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This page updated: March 2010
Guadeloupe (French) courtesy flag
French. Great restaurants and bakeries.
All signs in French only, but many people speak a little English.
All prices in Euro's only, but stores may take US$.
No fees for entrance and departure.
Fuel much cheaper in Antigua than in Guadeloupe.
Very difficult to get propane.
Carnival: Feb or March.
Women Cooks festival: early August.
No English-language radio.
Classical radio: FM 101.8.
Some BBC radio on 9740 from 0600 to 0800.
From "Maranatha": The French national parks are very well maintained, and all are free and open to visitors,
and the highway system on this island is second to none.
From Ed on "Angel Louise:
"We thought that Guadaloupe was most difficult, more foreign to Americans than other French spots. ...
But we absolutely HATED the Riviere Salee. I would advise
against it except for folks with low-bridgedeck speedboats
and naturalists who love insects and bugs. IT WAS NOT OUR CUP OF TEA."
My experience in Guadeloupe in 2010:
My opinion: except for Deshaies, the harbors on the west coast are crap. And the
snorkeling on the entire west coast is poor. If making a quick transit, skim west coast and
stop at Deshaies for check-in, rest, then Saintes for check-out (or vice-versa).
If staying for a while, maybe avoid the west coast and
go through Riviere Salee, except maybe for check-in and rest at Deshaies if coming from north.
The trip from Deshaies down around the SW corner and then up to Pointe-a-Pitre was a long slog.
The S coast of the E island, from Pointe-a-Pitre out to Petite Terre, has some nice places.
Marie Galante not worth seeing; Desirade probably not.
- Deshaies (day-hay):
Port of Entry, but customs office has irregular hours. Check-in there
is free. I'm told you can check in at a cafe in town, but there is a charge for that.
Well-protected anchorage, small but picturesque village.
A small supermarket: Spar. A couple of grocery stores, a gas station, two
From article in 10/2010 issue of Caribbean Compass: "walking trail" up Deshaies River
sounds nasty, mostly scrambling up boulders in the riverbed, hot and sweaty.
Poor snorkeling just inside north end of harbor, under cliffs: mostly rocks,
very little coral, some fish, deep water.
- Pigeon Island:
8/2010 anchorage full of moorings and moored boats; some room at N end.
Holding in anchorage is mixed. Rolly.
Underwater park at the island, but deep for snorkeling. Snorkeling on NW corner
is rough and rocky, no coral, a few biggish fish.
Supermarket 3/4 mile away.
- Anse a la Barque:
Anchorage is protected but deep and full of moorings. Main road along the edge,
so lots of car noise.
Good snorkeling ?
- Basse Terre:
Very exposed and rolly anchorage, and mostly deep water. Maybe best to
visit this town by bus.
Port of Entry.
Lots of interesting shops.
Huge warehouse-type supermarket a short taxi-ride outside of town.
Fort, botanical garden, national theater.
- La Soufriere volcano:
Wait for a mostly-cloudless day (or at least not cloudy on the sides).
Everyone else is waiting for such a day, too,
so expect crowds and full parking-lots.
Maybe take bus to St Claude, and then E to "Maison du Volcan" / Bains Jaunes.
But in Tourist Center, they say you can't get there by bus, you have to rent a car.
Best to wear proper footwear, but some people wear sandals.
Carry water, snacks, warm clothing. It's cold at the top.
Hike to top takes a little more than an hour ? First half gentle slope, second part steep.
Top is very interesting, plan to spend an hour or more. Then another hour or less down.
- Ilet Fortune / Goyave:
I was there 8/2010. No decent chart of it in 2006-2007 Doyle guidebook; chart in 2006 Pavlidis guidebook
doesn't match reality. Yellow marker on Caye a Dupont is well south of wreck,
not right on it. There's a yellow marker N of Ilet Fortune; go close to
it when passing N of Ilet Fortune.
Water E and W of Ilet Fortune is much deeper than charted.
There's an officially marked channel W of Ilet Fortune into Goyave,
but it looks weird to me. There's a stick-marked channel also, easily deep anough for a
dinghy, maybe 4-5 feet deep.
Not much of interest near the waterfront in Goyave; no fuel, marina, bank, etc.
One small grocery store. Maybe stuff further inland is good; I didn't go there.
- Pointe a Pitre:
At south end of Riviere Salee.
Largest city; Creole.
Several protected anchorages.
Port of Entry; as of 2/2007, also can clear at Marina Bas du Fort office.
Marina Bas du Fort: huge marina with a boatyard and lots of businesses:
- Capitainerie: Dinghy-dock area. Customs/Immigration officials. Tourist brochures, but all in French.
