A June 1990 trip
to Guadeloupe by Robert Raymond Ingledew
Quote: All French territories in the Caribbean are beautiful: Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Martin, and even continental French Guiana (Cayenne) in South America, a rolling area. Probably the island that fascinated me more was Guadeloupe, and especially Gossier.
GUADELOUPE: I am not familiar with all the island, since I nearly always stayed at Gossier, a very attractive beach, in my opinion. Hotels were not expensive. Most were three-star hotels with nice swimming pools; small, secluded beaches; beautiful turquoise water; and white sand. I really enjoyed each business trip I made to the island and would be willing to volunteer for any company that wishes to send me there for a couple of weeks. The Creole Beach Hotel seems a good option to me. I found food rather expensive (but not outrageous), and not as good as food in Argentina, but that is my personal opinion, and you may think differently. The cost of a meal can average around , including beverages. On the other hand, depending on the season of the year, you can find reasonably priced hotels. I paid some for a three-star hotel, but that was a long time ago, and prices could have varied. Hotel rates start now at per night, and most hotels, like the Creole Beach, cost slightly over per night. The island of Guadeloupe is divided into two parts, and I only visited the main island. I have seen by photos that there are beautiful waterfalls in the other part of the island. But even for what I saw, Guadeloupe, and especially Gossier, deserves a visit.
MARTINIQUE: This is a more populated island. I stayed at a budget two-star hotel near the beach, but got to see the Sofitel that was near, and that is a beautiful hotel. The whole area is very pleasant, although I prefer the scenic views of Guadeloupe. By what I see now, most hotels in Martinique cost per night or more, but I spent less than . I suppose it depends on the season of the year. The Sofitel (five stars) is charging some per night.
ST. MARTIN: I stayed on the Dutch side of the island (Philipsburg) at the Maho Beach Hotel. Rates for this hotel start at per night. This island is beautiful. It is full of mountains (not very high, however) and everything looks so green. I visited the French side (Marigot) and enjoyed it. It also has very nice beaches. If I had to choose, I would say Guadeloupe or St. Martin. Enjoy your trip to the Caribbean.
Nothing is cheap in French territories, so you will have to be careful with your money. Hotel prices drop during the low season, and the whole year round this area is beautiful. I would just choose a nice beachfront hotel and stay there. I remember once I took a taxi to the other side of the island and spent over ...but that is up to you.
Being islands with an important population, I imagine there must be regular bus services. And these should not cost too much.
But my Tahiti experience may be useful here: A small Coke at the Matavai Hotel was costing , but a couple of blocks away at the supermarket I could buy a liter of pineapple juice for . So I used to have lunch at the hotel and dinner in my room, with pineapple juice and ham sandwiches. Otherwise, I would not have survived the whole week.
One important difference between the islands and Cayenne is that although the landscape is quite similar (rolling area), water is not completely clear in the sea at Cayenne; it is too near where the Amazon enters the sea.
Robert Raymond Ingledew
Villa Carlos Paz (Cordoba), Argentina