Guadeloupe is made up of two main islands – Grande-Terre to the east and Basse-Terre to the west – as well as several smaller ones. Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre are so close together it’s difficult to see the separation, but their very different landscapes easily distinguish one from the other.
The two islands are connected by a drawbridge which passes over the Riviere-Salee, a narrow four mile strait. Grande-Terre is a level land of sugarcane fields and low, chalky hills rimmed by stunning white-sand beaches perfect for sunbathing. Point - a - Pitre, Guadeloupe’s bustling port and commercial centre, sits on the island’s southwest side. Basse-Terre’s forest-covered mountains and volcanic peaks contrast sharply with Grande-Terre’s flatter limestone terrain.
The island’s waterfalls, lakes, hot springs, and mountain trails attract nature lovers. The capital city of Guadeloupe, also named Basse-Terre, is located on the island’s southwest edge. Pointe-a-Pitre is reminiscent of a French Riviera port. Tall, modern buildings provide a backdrop for the city’s tree-shaded historic area centered around the Place de la Victoire, where many quaint wooden houses with open air balconies date back to the island’s colonial days. The downtown open market is animated with the spirited sound of shoppers bargaining with vendors. Piles of papaya, breadfruit, tomatoes, and other produce fill the stalls.
New Year's Day; Easter Holidays - Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday; Labour Day; Victory Day (8 May); Ascension Thursday; Pentecost Monday; Slavery Abolition Day (27 May); Bastille Day (14 July); Schoelcher Day (21 July 21); Assumption Day; All Saints' Day; Armistice Day; Christmas Day.
Visas are not required of citizens of the US, Canada or the European Union. Citizens of the EU need an official identity card, passport or valid French carte de séjour. Citizens of most other foreign countries, including Australia, need a valid passport and visa for France. All visitors officially require a return or onward ticket.
1,705 sq km (658 sq miles)
Guadeloupe GNI per capita
US$14,088 (UN, 2003)
Guadeloupe Head of state
(French) President Nicolas Sarkozy
Guadeloupe Local language
Guadeloupe Main exports
Bananas, sugar, rum, vanilla
445,000 (via UN, 2006)
Overseas department of France
Guadeloupe Telephone codes