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This article was written on 20 Jul 2010, and is filled under To: Guadeloupe.

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Discover Guadeloupe

Welcome to Guadeloupe, a sophisticated island ideal for people who need to get away from the stress of their everyday life. Tropical forests, cascades, and enchanting villages are only a sample of what the island has to offer. Bienvenus à Guadeloupe!

Guadeloupe Les Saintes


The Caribs knew this emerald paradise as “Karukera”, the “island with beautiful waters.” Christopher Columbus spotted Guadeloupe in 1493 and called it Santa Maria de Guadalupe de Extremadura. France took control of the island in 1674, exterminating the Caribs in the process, and renamed it Guadeloupe. The English tried to seize Guadeloupe multiple times, but it ultimately remained a French possession.

Slaves were imported from Africa to work the sugar plantations, and the island flourished. During the French Revolution, Victor Hugues was sent to Guadeloupe to remove Royalist planters and their British allies. The island was recaptured, hundreds of Royalists were beheaded, and slavery was abolished. When the U.S. accused Hugues of attacking their ships, Napoleon dispatched a general to stop him and restore slavery.

A political campaign conducted by French abolitionist Victor Schoelder led to the ban of slavery in 1848, and slave laborers were replaced with indentured servants from India. The island was designated a département d’outremer, an overseas territory, in 1946, and remains a French dependency today. This status has improved the standard of living of Guadeloupe’s inhabitants, but social inequalities remain deep.

Guadeloupe consists of two main islands, Grande Terre and Basse Terre, which resemble a butterfly, and three smaller islands, La Désirade, les Saintes, and Marie-Galante. Most of Guadeloupe’s 440 000 inhabitants are of African descent, but there is also a significant population of French ancestry, the békés. They are the descendants of the island’s slave masters and control much of the economy, causing significant tensions with the poorer Black majority. Because English is not widely spoken beyond the tourist areas, we strongly suggest you learn some French before heading to Guadeloupe. You will also hear locals speaking to each other in Creole.


Guadeloupe’s beaches are decent, but are not the island’s biggest draw. You can find good stretches of white sand along Grande-Terre’s southern shore.

While the beaches are not that great, diving in the peaceful waters of La Réserve Cousteau is an exceptional experience not to be missed.

There are a variety of water sports as well, such as fishing, jet-skiing, windsurfing, and sailing.

There are plenty of land-based activities to keep you busy, such as biking, golfing, and horseback riding. Hikers will enjoy the startling beauty of the Parc National de la Guadeloupe.

Visitors should try Guadeloupe’s excellent Creole cuisine. Partygoers will enjoy the rich nightlife.

You can also shop for some fine French merchandise.

Those who simply want to relax should head to the more laid-back islands of Marie-Galante, Les Saintes, and La Désirade.

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