Solo Travel in Guadeloupe
Types of Girl about the Globe (GatG) – Eco GatG, Island GatG
The butterfly-shaped island group known as Guadeloupe has many things to offer, including stunning nature, diverse culture and history, as well as mouthwatering food. Unlike other Caribbean islands, Guadeloupe does not suffer from too much over-tourism. However, that does not mean we should stop trying to be as ethical and sustainable a tourist as we can be.
With environmental interests at the heart of Guadeloupe’s authorities and 77% of the islands’ territories classified as Natural Reserve, Guadeloupe is the perfect travel spot for the eco-conscious tourist. If you are planning a trip to Guadeloupe, below is our solo guide on things to do in Guadeloupe, getting around Guadeloupe and where to stay.
- Solo Travel in Guadeloupe
- About Guadeloupe
- Things To Do in Guadeloupe
- Where To Stay in Guadeloupe
- Guadeloupe Tours
- Getting Around Guadeloupe
- Conscious Travel in Guadeloupe
- Map of Guadeloupe
- Plan Your Guadeloupe Vacation
Solo Travel in Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe is generally a safe place to travel and explore as any visitor and as a female solo traveller. It is also easy to navigate and offers plenty of fun and diverse experiences. Avoiding isolated places after dark, especially in the cities of Pointe-à-Pitre and Basse-Terre, is very much encouraged, as well as not carrying large amounts of cash and jewellery. Falling coconuts, wild animals (mosquitoes, sea urchins, and jellyfish), and driving at night in areas with no streetlights might be other dangers to look out for. Avoid walking alone at night and any unwanted attention from local men.
Guadeloupe is an overseas department of France consisting of multiple inhabited and uninhabited islands; Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre being the main islands. Basse-Terre is also the name of the capital.
Grande-Terre appears to be the more touristy part of the island due to its abundance of beaches, and Basse-Terre being better suited for someone who prefers to bask in nature, go hiking in the rainforests and be away from the crowds. A way to keep these two islands apart is to keep in mind that Grande-Terre is smaller, and Basse-Terre has the higher mountain peaks despite what their names actually imply.
The tropical climate is tempered by trade winds, which means the most extreme temperatures only range from 20 to 34 degrees Celsius. While tourism is an important part of Guadeloupe’s economy, it is the service sector that is the largest source of employment on the islands. Alongside the sector, the industrial zone has been steadily growing, with sugar and rum being major exports.
Things To Do in Guadeloupe
The towns of Basse-Terre and Pointe-à-Pitre are a definite must-see. The street markets offer an abundance of fresh produce, and you can find rums and spices at the covered market on the seafront at Basse-Terre. Discover more about the history at the 19th-century Heritage House in the Saint-Francois district, or see the islands’ own Notre Dame, an 18th-century cathedral of Our Lady of Guadeloupe with a volcanic stone facade.
In Pointe-à-Pitre, visit the Victorian market, and the Cathedrale de St-Pierre et St-Paul (known as the ‘Iron Cathedral’) with its iron girders. See 19th-century colonial architecture at the Musee de St-John Perse, and learn more about slavery at the Memorial ACTe.
At the Jardin Botanique de Deshaies, the gardens and wildlife are beckoning to be explored. It’s an explosion of colour with hummingbirds sipping nectar, lizards sunbathing on rocks, and parrots waiting for their next treat. It is also amazing for educational purposes as you can learn a lot about Guadeloupe’s flora and fauna, as well as history in a fun and interactive way.
It is also at this garden where I found my favourite restaurant on the island. With a magnificent view over the ocean, you can let your tastebuds tingle with Creole spices and flavours, while curious birds spy on you from the overhanging trees. (Having a parrot sit on your head is quite an unpleasant feeling but an unusual experience that I treasured.)
Walk in the footsteps of the Arawak Indians, the first inhabitants of the Caribbean region, when exploring the beautiful range of petroglyphs they have left behind at the Parc Archéologique des Roches Gravées.
Stepping into a rum factory is one of the greatest pleasures in my life, and I don’t even like rum! The warm, caramel air engulfs you while you learn about the history of rum-making in Guadeloupe.
Any Death in Paradise fans will be delighted to know that the iconic British-French detective show is filmed in Guadeloupe and… you can stay at the hotel where loads of scenes have been filmed and most of the cast and crew stay during filming: the Langely Fort Royal Hotel. Out of pure coincidence, I stayed at the hotel while the shooting was taking place.
I had never heard of the show before, but after seeing actors throwing themselves into the ocean over and over again and seeing fake St Marie police cars in the parking lot, I put on my own detective cap in order to discover what was going on. Other shooting locations include the Botanical Gardens, the Zoo de Guadeloupe au Parc des Mamelles, and Deshaies church in the centre of town.
La Grande Soufrière is an impressive volcano that reminds its visitors ever so often that they are active. The burning grip that the sulfuric smoke has ahold on you is not made any better by the gusts of wind you are greeted with once you have reached the top. Struggling to get one foot after the other I looked around me and while not much of a view (the entire world was swallowed by fog), a sense of accomplishment and wonder settled in me.
When describing my hike up Guadeloupe’s highest mountain peak La Grande Soufrière, I will have to rely on scent. The hike is fairly easy at first. The smell of rain clutches onto your skin, the tropical fauna reminds you of the vivaciousness of nature. And then the scent of what lies beneath your feet hits you. Sulphur. Strong, nauseating, choking. While not a difficult hike nor a long one, La Grande Soufrière is certainly a memorable one that I can only dearly recommend.