- Fuel dock: across water from Capitainerie. Best to fuel up after checking out, to get no-tax price;
tax on fuel is about 50%.
- Champion supermarket: faces street, not water, and no sign facing water.
Walk straight down dock from Capitainerie, and through cafe/alley out to street.
- Small EcoMax supermarket: from Champion supermarket, walk N past boatyard, about 1/4 mile to small
shopping center. Bring bags. No produce.
- Garbage and oil disposals: on dock just down from Capitainerie.
- ATM: walk just past Karukera Chandlery, right turn and through to other side.
- "Post Office": internet cafe. Next to ATM, behind Karukera Chandlery.
€4/hour to use their computers, €3/hour to do Wi-Fi. French power outlet only. Re-opens at 1530.
- Book-exchange: in laundry next to "Post Office". Re-opens at 1600.
Only one shelf of English-language books.
- Rental cars: Cap Caribe, one block inland from "Post Office".
- Boatyard area in N wing of complex: nowhere to land a dinghy.
- Aquarium: in far back (E) end of marina complex, at NE corner of Lagon Bleu.
Not sure where to land dinghy; I put in on a mudbank.
- Receiving mail or packages: at Capitainerie, or "Post Office".
Capitainerie is free; "Post Office" charges €4 per package.
(I haven't used this one) "Post Office", yourname, Immeoble Karukera Marine, Bas-du-Fort, 97110 Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe.
yourname, Bateau "yourboat" in transit, Marina Bas-du-Fort, 97110 Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe FWI.
Cora (huge supermarket): dinghy to aquarium, tie up to mudbank, walk out through parking lot.
Up to big highway, turn right, walk about 1/3 mile on shoulder of highway.
First exit, and Cora is right there. Mall in same building has pharmacy, banks, McDonald's, etc.
Long check-out lines in Cora on a Saturday.
Between Lemaire's and town: 8/2010 couldn't find Electro Navic chandlery and Schip-O-Case;
I think they don't exist any more.
Propane: Doyle guidebook says you can get it at Sodexgaz in Jarry.
Guy at Tourist Office told me it's in the La Chapelle section of Jarry, on Rue de la Chappelle a block W
of intersection with Bd de la Pte Jarry, which is sort of across street from a Total station.
Maybe go to north side of peninsula with big containership docks, get ashore
somehow, find Total station on main street. Can dinghy W from main harbor, S of commercial area;
plenty of water-depth, and
there are small docks where you can land, and probably get out to the street.
Probably should get a map from Tourist Office in town first.
In town: dock dinghy at old ferry dock on S side; rest of town is all fenced-in docks
for ferries, cruise-ships, Customs, etc. People in Tourist Office are very helpful.
EcoMax supermarket is on SW corner of town, across street from where the tugboat is docked.
"Super U" supermarket is in NE corner of town, but prices not so great. People in Tourist Office
can mark locations of stores on map for you.
- Riviere Salee:
Flows north-south between the two islands; some current.
Two opening bridges; depth limited to 6 feet, height limit 85 feet,
don't know limiting width.
In 8/2010, opening times are:
south bridge Mon-Sat 0500; north bridge Mon-Sat 0430 and 0530.
Capitainerie has latest info (email: marina at marina-pap.com).
- Ilet du Gosier:
Nice anchorage, a bit grassy, a bit rolly at times, small skiff-ferry comes through frequently.
Watch out for lots of swimmers in the anchorage, even at dawn and dusk.
Small island: beach, picnicing, lighthouse, snack bar. Take footwear.
Nice snorkeling at W end of reef.
Big swimming beach on main island.
No dinghy-dock on main island; land on small beach E of big swimming beach,
where lots of fishing skiffs are clustered.
EcoMax: small warehouse-type food store, just E of big swimming beach's parking lot.
Good prices; limited selection.
- Petit Havre:
Lightly protected anchorage; swells bounce in and make it rolly.
Decent snorkeling; lots of fish on the NE tip of the reef.
- Sainte Anne:
Lightly protected anchorage; rolly, even if you get in close to
the swimming beach.
Lots of fish-trap floats at the harbor entrance, and between here and Petit Havre.
Snorkeling was absolutely lousy 9/2010.
Supermarket and other shops.
Internet: maybe try harbor Wi-Fi from "Good Morning St Anne", if you can find them home to sign up.
Or maybe the "Bibliotecque Multimedia"; don't know what that is.
- St Francois:
Great anchorage; narrow but straightforward entrance. Warning about entrance in Pavlidis guide (says
never enter with following wind and seas) is a little overblown, but be careful and
have sails ready to go in case engine fails. Same when coming out.
Landing at the marina: "Super U" supermarket and other shops just down the street.
Garbage disposal on the street outside the marina.
