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Polish up your French, cash in your dollars for euros and freshen up on your Euro-pop dance moves. The small butterfly-shaped archipelago of Guadeloupe is a lot like France - only hotter and with more rum cocktails. Its two main islands — the wings — are Grande-Terre (urban, hip with energetic resorts and lovely beaches) and Basse-Terre (dominated by national park, rugged mountains and the simmering La Soufrière volcano). More than any of the other French-Caribbean islands, Guadeloupe feels like a chic European outpost. To experience the unique melding of West Indian, African and French cultures, to meet the country-folk who reel in the ...

Polish up your French, cash in your dollars for euros and freshen up on your Euro-pop dance moves. The small butterfly-shaped archipelago of Guadeloupe is a lot like France - only hotter and with more rum cocktails. Its two main islands — the wings — are Grande-Terre (urban, hip with energetic resorts and lovely beaches) and Basse-Terre (dominated by national park, rugged mountains and the simmering La Soufrière volcano). More than any of the other French-Caribbean islands, Guadeloupe feels like a chic European outpost. To experience the unique melding of West Indian, African and French cultures, to meet the country-folk who reel in the catch of the day, you'd do well to travel beyond the resorts. The eight offshore islands that make up Les Saintes include Terre-de-Haut, which has a charming village and harbor, and Marie-Galante, where vast fields of sugarcane blow in the breeze and the pace is slow, even by Caribbean standards. In addition to glitzy resorts, Guadeloupe also has a great collection of gîtes — family-run apartments that are rented out on a weekly basis.

Debra Landau
About the Expert

Debra Landau has written eight Lonely Planet guidebooks, including books on the USA, Caribbean, and the South.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Eastern Carribean - Guadeloupe is located southeast of Puerto Rico.
  • Language: French (official), Creole Patois
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Guadeloupe | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    December to April, which is outside the rainy season