Banks and money
The currency is the Euro.
Most banks and bank machines accept most international credit cards.
Credit cards: are welcomed almost everywhere, the best known is Visa.
Cheques: Traveller Cheques are accepted.
Bring some cash for small expenses !
Stores are usually open 8.00 am to noon and from 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm.
Businesses are closed Saturday afternoons, Sundays, holidays and very often Wednesday afternoons.
Climate and Temperature
The temperature is pleasant throughout the year. The air temperature varies between 23°C (in winter) and 32°C (in summer).
The water temperature is between 25°C and 28°C. Average humidity: 77%.
There are two "seasons": a dry season between February and June (with some showers especially in the mountains)
and a rainy season from July to January. There are occasional hurricanes in September and October.
Trade winds make the climate pleasant year-round.
Light and casual clothes are suitable days and evenings, suits and ties are not necessary.
For those attending mass at church, smart casual attire is necessary. Don't wear swim suits in the city; it is considered bad manners.
Don't forget rain protection, sweaters and waterproof hiking shoes for hiking trips in the rain forest.
No duties for personal items (tobacco, camera, films).
Other goods, including weapons are subject to French legislation.
The export of plants is prohibited except cut flowers from flower shops.
The natives are mostly Catholics or Hindus, but you can find a variety of other religious communities as there are: Jews, Muslims, Adventists, Baptists, Jehovah's Witnesses ...
For those attending mass, smart casual attire is necessary.
You can drink tapwater, don't drink water of rivers and small streams (Bilharziose).
There are local and imported bottled waters (Matouba, Capes, Didier).
Voltage is 220, 50 Hz, European standard wall plugs. Transformers and adaptors are necessary for American appliancies.
Important telephone numbers:
Fire department: 18
Sea Rescue: 71.92.92
Weather Report: 08 92 68 08 08
Airport - departure: 90.34.34
Airport - arrival: 90.32.32
Express mail: 91.10.10
Guadeloupe is a French Department, therefore the health care system is excellent.
Unlike most tropical regions, there are almost no communicable diseases or those transmitted by parasites.
There are no poisonous or dangerous animals, except as noted below.
Some good advices:
- Sun screen with a high SPF is highly recommended. The region is located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator !
- Don't stay under the Manchineel tree (similar to an apple tree).
It has caustic and mildly poisonous sap. Don't touch the leaves or eat the fruits. The juices burn the skin. The main island of the Guadeloupe archipelago is cleared of most of these trees, but there are still plenty of them on the Saintes and on Saint-Barth - very often marked with warning signs.
- Some fish, especially around the northern islands eat poisoned seaweed which can lead to severe food poisoning in humans. Therefore, if you catch a fish, show it to a native (or a cat).
- The black sea-urchin with its very long and dangerous spines is poisonous. However, you can eat the white sea-urchin.
- Swimming in some rivers is dangerous because of Bilharziosis (a parasitic disease). Normally there are warning signs.
- Beware of the Scolopendra (millepede with a shell). Its sting is similar to that of a scorpion.
- Be aware of stray dogs at the beaches, because they can transmit worms. Wear your sandals to the beach and use a mat.
- Some mosquitos transmit the Dengue virus, similar to a severe flu; use mosquito repellent and sleep under mosquito nets or in rooms with air conditioning.
- Last but not least, practice safe sex. Be aware that sexually transmitted diseases, (primarily Aids) are more common in Guadeloupe than in any other French Department.
For those who can't or won't miss the Internet during their stay,
there are cybercafes in Saint-François, Sainte Anne, Mare-Gaillard, Pointe-à-Pitre... there are also terminals in some post offices and other public sites.
The official language is French.
Most people speak creole.
In big tourist centers and at the northern islands (Saint-Martin, Saint-Bartholomew), they also speak English.
Hotels of all categories, apartments, bungalows or villas with pool, hotel residences, "gites", bed & breakfast.
There are no camping grounds, but camping is tolerated in a lot of places.
Flights depart from Guadeloupe generally in the evening.
To enjoy your last day on the island without having to worry about your check-in, you can commission professionals to do the departure formalities for you.
Thus all you have to do is to go through the police check 45 minutes before take-off and board.
Mail and Telephone
The Zip code for Guadeloupe is: 971xx
Besides the post offices, stamps can be bought at some news stands.
The country code for Guadeloupe is 590.
Calls from Overseas: internal code + country code 590 followed by the 9 digits of the telephone number (++590-5 90 21 04 32 (fixed set) or ++590-6 90 41 09 23 (mobile phone)).