Guadeloupe is an ideal destination for whale watching. On my last day in Guadeloupe, I booked a whale watching excursion through my hotel. A van picked me and some other guests up and drove us to the harbour where we boarded a lovely, little speedboat. Whale-watching sounds like a fun and cute idea, but twenty minutes in, I was barely hanging on! So, if you do not have a pair of sturdy sea legs, I recommend booking a nice and slow sea excursion. However, my sickly disposition did pay off in the end with a rather glorious sight of a mama and baby dolphin following our boat along.
History of Guadeloupe
Before travelling to Guadeloupe, I recommend reading more about its history of colonization and slavery. The colonial legacy of France lives on in Guadeloupe, with many Guadeloupeans demanding repatriations or a chance at independence, instead of apologies and memorials.
Where to stay in Guadeloupe
There are several islands and different types of accommodation in Guadeloupe depending on your budget. Choose from a beach hotel, budget hotel, resort or self-catering accommodation.
If you’re unsure where to stay in Guadeloupe, some of Guadeloupe’s nicest resorts and hotels are at Sainte-Anne on Grande Terre, where you’ll find bars, restaurants and markets. For more nightlife, choose Gosier on Grande Terre, or to visit the jungles and waterfalls of Baie Terre, you may want to stay in the area of Baie-Mahault. Below are recommended eco-accommodation for solos. For all other Guadeloupe accommodation, click on the link below.
Tendacayou Ecolodge and Spa
This spectacular family-run eco-lodge offers grand views of the Caribbean waters while promoting disconnection and relaxation. Offering 12 dwellings, all built from natural and local materials, you can pick to stay in colourful treehouses, relaxing Creole cases, or in bungalows that are situated right by the water’s edge. With no televisions or telephones present, the Tendacayou Ecolodge offers a chance to switch off and relax.
* Check dates, prices and availability: Tendacayou Ecolodge and Spa
Au Jardin des Colibris
The Jardin Botanique de Deshaies also offers stays in amazing wooden cabins and lodges. If you do not want to leave this beautiful, protected wildlife reserve then you don’t have to. The wood that was used to build these traditional huts is PEFC-certified, meaning that the constructions were completed following forestry practices that ensure the protection of resources and the well-being of all parties. Moreover, they have built a coral restoration programme. When guests stay one night or more, a coral is planted with the help of Ocean Quest France.
* Check date, prices and availability: Au Jardin Des Colibris
Day Tours – Viator is an American company and a tour platform with more than 345,000 tours and worldwide activities. Choose from a sailing and snorkelling day tour to Les Saintes, stand up paddleboarding session at Babin Beach, a tour to Carbet Falls and Sainte-Anne Beach, surf lessons and discovery of the seabed of the largest lagoon on the island. There are several to choose from and it’s really easy to use. Read my Viator review or click the link for all their tours.
Getting Around Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe has a good public bus system that will surely get you from city to city, however, if you prefer to get off the beaten track, I would highly recommend renting a car. Bus stops usually have blue signs picturing a bus, but if you are currently exploring a less developed area you can also flag down the bus along their route. Don’t forget to pay the driver when you board. Karu'lis seems to be the biggest bus company that caters to Grande-Terre. Their website offers a good overview of the zones they cater to and itineraries.
While public transportation can be unreliable and taxis are expensive in Guadeloupe, it doesn't mean that renting a car is the only way to explore the islands. If you stay close to Sainte Anne and Pointe-á-Pitre and use the available bus system, you can still enjoy a lovely vacation in Guadeloupe.
Conscious Travel in Guadeloupe
In addition to the 10 ways to be a conscious traveller, there are social impact projects that you can visit on the island to help give back.
The coconut house offers 25 local artisans a chance to display and sell their work. Not only a shop but an eco-museum as well, visitors are shown how coconut trees are versatile and how they are important to local art, beliefs, and economy. This shop is not only educational, but its existence is an important reminder that local artistry and crafts need to be protected. The coconut house also offers various jams, coffees, and teas for visitors who aren’t too excited to squeeze handcrafted objects into tiny suitcases.
L’Habitation is a historical landmark, agricultural farm, and shop that offers its visitors the chance to hike around the beautiful landscape, learn about local plant heritage, and enjoy the locally sourced coffee and cocoa. The site has established many social impact projects such as the ACI Carpentry Workplace Integration Workshop which preserves ancestral know-how and promotes Guadeloupean heritage.
- Can I drink the water? It isn’t advised to drink the tap water outside of the cities so take a water filter flask with you instead.
- Is tipping expected? Tipping in Guadeloupe isn’t common.
- Fixed price or barter? Fixed price.
- Any ATMs? Yes, there are ATMs around the island.
- Which side of the road do they drive? The right-hand side.
- Good for vegetarians? There are a few restaurants offering vegetarian dishes.
- Any Seven Wonders of the World? No.
Map of Guadeloupe
Plan Your Guadeloupe Vacation
Budget – €120 a day
Current Time in Guadeloupe
Capital – Basse-Terre
Population – 395,700
Language Spoken – French
Local Currency – Euro
Do I need a visa? Not as a British Citizen
Lingo – Useful French Phrases
The Best Time to Go – March to August. This weather chart shows the annual temperature for Guadeloupe.
About The Author
Hiya guys, my name is Sara and I am a third-year Anthropology student, who is greatly interested in ethical and sustainable travel. I have seen quite a bit of the world so far and am beyond excited to travel some more (solo, with friends, or family) in the future! Happy reading!
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