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Guadeloupe

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546

Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe mixes the best of France – a fully modern infrastructure and fantastic food –
with a local culture that people here are proud of and want to share. Guadeloupe’s two main
islands look like the wings of a butterfly and are joined together by a mangrove swamp.
Grande-Terre, the eastern wing of the island, has a string of beach towns that offer visitors every variety of fun in the sun known to humankind. From surfing schools to beach
bars to long stretches of beautiful sand where azure water laps at the toes of French mademoiselles, it’s all here.
Basse-Terre, the western wing, is home to the national park, crowned by La Soufrière
volcano. Hiking trails and a Jacques Cousteau underwater reserve offer adventure for those
who want more go than slow in their holidays. But for the gourmets and sun worshippers
there are still plenty of places to recharge while everyone else tires themselves out.
This isn’t to say that both sides don’t have something for everyone. It’s one of the more
developed islands in the Caribbean – those arriving at the thoroughly modern airport
might be in for a shock if they were expecting a rural airstrip – but there are still plenty of
rural patches between villages and you won’t want for choice.
South of the butterfly-shaped ‘mainland’ of Guadeloupe are a number of small archipelagos that give a taste of Guadeloupe’s yesteryear. Ranging from sheer chill on La Désirade
to the barely discovered restaurants in Les Saintes, the smaller islands each have their own
character and round out the long list of ingredients that make Guadeloupe.

GUADELOUPE

FAST FACTS
„ Area 1434 sq km
„ Capital Basse-Terre
„ Country code

%590

„ Departure tax None
„ Famous for Its butterfly shape
„ Language French, Creole
„ Money euro (€); €1 = US$1.56 = UK£0.79
„ Official name La Guadeloupe
„ People Guadeloupeans
„ Phrase Pas ni problem (No problem, no

worries)
„ Population 451,000
„ Visa None required for residents of the

US, UK, Canada, the EU, Australia and
New Zealand; see p576

lonelyplanet.com

G UA D E L O U P E • • H i g h l i g h t s 547

HISTORY

„

When sighted by Columbus on November 14,
1493, Guadeloupe was inhabited by Caribs,
who called it Karukera (Island of Beautiful
Waters). The Spanish made two attempts to
settle Guadeloupe in the early 1500s but were
repelled both times by fierce Carib resistance,
and finally in 1604 they abandoned their claim
to the island.
Three decades later, French ...
GUADELOUPE
Guadeloupe mixes the best of France – a fully modern infrastructure and fantastic food –
with a local culture that people here are proud of and want to share. Guadeloupe’s two main
islands look like the wings of a butterfly and are joined together by a mangrove swamp.
Grande-Terre, the eastern wing of the island, has a string of beach towns that offer visi-
tors every variety of fun in the sun known to humankind. From surfing schools to beach
bars to long stretches of beautiful sand where azure water laps at the toes of French mad-
emoiselles, it’s all here.
Basse-Terre, the western wing, is home to the national park, crowned by La Soufrière
volcano. Hiking trails and a Jacques Cousteau underwater reserve offer adventure for those
who want more go than slow in their holidays. But for the gourmets and sun worshippers
there are still plenty of places to recharge while everyone else tires themselves out.
This isn’t to say that both sides don’t have something for everyone. It’s one of the more
developed islands in the Caribbean – those arriving at the thoroughly modern airport
might be in for a shock if they were expecting a rural airstrip – but there are still plenty of
rural patches between villages and you won’t want for choice.
South of the butterfly-shaped ‘mainland’ of Guadeloupe are a number of small archipela-
gos that give a taste of Guadeloupe’s yesteryear. Ranging from sheer chill on La Désirade
to the barely discovered restaurants in Les Saintes, the smaller islands each have their own
character and round out the long list of ingredients that make Guadeloupe.
Guadeloupe
© Lonely Planet Publications
FAST FACTS
Area 1434 sq km
Capital Basse-Terre
Country code
%
590
Departure tax None
Famous for Its butterfly shape
Language French, Creole
Money euro (€); €1 = US$1.56 = UK£0.79
Official name La Guadeloupe
People Guadeloupeans
Phrase Pas ni problem (No problem, no
worries)
Population 451,000
Visa None required for residents of the
US, UK, Canada, the EU, Australia and
New Zealand; see p576
546
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