Guadeloupe or just Gwada is a wonderful access point to the Caribbean – not necessarily from the point of access to other islands, but as a place with the flair of the Caribbean and the comfort of a French Overseas Department. Knowing French doesn’t hurt, but people are very friendly and helpful and somebody around might speak English anyway. Don’t forget that a friendly Bonjour can get you a long way and memorise one phrase or another to get even further.
What to take
While everything can be bought, don’t forget most of it has to be imported and has a certain price.I was very happy with my choice of essentials I packed. I didn’t mention I brought my own snorkel and was happy to be able to snorkel around whenever and wherever I wanted. Can be bought or borrowed anyway. Don’t forget to leave some space to take a good bottle of rhum or some other souvenir home!
Where to stay
Outside of St. Anne, two-star Le Rotabas was a good place to stay for me. Easy access to the beautiful beach of La Caravelle, a decent price for accomodation and close to my French class at the Centre Caribeen de Langues, it was just what I needed and wanted. There are many beautiful beaches though and places to discover, so it’s likely that I would try out a different spot next time. Unless I want more language lessons that is, because I would go back to Joel and his team immediately.
Never worry to go hungry, the next Bokit can’t be far. I ate a lot of those “sandwiches” to be more mobile and because it’s just so easy and everyone prepares them a little bit differently anyway…
The best food I remember eating? It was a Poulet (chicken) Coco at La Payotte on La Desirade. Everyone in my company ordered something different, all were happy with their choice 🙂
Keep your ears open for different styles, I personally got addicted to Zouk.
Sights and places I would visit (again) immediately
- The beach of Malendure: I went there a second time, because turtles and colourful fish!!!
- The Cascade aux Ecrevisses offers a combination of lush woods and cooling off in a clear river.
- The trail going up the volcano La Soufriere is calling my name. I didn’t go because I didn’t bring proper shoes for mountaineering. But, oh, I wanted to…
- Visiting the island of La Desirade was a fun day, but there are also Marie-Galante and Les Saintes to see. I’m slowly realizing I really need to go back.
Renting a car and driving
Drivers are usually relaxed and keep out an eye for each other. I have experienced driving under more extreme conditions in Southern Europe. Don’t be surprised if you want to take a left turn on the road and others overtake you on the right-hand side off-road for example. Pedestrian crossings are pretty street decoration and traffic jams part of the package.
Travelling solo in Gwada
A single very pale woman gets some attention, but it was friendly banter or helpfulness with a sidedish of flirty comments. If you read my post from after arriving, it can be a bit overwhelming for a jetlagged creature like me, but I got used to it quickly.