Guadeloupe holiday planner (part 1)

trip feb 2016

Ever since I first went to Gran Canaria in February some years ago I started realizing how nice it is to get away from cold for a while, if possible in the midst of winter. It’s strange that the thought has never crossed my mind before since it is so obvious but we, Romanians, are not that used with such thoughts and behavior.

With us it’s more in the natural trend where if it is winter you go to ski resorts, if you can afford it, or stay at home and only go to the mall on weekends.

Our European friends from the northern countries are quite used to go to sunny places during January and February but the Romanians who do this seem to be outnumbered by those taking photos in ski resorts.

Do not get me wrong, I love both types of getaways but when the opportunity appeared to put on my traveling shoes and search deep in my pockets for money for an airplane ticket my choice was simple: Guadeloupe was the right choice for February 2016.

sunshine

Where in God’s name is Guadeloupe ? 

Guadeloupe is in France.

True statement but also very confusing because Point a Pitre, Guadeloupe’s main city is 6754,34 Km away from Paris.

So Gaudeloupe is in fact one of France’s “région d’outre-mer” with the same political status, currency and language (arguable) as metropolitan France. The culture, on the other hand is completely different and extremely interesting requiring on site research and a lot of history reading.

Distanta P to PaP

How is Guadeloupe?

Heavenly, I would argue without ever stepping foot there but with plenty of reasons given by my online research and stories of friends that went there for a visit and moved there for good some months later.

Imagine a butterly shaped island ( actually two close islands) in the middle of the blue ocean featuring vulcanoes, jungles, the best beaches, amazing marine wildlife and a life rhythm you cannot possibly imagine on Continental Europe. Picture having as neighbors Cuba, the Dominical Republic, Puerto Rico.

Or even better, think of captain Jack Sparrow running towards trouble or away from trouble in one of his adventures. That’s the place, exactly.

pirates_of_the_caribbean_on_stranger_tides_2-wallpaper-1366x768

Have you started packing yet?

How to get there :

If you’re not rich you have to start one year in advance by saving money. If you are rich you are not wasting time reading this so problem solved.

Once you have the money for an airplane ticket and at least the faint possibility of getting more for the rest of expense you can start looking for airplane tickets.

From Romania you have to be aware that you will need to have at least a stop in a major airport. For instance you can go to Paris and then to Point a Pitre and you can buy the tickets separately for each part of the trip. Spending a night or more in Paris in between flights might be an interesting option.

You can look for deals with Air France, Lufthansa or Air Carriben.

The best deal we could get being a bit pressed by external constraints got us ticket at the mesmerizing price of 700 euros per person with AirFrance.( not too bad and not too good considering the distance)

We’ll fly to Paris ( Charles de Gaulle) get a cab or buss to Orly airport and take the second flight to Point a Pitre. Combined duration of fights: 8h50 for going and 10:20 for the return flights.

Just imagining all that time spend reading books gives me goosebumps.

Where to stay:

I told you before that Guadeloupe looks just like a butterfly ( one with pretty crroked wings, but nonetheless a butterly). The capital, Point a Pitre is in between those wings that are very different in terms of looks or as Wikitravel puts it:

  • Basse Terre: green and lush vegetation, mountainous with a sulphuric volcano.
  • Grande Terre: flat and dry with a lot of beaches, some of them very touristic.
CopiedeCopiedecarte_guadeloupe_grande-carte_web-1

Photo from: skyscrapercity.com

We found it practical to stay in the Grande Terre side, in Gossier, closer to the capital city and the touristic area since the island is not that big and we’ll be wandering around a lot.

The accommodation is not very expensive and you can find good deals on booking.com or airbnb.com. The latter charges a fee for booking but contains many houses in idyllic places, the service seems to be superior and for a longer stay you could be in advantage with them.

Beware, you might look for a nice place by the beach, be deceived by the photos and end up spending your holiday in a shack by the beach, which might be cool or not depending on your standards and expectations. Do not trust the photos entirely and try to read between the lines while looking for the perfect place for you.

What to Do? Everything!

This section was meant to be called what to do, but I thought I may be a lot clearer saying: do everything. Nonetheless, I will also provide some tips that coincide greatly with our plan for the holiday.

You can enjoy the perfect beaches and waves, be lazy and overuse sunscreen but you could do that almost anywhere so I think it is best that you put on your walking shoes or swimming fins and do things that are a lot more interesting:

  Trekking and nature walks:hiker

  • Climb “La Soufriere” the highest mountain peak in the Lesser Antilles: 1467 m; there are many easier ways to get to the top but we chose the hardest: an 8 hours trek through the jungle. I’ll let you know how that will turn out
  • Take a walk to Pointe des Chateaux – 1 to 2 hours long walk;
  • Hike to Chutes de Carbet  – 6 hours trek

Trips and cruises: yacht

You can find one night cruises from Guadeloupe to Martinique, Aruba and Barbuda or  Dominica.( I saw quite nice offers starting from 150€, transport and accomodation included); For offers go to: Kiosquedesiles

Chosen method of transportation in between the islands :  l’expres des Illes :

Seside fun:

snorkelSnorkeling and diving are a must in Guadeloupe and everywhere around. For an unforgettable adventure book a flight from Guadeloupe to Grenada and dive in the underwater museum;

If time and money are too short for Grenada you can find a lot of local agencies willing to help you ( more info HERE)

Nightlife and day life fun:

For the full list of the events in Guadeloupe in 2016 go to the official Antilles site.

Mingle with the locals at the Carnival if you plan to go there in February – as we’ll do. Take plenty of photos and enjoy the music, the dancing and the spirit of the place.

That’s all for now, I’ll be back to tell you about the estimated costs, what to pack and other useful information I am still working on.

Yours trully, Logo final

 

 

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