General Info, Travel Info, & FAQs are provided to assist with your vacation.
ATMs Not all ATMs in the Caribbean operate like those in your home country. Some may only accept a four digit PIN number, so if yours is longer you may want to change it before your trip. Ensure you keep your travel money in your primary chequing account as some ATMs default to this account and will not allow you to choose another. Withdrawal fees are generally much higher outside your home country.
The main banks are Banque des Antilles Françaises (tel 05 90 93 16 52), Banque Française Commerciale (tel 05 90 25 19 50), BNP Paribas/Banque Nationale de Paris (tel 05 90 90 58 58), Bred Banque Populaire (tel 08 20 33 64 71), Caisse d'Epargne de la Guadeloupe (tel 05 90 21 63 00), Credit Agricole (tel 08 20 80 08 71), GIE Crédit Maritime des Antilles (tel 05 90 21 08 40) and the Société Genèrale de Banque aux Antilles/SGBA (tel 05 90 21 27 60). ATMs, called GABs (guichet automatique bancaire), are located at their branches and at various locations around the island. They dispense euros.
BANKING AND BUSINESS HOURS Banks In general banks open Mon, Tue, Thurs and Fri 8am-12/12:30pm and 2pm-4pm, and Wed 8am-12/12:30pm. Some may open slightly earlier and/or close slightly later. Some banks have branches that open Sat, generally 8am-12 noon.
Post Office The main post office in Pointe-à-Pitre is open Mon-Fri 6:45am-6pm and Sat 7:30am-12.
CHURCHES/RELIGIONS Predominantly Roman Catholic and Hindu. Jewish, Muslim, Seventh-day Adventist, Baptist and Jehovah's Witness also represented.
CURRENCY AND CREDIT CARDS The local currency is the euro (€ or EUR). Paper money comes in denominations of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500 bills, and coins in 1¢, 2¢, 5¢, 10¢, 20¢, 50¢, €1 and €2 pieces. Most shops, hotels and restaurants accept major credit cards, particularly Visa, as well as traveller's cheques.
To ensure hassle-free purchases during your trip, you may want to contact your credit card company and let them know you will be travelling abroad.
EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS American Express: lost or stolen card, 336/393-1111 (call collect); lost or stolen cheques or cheque cards, 44 20 73 65 48 46 (call collect to the UK) Discover Card: 801/902-3100 MasterCard: 800-1561 Visa: 410/902-8022 (call collect) Western Union: no agents in Guadeloupe
DEPARTURE TAX A departure tax of about $22 is included in your airfare.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS Citizens of Canada, the US, the European Union, Switzerland and Norway require a valid passport. For stays longer than 90 days a visa is also required. All visitors must also have an onward or return ticket.
Nationals of other countries may require a visa. For more information consult your nearest France consulate/embassy.
Note: As of January 8, 2007, all persons travelling by air to the Caribbean, Mexico and Bermuda will require a valid passport, Air NEXUS card or US Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document to enter and/or re-enter the United States in accordance with the US Government's Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. For more information visit the US Government's Bureau of Consular Affairs website at www.travel.state.gov.
Some countries require single/lone parents or other adults travelling alone with children to provide documents showing evidence of parental/custodial and/or access rights, and/or documents authorizing consent from the parents, legal guardian, and/or the court for the children to travel. Parents of adopted children, particularly those of a different nationality, should carry the proper documents.
NEAREST FOREIGN REPRESENTATION British Embassy: 33 1 44 51 31 00 (France), 05 90 82 57 57 (emergencies only; Honorary British Consul, Pointe-à-Pitre) High Commission of Canada: 246/429-3550 (Barbados); 613/996-8885 (collect to Ottawa) US Embassy: 246/436-4950 (Barbados), 596/596 75 67 54 (US Consular Agency, Martinique)
As of November 1, 2006
British pound sterling
European Union euro
HEALTH STANDARDS There are a number of hospitals and many clinics with good-quality medical care. The main hospital, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) de Pointe-à-Pitre (tel 05 90 89 10 10), located in Abymes, has a hyperbaric chamber. Additional hospitals include the Centre Hospitalier Général Intercommmunal Basse-Terre Saint Claude (tel 05 90 80 54 54) in Basse-Terre, Centre Hospitalier Maurice Selbonne (tel 05 90 80 49 00) in Bouillante, Centre Hospitalier Louis Daniel Beauperthuy (tel 05 90 80 59 59) in Pointe-Noire, Centre Hospitalier Sainte-Marie (tel 05 90 97 65 00) in Grand Bourg and Hôpital Local (tel 05 90 86 75 13) in Capesterre-Belle-Eau on Marie-Galante Island. There are also plenty of pharmacies around the island.
