Migrating Humpbacks in Guadeloupe

Big Whales and Lots of Marine Mammals

For sheer variety, few whale watching destinations can match the islands of Guadeloupe. At any time of the year, more than two dozen species of marine mammals may be spotted. Just a few miles from shore, an area of deep water is home to sperm whales, and right in the pathway of migrating humpbacks. In addition to these two high-profile species, the waters hold a veritable who's who of Caribbean whales, including long and short finned pilot whales, orca, pygmy right whales, false killer whales, pygmy sperm whales, melon-headed whales and the rare Antilles beaked whale. Also frequenting these waters are spinner, spotted, bottlenose, Risso's and Fraser's dolphins.

Highlights

  • Best for: Solos, couples and families, beach lovers and adventurers
  • Best season to visit: Year round
  • Weather: Steady trade winds account for relatively minor differences in seasonal air temperatures, which range from the 70s into the mid 80s. Rain showers are less common from December to May

Things to Do

Guadeloupe Information

Animal Interactions in Guadeloupe Overiew

The most popular and prolific area for seeing all whale and dolphin species is in Caribbean waters a few miles from the northeastern corner of Basse-Terre Island. Here, an area of deep water is home to sperm whales and sits right in the pathway of migrating humpbacks. Dolphins are seen all around the islands of Guadeloupe, and waters on the Atlantic side provide seasonal sightings for larger whales.

Animal Interactions in Guadeloupe Tips

The crews of whale watching charters increase the odds of an encounter through the use of underwater microphones, which can locate sperm whales by the clicking sounds these animals make. At any time of year, operators claim a better than 60 percent chance of finding the sperms, and encounters with one or more of the area's other species of whale or dolphin are all but guaranteed.

Best Places for Animal Interactions in Guadeloupe

For reliable encounters with whales and dolphin pods, visitors head to Deshaies or Gourbeyre on the northwestern corner of Basse-Terre, and to Les Heures Saines in the Bouillante area. In winter and early spring, tours from Saint-Francois on Grand Anse find humpbacks near La Desirade Island.

What to Pack for Animal Interactions in Guadeloupe

A camera, of course. Polarized sunglasses and a brimmed hat to knock down the glare for better viewing on bright sunny days. It's the tropics, but you might still want a light windbreaker during winter months when the trade winds blow. Seas are typically moderate, but those especially prone to motion sickness should remember medication.

Packages

Animal Interactions

Bwa Chik Hotel and Golf

7 nights accommodations, breakfast daily, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel taxes and service charges. Options to add on cultural, seasonal whale watching and snorkel tours.
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From $540 per person double occupancy

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Animal Interactions

La Cocoteraie

7 nights Garden Marina Suite accommodations, breakfast daily, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel taxes and service charges. Options to add on cultural, seasonal whale watching and snorkel tours.
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From $743 per person double occupancy

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Animal Interactions

Langley Resort Fort Royal

7 nights Bungalow Garden View, breakfast daily, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel taxes and service charges. Options to add on Zip-line, hiking, cultural and seasonal whale watching tours.
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Animal Interactions

La Toubana Hotel & Spa

7 nights bungalow accommodations, continental breakfast daily, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Options to add on cultural, seasonal whale watching and snorkel tours.
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From $1,063 per person double occupancy

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Resorts

Animal Interactions

Bwa Chik Hotel and Golf

SAINT-FRANCOIS, GRAND-TERRE Bwa Chik Hotel and Golf is a small and elegant hotel located between an 18-hole Robert Trent Jones golf course and the marina from which Noa Plongee Diving departs daily to dive sites nearby. The resort features a swimming pool with a pool bar which also serves Continental breakfast daily. A variety of local restaurants and bistros are nearby for lunch and dinner.
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Animal Interactions

La Cocoteraie

SAINT-FRANCOIS, GRAND-TERRE La Cocoteraie is located on a protected bay adjacent to the Saint Francois Golf Course (a Robert Trent Jones designed course) and next the marina from which Noa Plongee Diving departs daily. The resort offers 52 suites, each with separate living room, bedroom and terrace. The property also has a beautiful beach, a large swimming pool, restaurant and bar, massage services, lighted tennis courts and a gym.
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Animal Interactions

Langley Resort Fort Royal

DESHAIES, BASSE-TERRE Langley Resort Fort Royal is located on the north end of the island and offers a beautiful beach, 133 rooms and 82 bungalows and two restaurants. Restaurant Le Royal serves a mixture of Creole and international cuisine and Kawann Beach Bar offers more casual dining. Activities include tennis, biking, sailing, jet skis, standup paddleboards and more. Diving is with nearby Tropicalsub Diving.
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Animal Interactions

