Bargaining is not really normal anywhere in Guadeloupe.
Dangers & Annoyances
Occasional islandwide strikes can grind tourism services to a screeching halt and some parts of Pointe-à-Pitre are not safe to wander about in after dark. The main danger in Guadeloupe, however, is posed by mosquitoes, who can carry the Zika virus and dengue fever. It's important to cover up in the evenings, sleep under a net and use repellent whenever possible.
220V, 50 cycles; European-style, two-round-pin plugs.
Embassies & Consulates
There are no consulates or embassies in Guadeloupe – should you need consular assistance during your stay you will need to contact your embassy in France and see what help (if any) can be afforded you.
Emergency & Important Numbers
|Guadeloupe's country code||+590|
|International access code||00|
Entry & Exit Formalities
Customs regulations are the same for Guadeloupe as they are for France. There are no abnormal restrictions, though it's important to note that anything made from coral or turtle shell is illegal and will be confiscated if found in your bags.
All visitors to Guadeloupe must have a valid passport (or a valid national identity card if you’re an EU citizen). A round-trip or onward ticket is officially required of visitors. This may be checked at customs upon arrival, though it’s unlikely.
Immigration rules in Guadeloupe as the same as those for mainland France. Citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand can stay for up to 90 days without a visa. Citizens of the EU can stay indefinitely and can live and work here without any special documentation. If you need a visa for France, you'll need one for Guadeloupe as well, and should contact a French embassy sometime before you plan to travel.
There’s much emphasis on the French rules of politeness; bonjour (hello) and au revoir (goodbye) are almost always heard when entering or leaving an establishment, and older Guadeloupeans usually give a collective greeting to everyone when entering a crowded restaurant or bar. To start a conversation or ask a question without a greeting is considered rude, just as it is in mainland France.
Guadeloupe usually earns OK marks from gay travel organizations, as gay and lesbian rights are protected under French law. However, attitudes on the ground tend to be far less tolerant and prejudice against gay people is not unusual, although it's not nearly as extreme as on some Caribbean islands. Gay couples usually do not publicly express affection or advertise their sexual orientation, although hoteliers don’t seem to mind if same-sex couples share a bed. There is little or no gay scene here – most introductions happen via the internet.
Internet cafes have been almost entirely replaced by wi-fi (sometimes called WLAN locally) in Guadeloupe. Some hotels have terminals that can be used by guests, but these are the exception rather than the rule. Wireless access is nearly always provided for free in Guadeloupe, but speed is slow and reliability poor, though high-speed internet is slowly being rolled out.
French law governs legal matters in Guadeloupe, and there is a presumption of innocence, as well as the right to a lawyer. Most travellers will have no interaction with the police at all.
France-Antilles (www.guadeloupe.franceantilles.fr) is the main daily newspaper for the French West Indies. French newspapers and magazines are commonly found everywhere; print editions in English are far rarer.
Radio & TV
Tune into Réseau Outre-Mer 1ère (http://la1ere.francetvinfo.fr) or catch up on local TV on Guadeloupe 1ère (www.guadeloupe.la1ere.fr).
Guadeloup, as a department of France, uses the euro. Hotels, larger restaurants and car-rental agencies accept Visa and MasterCard. ATMs are common.
For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.
Tipping is not common or expected in Guadeloupe.
Bars 6pm to midnight
Restaurants lunch noon to 2pm Monday to Saturday, dinner 7pm to 10pm, many closed one day per week
Shops 9am to 7pm Monday to Saturday
The French postal system is generally efficient and reliable. There are post offices in all major towns. You can also buy postage stamps at some tabacs (tobacco shops), hotels and souvenir shops.
New Year's Day January 1
Labor Day May 1
Victory Day May 8
Ascension Thursday 40th day after Easter
Slavery Abolition Day May 27
Bastille Day July 14
Schoelcher Day July 21
Assumption Day August 15
All Saints' Day November 1
Armistice Day November 11
Christmas Day December 25
France has a comprehensive smoking ban that is also observed in Guadeloupe. Smoking in all enclosed public spaces is against the law, though due to the number of outdoor places in Guadeloupe, there are still many situations in which there might be smoking around you.
Taxes & Refunds
If you do not live in France, it is possible to claim back VAT on certain purchased items at the airport when leaving Guadeloupe. This isn't possible if you're flying from Guadeloupe to France.
The country code for Guadeloupe is 590. Confusingly, all local landlines also begin with 0590: these numbers are separate, however, and therefore must be dialed twice when calling from abroad. Cell-phone numbers begin with 0690.
To call Guadeloupe from abroad, dial your country’s international access code, followed by the 590 country code and the local number (dropping the initial zero). When calling from within the French West Indies, simply dial the local 10-digit number.
Local cell phone providers have offices in most larger towns and you can easily get a SIM card to put in an unlocked cell phone. Coverage is generally pretty good, but far from total. Calls and data are relatively expensive by regional standards, with 1GB costing around €20. Local cell providers include SFR, Orange and Digicel.
Guadeloupe uses GMT/UTC -4 hours. Daylight saving time are not used.
Toilets in Guadeloupe are universally Western style.
There is a network of excellent tourist information offices (Office de Tourisme) in Guadeloupe. Nearly all towns with any tourist industry have at least a small office with knowledgeable English-speaking staff who can give advice, provide maps, and even book accommodations or excursions for you.
Travel with Children
Because of all the French families that come here, there are a number of child-friendly hotels and activities. Many hotels have play areas and activities just for kids and a special children’s menu. All restaurants will allow children to dine, and they’ll often have a simple and good-value menu enfant (children’s set meal) to offer them.
Practically all hotels will provide cots, and some hotels provide babysitting services. European brands of baby formula, foods and diapers can be bought at pharmacies.
Setting up a volunteering opportunity in Guadeloupe should not be a big challenge. However, there are no specific schemes to turn to for help with this.
Weights & Measures
Weights & Measures: Guadeloupe uses the metric system for everything, and the 24-hour clock.
Working in Guadeloupe is easy for EU citizens, who require no documentation whatsoever to take up a job and residence here. Non-EU citizens will need to apply for a work permit. These can normally be applied for only with the support of an employer.
By comparison with other Caribbean Islands, Guadeloupe makes good provision for travelers with disabilities, with many hotels having wheelchair accessible rooms, and many public places having disabled toilets.