Guadeloupe is a country located in Caribbean with name that begins with letter G. Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint-Martin and St. Barthélemy together form the French Antilles with a total area of around 2,800 km2 – that’s slightly larger than Vorarlberg. As parts of France, these overseas departments or regions are also part of the EU; the currency is the euro. Creole is spoken in everyday life, but French is the official language. With around 85,000 residents, Fort-de-France, the capital of Martinique, is the largest city in the region.
The French overseas departments in the Caribbean are part of the EU, but not the Schengen area. A valid identity card is generally sufficient for entry. However, it is recommended that you take a passport with you, as this is the only way to cross the “borders of the EU” within the Caribbean (for example when visiting the neighboring island of Dominica).
A visa is only necessary for stays of more than three months.
The French Antilles have a hot, subtropical climate with high humidity. Winds coming in from the Atlantic reduce temperatures somewhat. In the mountain regions, however, the temperatures are pleasant all year round.
Food and drink
The islands’ Creole cuisine is characterized by the use of lots of vegetables, tropical fruits, exotic spices and lots of rum. Whether traditional stews or grill marinades, without a good shot of rum, people rarely cook. As a drink there is usually rum, sometimes pure, sometimes sweetened, sometimes mixed with fruit juices.
The standard vaccination protection is considered sufficient, protection against hepatitis A and B is recommended
. Special attention should therefore be paid to avoiding bites (from insect sprays, mosquito nets and the like).
While the tap water in the big cities is mostly chlorinated and harmless to health, drinking water in the rural regions should be boiled.
Security in general
In terms of crime, the security situation in the French Antilles is roughly the same as in European tourist regions. With a little common sense and caution, problems can be avoided.
Storms, earthquakes and the activity of the Soufrière (Guadeloupe) or Mont Pelée (Martinique) volcanoes represent the greater threat.
The tongue of the cloth is a science in itself. The traditional clothing of the Creole women, which is still popular today, includes a headscarf; Depending on the way it is tied, a different number of tips protrude from it, which provide information about the relationship status of the wearer. Even differentiated messages such as “I am taken, but who knows?” Are conveyed with it. However, the codes differ from island to island.
Climate and travel time
The temperatures are relatively stable in Guadeloupe, Dominica and Martinique. There is a tropical climate and the average temperatures are between 27 and 31 degrees, depending on the season and the island. Dominica is the wettest in the Caribbean, with rainfall mainly in the mountainous regions in the center of the island. The hottest months in Guadeloupe and Martinique are July and August (31 degrees). Temperatures and rainfall on Dominica remain relatively constant throughout the year. In Guadeloupe and Martinique, a distinction can be made between rainy and dry seasons, with the dry season from December to May / June, depending on the island.
The islands are all year round travel destinations. The best travel time differs depending on the island, but is generally between December and May. During these months it is less humid, the temperatures are between 27 and 29 degrees and are therefore pleasantly warm. At night, however, temperatures can drop to around 20 degrees, depending on the month.
All about money
Guadeloupe & Martinique
The legal tender is the euro (EUR)
Legal tender is the East Caribbean Dollar (XCD)
€ 1 = 3.07 East Caribbean dollars (as of 12/12/2018)
The import and export of the local currency is permitted, but not required. Euros and US dollars can be exchanged for East Caribbean dollars in banks and hotels, but there are selected banks that only accept US dollars. Travelers checks are also accepted in most banks. The banks are usually open between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays. Most hotels and restaurants accept credit card payments. Most ATMs have a MAESTRO system and are therefore suitable for debit and credit cards. However, it should be noted that there is a foreign transaction fee for cash withdrawals, the amount varies depending on the credit and banking institution.
For the travel budget, we recommend euros and, if necessary, also US dollars in small denominations, a credit card (PIN is required in some cases, e.g. outside the opening times of the banks) and / or a debit card.
The service is already billed on Guadeloupe, Dominica and Martinique, if this is not the case, 10 percent of the total amount is usual.
Other essential information
The time difference to CET is -5 hours on Guadeloupe, Dominica and Martinique
The voltage on all islands is 220 V. European plugs are used on Guadeloupe and Martinique. On Dominica you need an adapter with plug type D or G, which are available in well-stocked specialist shops or online.