a ritzy resort town with private airport, golf, resorts and spas.

In the Gosier area for Caribbean Hotels and Resorts check out the Hotel Arawak, La Creole Beach Resort and The Callinago Hotel & Village. The Club Med is in the St-Anne area and for St-Francois resorts- The Golf Marine Resort, Le Meridien, Hotel Plantation Resort and the all-suite La Cocoteraie Resort and for villas- the Iguana Bay Villas.

Basse-Terre is the place for the diver or nature lover. The most famous place for scuba diving on Basse-Terre is at the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Park located on Pigeon Island. Cousteau called this one of the prettiest places in the world to dive and shot his first underwater film for National Geographic from here 50 years ago. Basse-Terre is also home to one of the best national parks to be found in the Caribbean, the 74,000 acre Parc National. A trans-coastal highway carries you along quaint fishing villages and up into the highlands to the park. Trails are marked and you will hike one of the most memorable rain forests left in the islands. The hikes are punctuated with beautiful waterfalls that run into rivers lined with wildflowers and ferns. A great hike to do is at the two mountains known as Les Mamelles which are each over 2,500 feet. A pass runs between the two peaks with incredible mountain views. There are also hikes up the volcano, to hot springs on the west coast and up to a lake 2,400 feet above sea level.

Basse-Terre also has mountain biking, kayaking and beautiful beaches to explore and enjoy. The best accommodations for Caribbean Hotels and Resorts on this side of the island can be enjoyed at the popular Le Jardin Malanga, the all-suite Domaini de Malendure, The Habitation Grande Anse, The Hotel St. George and the Residence Pointe Batterie and for Caribbean villas- The Pointe Batterie Villas.

The islands off of Guadeloupe:

Les Saintes
8 islands make up this delightful island group located just 6 miles off Guadeloupe. The islands are noted for their great Caribbean sailing waters and crystal clear dive sites. This secluded island group is for those seeking islands less traveled with pristine tropical splendor, uncrowded beaches and an unhurried pace to relax and unwind. Most travelers who venture into the islands of saints visit the island of Terre-de-Haut. For charming and intimate hideaways and Caribbean Hotels Col.com recommends- Hotel Coco Playa, Hotel Bois Joli Hotel and the Auberge des Petits Saints Hotel. For villa selections- The Villa la Maison.

There is a magical island filled with windmills, sugar sand beaches, turquoise waters and swaying palm trees- Discover the magic of Marie-Galante for yourself. At 63 square miles this is a rather large island in the French Caribbean and mass tourism has yet to discover this wonder. It is a paradise of the unspoiled Caribbean paradise of long ago. Ox-cart can still be seen plowing the fertile fields and the colorful boats of fishermen can be seen lying on the shores in fishing villages. Hikers and mountain bikers will find trails that take them along coastal byways, through old sugar mills, plantation fields, natural wonders and up mountainsides that offer incredible views. Windsurfing, sailing, diving, canoeing and kayaking activities can all be found here. For Caribbean hotels Col.com makes the following recommendation- The Hotel Cohoba located on a spectacular beach!


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