Guadeloupe, French Caribbean

Your Guadeloupe villa vacation will be a unique Caribbean experience of French Creole cultural flavors including music, art and of course, cuisine – a fusion of French savoir-faire and a mix of Indian, Creole, African flavors. Here are a few things you might want to know about Guadeloupe before planning your trip.

Main Info About Guadeloupe

Capital City: Basse-Terre
Economic City: Pointe-à-Pitre
Location: French West Indies (Leeward islands).
Latitude: 62 50′ 0″ W Longitude: 17 52′ 0″ N
Language: French & Creole
Population: 460.000 people
Area: 629 square miles / 1628 square kilometers
Time Zone: Atlantic Standard Time (UTC-4). One hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time except during daylight savings time when the time is the same as EST.
Currency: Euros
Electrical Current: 220 volts. Convertors needed for US/UK appliances.
Telephone code: 590 (If dialing/faxing from USA then 011 590-590 plus six digit number)
Flying Times: Miami – 3 hrs / New York – 4.5 hrs / Montreal – 5 hrs.

Characteristics

Guadeloupe is a French island located in the Caribbean seas. Well known for its magnificent beaches, it is composed by two different islands connected by a bridge over the Rivière Salée. Shaped like a butterfly, Guadeloupe offers two very different insights of the Caribbean nature.

The eastern side of the island called Grande Terre, is known for its sensational white sand beaches. You will find there most of the resorts, and the biggest city called Pointe-à-Pitre, surrounded by the traditional cane fields. Across the bridge, the western part, Basse Terre, offers something totally different : a wild and dramatic rain forest in which you will encounter towering waterfalls. Guadeloupe’s capitol city, also called Basse Terre, is on this part of the island. One of the most spectacular things about Guadeloupe is its diversity.

It is very easy to navigate from one island to the other thanks to an excellent highway system. Moreover, many different hiking trails will enable nature lovers to discover the rain forest.

Population

Officially, Guadeloupe is an archipelago of French Possessions, and includes offshore islands such as Les Saintes, Marie-Galante and Désirade, for a total population of approximately 420,000 inhabitants. The population and the culture are the result of a beautiful blending of European, African and East Indian origins.

The official language is French, but locals also speak Créole. Only a few people speak English, and most of them are concentrated in hotel and tourist areas. However, it is still easy for non-English speakers to communicate, thanks to small dictionaries, mini-phrase books, or online translation websites. Locals are very communicative and will appreciate any effort you do to be understood. The most important is of course to treat others with kindness and respect. Finally, it is important to remember that the culture in the Tropics is different, and everything generally moves at a slower pace, you should therefore not expect or demand speedy service.

We noted that more and more people does efforts and begins to speak English or try to be “understandable”. Almost Prestige Villa Rental will be a good intermediary as they are fluent English.

History and Culture

If you want to come and visit the island, it can be interesting to know more about Guadeloupe and its history. Originally, the island was called Karukéra, which means Island of Beautiful Waters, by the Carib Indians that lived there. On November 4, 1493, Christopher Colombus landed on the Island. He named it after the famous sanctuary of Santa Maria de Guadalupe de Estremadura. After they realized the Island was not a major source of gold or silver, the Europeans started losing interest in it until the end of the 17th century.

The French started to settle Guadeloupe around 1635 with the colonization. It lead to the institutionalization of slavery in 1644, and an important increase of agricultural production. Consequently, the trade of spices, sugar, tobacco and rum prospered between France, Africa and the Antilles. This prosperous trade and all the resources of the island were then the cause of great battles between the French and the British. Indeed, they both wanted to have control over this incredible piece of land.

After a small occupation by the British between 1569 to 1563, they restored the island to France in exchange for all French Rights to Canada. In 1815, the famous Treaty of Paris designated Guadeloupe as French, and in 1871 it was represented for the first time in the French Parliament. Slavery was abolished in 1848 thanks to the great contribution of Victor Schoelcher. Since March 19th, 1946, Guadeloupe has the status of a French Département.

 

 

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