La Toubana Hotel & Spa

SAINTE-ANNE, GRAND-TERRE La Toubana Hotel and Spa overlooks the Caribbean with sweeping views of the islands of Les Saintes, Marie Gallante and La Desirade. The property offers a small protected beach and 32 bungalows with either kitchen or kitchenette and private terraces or balconies. There are two restaurants, one beachside, and a spa. Diving services are available from Noa Plongee in nearby Saint-Francois (about a 30 minute drive).
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Passport and/or Visa Requirements

Entry Requirements: U.S. citizens must have a valid Passport and a return or ongoing ticket. Passport must be valid for 6 months beyond date of entry and 1 page required for entry stamp.

Immunizations

No vaccinations or preventative medications are required for travel to Guadeloupe Islands. Yellow Fever is not a problem here. Check with the Centers for Disease Control on recommended vaccinations for travel at cdc.gov.

Culture and Customs

The islands of Guadeloupe are a department of France, but they are also very much a part of the Caribbean. In bustling Pointe-à-Pitre, a stroll along Rue Frébault provides boutiques stocking perfumes, haute couture and delicacies straight from Paris. The scene shifts at Rue Duplessis when shoppers are immersed in the sights, sounds and scents of the St. Antoine Spice Market. In this open-air celebration of micro-capitalism, animated vendors hawk handicrafts, seafood and produce, and the smells of exotic spices permeates. Similar dualities abound across the islands. One can linger over buttery croissants and cafe au late at a sidewalk cafe, or duck into a corner rum shop for a bokit sandwich washed down by a Ti Punch. A local favorite, bokit is similar to fried naan bread stuffed with delicious hams and cheeses. Guadeloupe's dining scene is among the most celebrated in the Caribbean, with island chefs drawing on both French and Creole traditions. Lively dance traditions such as zouk, quadrille and toumbélé are enjoying newfound popularity in a culture that celebrates its roots, but also enjoys fusion jazz and dancehall music. The islands also support a vibrant arts community and have produced some of the region's most respected writers. For an immersion in island culture, plan a visit to the lively market days staged on alternating Sundays at the towns of Le Moule, Sainte-Anne and Saint-Claudeon. Grand-Terre's magnificent beaches host a number of upscale hotels, while the green slopes of Basse-Terre are home to nature preserves and parks where hiking trails lead to hidden waterfalls. Harbors on the island's western shore are launching points for whale watching excursions, and as many as 15 species of marine mammals are known to frequent the area. A network of excellent roads facilitates land travel while an efficient ferry system making island hopping easy. Favorite destinations include postcard-quaint bays of Les Santes and the quiet island of Marie-Galante, which provides a glimpse of old-school Caribbean life. When on Les Saintes, be sure to try a Tourment D’Amour -a pastry that resembles a height- challenged cupcake flavored with coconut and tropical fruits.

Electricity, Phone and Internet Access

Electricity is 220 Volt, 50 cycle with European standard wall plugs. U.S. appliances will require an adapter. WiFi is available at many hotels.

Guadeloupe Island's country/area code is 590. It is recommended that you check with your local provider to see what data plans are available or roaming charges will apply.

Water Quality

The water is safe to drink Guadeloupe. Many brands of local and imported bottled water is available for purchase at most restaurants and stores if preferred.

Language & Currency

French is the official language of the Guadeloupe Islands. You will hear locals speaking Creole. While at the hotels and tourist areas, English may be spoken, but outside of these areas very little English is spoken. A French translation book is recommended.

The Euro is the currency in the Guadeloupe Islands. U.S. Dollars and sometimes traveler checks may be accepted. It is a good idea to rely on your credit cards for purchases. Please let your credit card company know that you will be travelling out of the country to make sure your card is available while on vacation and see if they charge any foreign transaction fees due to the currency exchange.

Time

Guadeloupe Islands is on Atlantic Standard Time (AST) and does not observe Daylight Savings Time. Guadeloupe Islands are 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-4 GMT).

Location, Size and Population

Guadeloupe Islands are located in the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean and are part of the Lesser Antilles. The islands encompass nearly 630 square miles including the 2 connected main islands of Basse-Terre and Grand-Terre and the smaller islands of Les Saintes, Marie-Galante and La Desirade.

The population of the Guadeloupe Islands is 470,755 (2016).