Guadeloupe - the island

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Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe - the island Reviews

Chokk Chokk
1732 reviews
Some facts about the island Apr 22, 2012
Having spent almost 14 days in Guadeloupe driving around the main island in all its corners and even spent time on the largest of its islands I have to say that it is a really nice place to visit. Like many places there are things that can improve your holiday on this island a lot but it naturally also depends on what you are looking for.

One recommendation that I have to underline is to rent a car while you are here; so many of the islands treasures are hidden far away from city center or places where public transportation will take you long time to reach them. You will find that the roads are really nice and well maintained, so don’t worry about the road conditions. The driving is quite calm at there are few nut cases on the road.

The only place that is avoidable by car is the capital Pointe-à-Pitre, where traffic is really slow and busy all the time. The rest of the island is quite nice to drive on and there are a huge amount of nice places to stop and examine. Do yourself a favor and drive after the small beaches as many of them are really nice and you can find places where you are almost alone.

If you rent a car remember that you cant bring cars to the small islands and even to the larger Marie-Galante, but if you are doing a visit to Marie-Galante just park the car in the Marina of Pointe-a-Pitre, because renting a car is quite cheap for one day, we paid 35 euro for the 6 hours we had on the island and we saw the most of it.

It is good to be able to speak French on Guadeloupe, unless you are staying in the resorts or the touristic south coast of the Grande Terre part of the main island. If you are used to travel in different countries you will easily get by anyway, but a lot of the information is only in French. Do yourself the favor and explain that you are not French as it will bring more smiles on your way.

The locals don’t care much for the French people and I have been called a lot on the island until they find out that I am not French. I general don’t take pictures of the inhabitants because many of them don’t like it and especially if they think you are French. They are not that service minded in the shops but if you address them with a big smile and a greeting they shine up like button on a cadet on his evening ball.

The currency on the island is euro and there are ATM machines everywhere and credit cards is a quite normal way to pay with everywhere as well.

The food is in general very nice and fresh fish is quite normal. The kitchen is also inspired from the Creol kitchen, so you have both the sweet and sour kitchen.

The hotels are very few especially on the Basse-Terre part of the island and almost everywhere except from the southern coast of Grand-Terre. A nice and very cheap way to stay on the island is using Gites, which is the equivalent of the well-known Bed & Breakfast concept. The Gites I stayed at were all very nice and the quality was really good and so was the price as I paid 30 euro per night on average.

Some historical facts about Guadeloupe

On November 3, 1493, in an effort to find fresh water, Christopher Columbus landed on the island of Guadeloupe during his second trip to the 'New World.' He named the island 'Santa María de Guadalupe de Extremadura,' after the image of the Virgin Mary venerated at the Spanish monastery of Villuercas, Spain.

In 1635, from the island of St Kitts, the French sent a group of settlers to Guadeloupe; they quickly took control of the island, and all but destroyed the few remaining natives that considered it home. In 1674 the French annexed the island, and over the next century, because of its location and natural attributes, Guadeloupe was seized several times by the British and their powerful Caribbean fleet.

Near the end of the 17th century France was again in control, Guadeloupe was on a roll, sugar trade was 'King' on the island and the local economy boomed. In 1791, during the French Revolution, an independence movement took hold and a group of monarchists declared independence from France.

Plantation slaves, oppressed for decades, began to rebel in 1793. The “freedom-loving” upper class asked the British to help, and to once again occupy the island. Britain seized Guadeloupe in 1794 and held it for just seven months until Victor Hugues, a French politician and colonial administrator, along with rallying slaves and supportive locals forced the English to surrender.

The Convention in Paris had voted to abolish slavery on February 4, 1794, but slavery itself was tongue-in-cheek abolished in 1804. In the end, Hugues had implemented the initial decree; consequently freed slaves revolted and turned on their slave owners.

In 1810 the Brit's seized the island once again and governed it until 1815, when the Treaty of Vienna returned it to French control.

In 1848 and after African slavery was completely abolished, desperate sugar plantation owners imported indentured servants from Asia, but later in the century a worldwide economic crunch forced many of them into financial distress.

To make matters worse, Guadeloupe lost 12,000 of its 150,000 residents in the cholera epidemic of 1865–66. To survive the continuing financial crisis, a movement surfaced to remove the island's total dependency on sugar. In the end it worked as bananas, pineapples and rice production increased at the end of World War II.

In 1946 the French colony of Guadeloupe became an overseas department of France, and in 1974 it became an administrative center. Its deputies sit in the French National Assembly in Paris. Today the Guadeloupe Archipelago includes the large islands of Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre, the nearby islands of Marie-Galante and La Desirade and numerous smaller islands.

The Guadeloupe cuisine and surroundings are decidedly French, and the beaches, casinos and nightlife are all first-class. Pigeon Island and the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Park is one of the world's best dive destinations. Local sailing conditions are unrivaled in the Caribbean.

The bustling port city of Pointe-A-Pitre is the main entry point, and it's crammed with local markets, shops and cruise ship passengers.
Nice and calm beach
Fresh food
Watch out for the coconuts
Shade under the trees
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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bernard69 says:
certainly:)) but I'm not sure that I want to go there:)
Posted on: May 24, 2012
Chokk says:
You have always been a fair man Bernard
Posted on: May 22, 2012
bernard69 says:
though French,I find yr review interesting Christian:)
Posted on: May 22, 2012
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