Fuel situation 9/2010:
- Marina has no fuel pumps; hopes to have some in early 2011.
- Fishing harbor has fuel pumps but can sell only to local fishermen (maybe unless
you get paperwork from Customs, who I'm told are never in their office).
- Gas station: at intersection of D118 and N5 (well inland and a bit uphill; really
need a car to get there).
- Gas station: on N4 near waterfront about 3/4 mile W of fishing harbor, across street from Gendarmerie, at
intersection with Rue de la Ville de Ouidah.
About a 1-mile flat (no hills) walk from middle of the fishing harbor.
Or, in calm conditions, you could land a dinghy nearby: go W out of fishing harbor, past
ferry dock, past some rock seawall, and land at very first tiny (100-foot) beach you come to;
walk inland 1 block and W maybe 200 yards.
EcoMax small warehouse-type supermarket: on waterfront W of Gendarmerie, about
a 1-mile walk W from middle of the fishing harbor.
Mediocre snorkeling on the reef, right next to the red buoy; coral is bad but fish are okay.
Marina stands by on VHF 9.
Couldn't find library; it's been relocated outside town,
somewhere N or NE of the golf course.
- Petite Terre:
Empty except on weekends ?
Walk on beach and around lighthouse is nice.
Mediocre snorkeling; some biggish fish.
- NE side of Guadeloupe is exposed and rough; no anchorages.
- Grand Cul de Sac Marin:
At north end of Riviere Salee.
A couple of anchorages, but lots of deep water and reefs. Most
islands are national park.
Lots of good snorkeling on reefs near Ilet a Fajou.
Dinghy-trip up the Grand Riviere a Goyave is very scenic,
but don't swim in the water (bilharzia).
- Hikes on Route de la Traversee in Basse Terre:
Supposed to be able to take a bus to "Maison del la Foret"; must be bus that says only "Route Traversee" on the sides,
not a PaP-LesMamelles-PointeNoire bus. But 9/2010, I was told that the bus no longer runs;
you have to rent a car instead.
Hike on trails from there.
Then walk E down road to Cascado aux Ecrevisses waterfall.
Bus system: busses generally run from about 6 AM to 7 PM, with limited service on Saturday afternoon
and very little on Sundays.
Other islands that are part of Guadeloupe:
- La Desirade:
Shallow entrance with rolling waves on the bar.
Lots of hiking.
I didn't go there.
- Isles des Saintes:
Difficult anchoring; lots of dragging. Deep water
except for a few limited spots.
From Willie Haskins on Facebook 11/2011:
"Les Saintes has moorings in the Terre-de-Haut 'zones of anchoring' and anchoring is no longer allowed
unless there are no moorings available. Moorings cost from €6 to €12 a day depending on boat size.
For example, a 12 to 14.99 meter boat would cost €11 a day." [There are weekly rates too.]
SMMA fee structure
Bourg des Saintes harbor is deep, a bit crowded, and rolly.
Pretty place; Bourg des Saintes is a very pretty town.
Pain du Sucre: peaceful.
Baie de Marigot anchorage: nice depth, quiet, wind swirls and gusts unpredictably.
"Boatyard" looks really grim, all rust and weeds and decay. Only one
fuel-pump powered up 10/2010, looked like gasoline for locals only, and no one
home to sell it.
Fort Napoleon: don't miss ! A bit of a hike up to it (the chic way to go is to
rent a scooter). Nice big fort, tremendous views, nice museum, small art gallery,
fishing boats and gear, historical photographs, ship-models, nice video of fish and coral.
Only one cyber-cafe in town, down street S of ferry dock and upstairs.
A couple of boutiques and stores have one internet computer each.
Wi-Fi for €9/day, sign up at Maogany's up street N of ferry dock.
As of 10/2010, there is no gas station on Terre de Haut,
fuel pumps in Baie Marigot don't work, and
fuel/ferry dock in Anse des Muriers on E end of Terre D'en Bas is the only option.
Anse des Muriers on E end of Terre D'en Bas: too small to anchor in,
and they've built a breakwater partway across the entrance.
Anse Fideling: quite nice, but a lot of skiffs moored in
the shallow end.
Very few facilities of any kind in the Saintes; it's a tourist-place.
- Marie Galante:
Saint Louis: tons of room to anchor, not bad in settled E conditions;
one superette and one cybercafe in town; didn't see
a gas station; no fuel dock.
Anse Ballet: tons of room to anchor, but very shallow pretty far out.
Grand Bourg: little hope of anchoring inside, it's filled with local boats.
Very rolly outside, even in settled E conditions.
Didn't see a fuel dock. Couldn't find a cyber-cafe.
Nude beaches: Plage Tarare, and Club Med Caravelle.
Eat the local food: