Practical Information

Practical Informations

Decidedly French! Undeniably Caribbean! For years a classic get-away for french travellers and presently home to the BBC 1’s big hit TV drama series “Death in Paradise”, the Guadeloupe Islands are making it in the UK as a genuine holiday destination.

The Guadeloupe archipelago is a French Overseas Department and therefore a part of the European Union. It has the same organisations and institutions as any other department on mainland France.


This is a human scale destination (660 square miles), with nothing oversized. The Guadeloupe Archipelago is not too big and not too small, with no long distances to get from one place to another or to see the main touristic sites.




Tropical climate tempered year round by Tradewinds. Yearly average temperature: 28°C for the air and 26°C for the sea. There is little difference between seasons: From December to June, the islands enjoy a hot and dry climate; hot and humid from July to November.

Time zone:

The Guadeloupe Islands are 5 hours behind Europe time in winter and 6 hours behind in summer.

Entry regulation:

A valid national identity card is sufficient for members of the European Community. Foreign visitors must hold a valid passport and visas.

Health Regulations:

No vaccinations are compulsory except for those passengers coming from tropical countries or an infested area.


The Euro. Bank notes and coins are the same as in metropolitan France. Cash dispensers are available in all towns. Major credit cards are mostly accepted, but may not be welcome at small cafés and shops, especially on the outer islands.


French is the official language, but Créole is ever-present in daily life. English is spoken in tourist areas.


Power supply is 220 volts 50 AC with two pin French-type plugs. Adaptors might be necessary..


There are post offices in all major towns.


The country code for Guadeloupe is +590. The telephone network is automatic throughout the archipelago. The 10-figure numbering system is the same as in mainland France. All local numbers begin with 05-90. Local mobile numbers begin with 06-90.


France-Antilles is the main daily newspaper. French newspapers and magazines are commonly found in bookstores, “tabacs”; supermarket and gas stations.

Business Hours:

Offices: 8am – 1 pm 3pm – 6pm Mon - Fri
Supermarkets: 9am – 8pm Mon-Sat
Shops: 8am - 1pm – 2pm – 6pm Mon-Fri 8am - 1pm Sat
Banks: 8am – 4pm Mon - Fri

Visitor Information:

Tourist information offices are found in major cities and on each of the Guadeloupe islands. A tourist information desk is located at the arrival area of the Guadeloupe International Airport Pôle Caraïbes.


Practical Informations

The Guadeloupe Islands are bound together by the rich ethnic diversity that characterizes their folklore, language, music and beliefs. A land of many influences, the Guadeloupe archipelago has a multi-faceted identity which cannot be simply sum up by the term “Créole”.


Within the Guadeloupe archipelago, the Creole language is largely used in every day life. No need to say that the soul of the Guadeloupean people resides mainly in its vernacular language. At one time rejected, banned and even forbidden in some social circles, Creole made a spectacular come back in the seventies when the new generation of poets and writers start using it in their works. Since then, Creole made its way to the schools and is even taught in universities. Today Creole is well alive expressing itself all over the Guadeloupe Islands.

Basic glossary

Wè = Yes
Awa = No
Bonjou = Good morning
Bonswa = Good evening
Souplè = Please
Mèsi = Thank You
Ka ou fè? = How are you?
Sa kay? = Everything’s ok?
Pa ni pwoblem = Everything’s fine
A ondòt solèy = See you soon
A pli taw! = See you later!
A talè = See you in a while!
Mwen pa ka konpwann = I don’t understand
Eske ou ka palé anglé? = Do you speak English?
Konmen? = Combien?


The Guadeloupean is happy by nature. He loves music and dance and has got rhythm in his soul. Nothing pleases him more than having a good time. Despite the growing vogue for other dances of the Caribbean region such as Compas, Salsa, Meringue, Reggae, Dance Hall, the Biguine and the Zouk, both originated from the French West Indies, remain the favorite beats of all Guadeloupeans.


Inherited from African culture; describes both the instrument (a rudimentary drum made out of a wooden barrel) and the music performed on it. The slaves used the Ka to accompany their songs while working on the plantations and to communicate between themselves without being understood by their masters. Little by little the Gwo Ka music was developed and counts to day seven different rhythms such as the “Léwoz”, the “Woulé” and the “Toumblack”, each rhythm corresponding to a particular feeling, a given activity. A Gwo Ka festival is held in Sainte-Anne in July each year. It’s one of the major cultural events in Guadeloupe drawing together both local artists and thousands of visitors. Nowadays, Gwo Ka is taught in schools.


Created after the abolition of slavery, the Biguine was originally performed by black musicians playing at parties and balls organized by the white High Society. The musical group, composed in general of a clarinet, a trombone and a banjo, copied the European dances in vogue at that time (the Waltz, the Mazurka, the Polka) but changed little by little the tempo as they added to the existing formation a drummer and most of all a singer. The Biguine hit Paris in the 1930s and become the fashionable dance in the artists’ quarters of Saint-Germain des Prés and Montparnasse. The tune “Ban moin on ti Bô” is “la Biguine par Excellence”!


The background music of the Guadeloupe Islands. A more recent musical creation made popular by the group “Kassav” in the 1980s. Kassav and other landmarks artists like Tania Saint-Val, Francky Vincent since then are spreading the “Zouk Message” all over the world. Its typical recognizable fast beat sometimes slows down to become the “Zouk Love” for the dancers’ relish!


The Guadeloupe Islands celebrate the same national holidays as metropolitan France. Furthermore, the Guadeloupeans come together for special occasions such as Cockfights, Léwoz dancing, and Chantés Nwel.

Carnival – The biggest show in Guadeloupe. Carnival time starts on the first Sunday in January and ends on Ash Wednesday.
Léwoz – The swaré Léwoz usually takes place on a Friday night in the countryside. Renowned musicians and dancers sing and dance the night away in a festive and bewitching atmosphere.
All-Saints’ Day is also a major event: in the cemeteries, thousands of candles light up the graves creating a strange unreal atmosphere.
Cockfights – They are as popular in Guadeloupe as bullfights are in Spain. Fights take place in small arenas called “pitts”. Chantés Nwel – During the Advent Time, traditional Christmas Carols sung Creole style all over the islands.


Ancient stones, ruins, fortifications and museums scattered all over the archipelago testified of the islands tumultuous past. Whereas a new generation of poets and writers promoting in their works a modern image of a strong and mixed nation have found their place in contemporary litterature.



There are no direct flights from the UK, but British Airways and Virgin Atlantic fly to Antigua and Barbados where there are connecting flights to Guadeloupe with LIAT.

From France

Several daily flights serve the international and regional airport Pôle Caraïbes (in the commune of Les Abymes, near Pointe- à-Pitre) from Paris (Orly and Charles de Gaulle) and other major French cities.
Flight time takes approximately 8 hours.

Air Caraïbes:

0 820 835 835 –

Air France:

0 820 820 820 –


0 825 000 747 –

XL Airways:

0 982 692 123 –



Considering Cruises, the Guadeloupe Islands are once more a top choice. Ideally located at the very heart of the Caribbean basin, between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, the Islands of beautiful waters have been a sailing paradise ever since they were (re)discovered by Christopher Columbus. With fairly good weather conditions year-round, calm and clear blue sea, warm temperatures and refreshing tradewinds, the Guadeloupe Islands are also endowed with the very best in docking infrastructures and port facilities.

The main Cruise Ship Port of call is Pointe-à-Pitre with excellent infrastructures. It features a brand new Terminal with more public areas (5,000 square meters), a Tourist Information desk, a VIP room, a welcoming cocktails bar and a handicrafts Market. Place with musical welcome at every stopover during high season. Since its recent renovation, the Port of Pointe-à Pitre has received many awards: “Best Port of Call in the Caribbean”, “Safest Port of Call in the Caribbean” granted by the Caribbean Shipping Association and the Dream World Cruise Destinations Magazine. Ports of Basse-Terre and Terre-de-Haut also receive cruise liners.

Many Luxury Cruise companies are familiar with the archipelago during high season. Costa Cruises has been running cruises out of Pointe à-Pitre for 20 years. Others cruises companies like Aida Cruises, Club Med, Holland America Lines, Tui Cruises, Thomson Cruises, Pullmantour, P & O Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and MSC Cruises call not only at Pointe-à-Pitre but also at Marie-Galante, Deshaies, Basse-Terre, Terre-de-Haut and Saint-François.

In 2013, 158 900 cruise passengers visited the Guadeloupe Islands.