Doctors may not speak or understand English, and advance payment may be required. Your home medical program may not provide payment for medical services outside your home country. Obtaining adequate medical/travel insurance, including air ambulance coverage, and consulting a physician or travel medicine specialist six to eight weeks prior to your trip to determine health risks and necessary vaccinations is recommended.
Emergency phone numbers: - SAMU, 15 (urgent medical care service/Service d'Aide Médicale Urgente at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Pointe-à-Pitre) - Police, 17 - Fire, 18 - Ambulance, 87 65 43 - Sea Rescue, 71 92 92
ILLEGAL ITEMS There are strict penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs, and strict regulations for exporting or temporarily importing firearms, medications and certain plant and animal specimens.
LANGUAGE The official language is French, although most people also speak Creole patois. Some English is spoken in tourist areas.
POSTAGE There are numerous post offices throughout Guadeloupe. In Pointe-à-Pitre they are located on Hanne Blvd (tel 05 90 89 46 20), Lauricisque (tel 05 90 82 63 00) and Bergevin (tel 05 90 82 63 35). Additional branches are located at the Pole Caraïbes International Airport (tel 05 90 21 12 12); Le Bourg (tel 05 90 99 52 39) in Terre de Haut; Gé né ral de Gaulle Blvd (tel 05 90 22 58 60) in Le Gosier; Schoelcher Pl (tel 05 90 85 39 10), Durivage (tel 05 90 47 16 10) and Douville (tel 05 90 88 24 11) in Sainte-Anne; Ste Aude Ferly St (tel 05 90 85 39 60) in Saint-François; Bourg (tel 05 90 28 54 78) and La Boucan (tel 05 90 28 91 91) in Sainte-Rose; Gerville Ré ache St (tel 05 90 92 70 41) inTrois-Rivières; and Elie Vidocin St (tel 05 90 97 45 60) in Capesterre on Marie-Galante Island.
Hours vary but the main post office in Pointe-à-Pitre is open Mon-Fri 6:45am-6pm and Sat 7:30am-12 noon. Besides post offices, stamps can also be purchased at some newsstands and hotel souvenir shops. Airmail to North America can take one to two weeks and to the UK, two to three weeks. Courier service is also available.
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS Jan 1 New Year's Day Mar (varies) Mi-Carême or Mid-Lent Mar/Apr (varies) Easter Sunday and Monday May (varies) Ascension Thursday May 1 Labour Day May 8 VE Day May 27 Slavery Abolition Day May/June (varies) Whit Monday/Pentecost Monday July 14 Bastille Day July 21 Schoelcher Day Aug 15 Assumption Day Nov 1 All Saints Day Nov 2 All Souls Day Nov 11 Armistice Day Dec 25 Christmas Day
SHOPPING HOURS Shops are generally open Mon-Fri 8am-12 noon and 2-6pm. They are usually closed on Sat afternoons, Sun, often on Wed afternoons and on public holidays.
TAXES There is a VAT (value-added tax) of 8.5%. Hotels and other types of accommodation add a tourism tax to your bill. It is fixed by the local authority and varies from €0.15 to €1.50 per person per day with exemptions and/or reduced rates for children.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS The phone system on Guadeloupe is modern and cellular and Internet services are available.
The country code is 590. Local phone numbers have 10 digits. All phone numbers start with 05 90 (eg, 05 90 XX XX XX) and all cell phone numbers with 06 90 (eg, 06 90 XX XX XX). To make local calls and calls within the French phone system dial all 10 digits. To call Guadeloupe from North America dial 011 + 590 + local nine-digit number (the 0 is omitted for calls originating from overseas). To call North America from Guadeloupe dial 00 + 1 + area code + local phone number.
France Télécom (tel 10 14) provides telecommunications services for Guadeloupe. There are few if any phone booths that accept coins. Télécartes phone cards are available at post offices and other local agents for use in Télécom phone booths.
For more information see the section in FAQs: Can I use my calling card from here?
Orange Caraïbes (tel 05 90 38 13 00) and Digicel (tel 59 65 96 42 09 00, French Guiana) provide cellular roaming services. Check with your service provider to see if they have a roaming agreement with one of these companies.
TEMPERATURES Temperatures vary between 73°F in winter and 90°F in summer. The rainy season is July-Jan.
To obtain the weather report dial 08 92 68 08 08.
TIME ZONE The island is on Atlantic Standard Time year round, which is four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During the summer the time is the same as on the east coast of North America and during the winter, the time is one hour ahead.
Disclaimer: Information is provided as a service to visitors and is updated regularly. All
information should be verified prior to travel.