Rainforests, Volcanoes, Hot Springs and More
A smoldering volcano; waterfalls cascading from rainforest-clad slopes; deserted palm-shrouded beaches; sulphur-rich hot springs set in Glens of giant rich ferns. All this and more awaits when you climb aboard a four-wheel drive Land Rover and set out to explore the wilder side of the islands of Guadeloupe. Along the way, there will be stops to take in island and ocean views from elevated overlooks and time to swim in cool jungle streams or soak in thermal baths. Stop for a lunch of fresh seafood and island favorites at a small fishing village, then tour tropical plantations on the way to a historic rum distillery, where sampling is allowed.
- 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
The Islands of Guadeloupe Information
Offroading in the Islands of Guadeloupe Overview
The majority of offroading in Guadeloupe takes place in the hills of Basse-Terre Island, both in a national park and on dirt tracks through nearby agricultural lands and forests. Some routes ascend the slopes of La Grande Soufrière, an active volcano that is the highest peak in the Lesser Antilles. Other tours lead to secluded beaches that can only be reached by offroad vehicles.
Offroading in the Islands of Guadeloupe Tips
If four-wheeling to waterfalls, hot springs and remote beaches aren't adventured enough, sign up for an all-day drive-and-hike ascent of La Soufrière volcano. Your Land Rover driver will take you to a trailhead high on the slope, then you will continue to the summit by foot in the company of a guide.
Best Places for Offroading in the Islands of Guadeloupe
Trails into Guadeloupe National Park wind through tropical forests of mahogany, giant ferns, and bamboo on the way to jungle waterfalls and overlooks. On the west coast of Basse-Terre, hot springs and sulfur baths provide a chance for a relaxing soak. Waterfalls cascade from the eastern face of the La Soufrière massif. A drive through Nord Grande-Terre leads to the dramatic sea cliffs at Pointe de la Grande Vigie. A stop at the Longueteau distillery includes a chance to sample the local rums.
What to Pack for Offroading in the Islands of Guadeloupe
Wear sturdy shoes that can get a bit muddy and breathable, comfortable-fitting clothing. Pack a bathing suit, towel and change of clothes. Don't forget the sunscreen, and add a light rain jacket in case of passing showers. Use a compact backpack to store personal items.
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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.
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.
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.
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).