Within the department of Guadeloupe (including the main island Guadeloupe, the Saintes, Marie-Galante, Désirade, Saint-Martin, Saint-Bartholomew), from France or another French Overseas Department, only the 10 digit phone number is necessary (05 90 21 04 32 (fixed set) or 06 90 41 09 23 (mobile phone)).
Oversea calls: international dial code 00.
Calling cards or credit cards are needed for most of the local phone booths, only a few accept coins.
You can get calling cards at the post offices.
The natives are polite and friendly, but proud and sensitive, politeness beginning with "bonjour" - unfortunately very often neglected by city people - is necessary for a good communication.
Pet Passport EU, health certificate -8 days, certificate of anti-rabies vaccination, Valid health pass necessary. There is no rabies on the island. Caution: only a few lodgings accept pets.
You should consult a veterinarian to obtain a special preventive deworming treatment for dogs !
Photo and video
If you take pictures of natives, ask for their permission.
- Gourmet restaurants: French cuisine with local specialities
- Traditional creole restaurants: exotic decoration, typical creole cuisine with local specialities
- Local restaurants: simple decoration and family cooking
- Lolos: small shops with some tables and daily specials
Local time on Guadeloupe is GMT - 4 year-round.
That is: a time difference of 5 hours in winter and 6 hours in summer with central Europe.
Time difference with the US Eastcoast: 1 hour during winter time (no time difference in summer).
Sunrise between 5.00 and 6.00 am, sunset between 6.00 and 6.30 pm.
Service and tax are included in the prices, but tips are always welcome.
- Office Départemental du Tourisme, Tel: +590-(0)5 90 82.09.30, Fax: +590-(0)5 90 83.89.22
- Office du Tourisme de la Basse-Terre, Tel.: +590-(0)5 90 81.61.54, Fax: +590-(0)5 90 81.18.10
- Office du Tourisme de Marie-Galante,
Tel.: +590-(0)5 90 97 56 51, Fax: +590-(0)5 90 97 56 54
- Office du Tourisme - Syndicat d'Initiative du Moule,
Tel.: +590-(0)5 90 23 89 03, Fax: +590-(0)5 90 23 03 58
- Office Municipal du Tourisme des Saintes,
Tel.: +590-(0)5 90 99 58 60
- Office du Tourisme de Saint-Martin: Tel.: +590-(0)5 90 87.57.23, Fax: +590-(0)5 90 87.56.43
- Office du Tourisme de Gustavia: Tel.: +590-(0)5 90 27.87.27, Fax: +590-(0)5 90 27.74.47
- Buses: several private buslines connect Pointe-à-Pitre or Basse-Terre with all villages. No timetables, stop on sign.
- Taxis: fares are set by the government; they are pretty expensive as soon as you leave the cities.
- Rental cars: there are lots of car rentals, but reservations especially between December and April are adviseable.
- Ferries to the Saintes, Marie Galante, Désirade, Dominica, Martinique, Saint Lucia depart from the Maritime Station in Pointe-à-Pitre.
- Ferries to Marie-Galante and Désirade also depart from Saint-François.
- Ferries to the Saintes also leave from Trois-Rivières.
- Regularly scheduled trips between St Maarten/St Martin, Saba and St Barth from Marigot and Gustavia
L'Express des Iles
Gare Maritime Bergevin, 97110 Point-à-Pitre
Tel: +590-(0)5 90 91 98 27 - Fax: +590-(0)5 90 91 11 05
Gare Maritime Bergevin, 97110 Point-à-Pitre
Tel: +590-(0)05 90 574 574
Tel: +590-(0)05 90 914 515
or Gare maritime de Trois Rivières
97114 Trois Rivières
Bord de Mer, 97114 Trois Rivières
Tel: +590-(0)5 90 92 06 39 - Fax: +590-(0)5 90 99 56 83
9 rue Félix Eboué - Lot 5 – Marigot, 97150 St Martin, FWI
Tel : +590-(0)5 90 87 10 68 -Fax +590-(0)5 90 29 34 79
Air Canada, Air France, Corsair, Air Caraïbes, Americain Airlines, KLM (only to Saint Martin) serve Guadeloupe at the moment.
Air Caraïbes, Air Antilles Express and Liat connect the islands of Guadeloupe and the Caribbean.
No restrictions for French citizens with an ID-card or a valid passport.
Tourists from the EU, the USA, Canada, Switzerland and Norway need a valid passport for stays up to 3 months.
French, Europeans and North Americans don't need any special vaccinations.
Tourists from South America and some Caribbean islands need a certificate of vaccinations against smallpox and yellow fever.