Martinique OR Guadeloupe

Aug 23rd, 2000, 09:27 AM
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Martinique OR Guadeloupe

My companion and I can't seem to decide between Martinique and Guadeloupe. Anyone with advice? Which one has nicer beaches? Friendlier people? (We are both fluent in French) Which one is less commercial? What are the best areas to look for accommodations in (we'd like to be able to walk to the beach and to markets for food, as well as to good restaurants). Any advice would be great!!
Aug 29th, 2000, 10:04 AM
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Hi, Claudia,

I was faced with that question a year ago and decided upon guadeloupe. The reason - Martinique is very cosmopolitan. Guadeloupe was more laid back from what others told me while I was there. Although, it is not as "laid back" as many of the smaller caribbean islands. Point-a-Pitre is a very bustling port and cars are everywhere. French is very helpful as many don't know or don't feel comfortable speaking french. There are actually two different islands of Guadeloupe joined together by a river. Grand Terre has the nice white sand beaches (we liked St. Anne) and basse-terre has the incredible rain forest/mountians/waterfall areas where we did most of our exploring. Also, there are some very beautiful non-traditional beaches to swim at with the mountains as a back drop...but the nicer white sand beaches are on Grand terre. For a great side trip, visit one of the small islands like iles des saintes or marie galante. They will give you a much more laid back "caribbean feel" for contrast to the main island. In fact, we spent a night on one and had a nice quiet time.

I would suggest to split your time staying on the rain forested basse terre side and then ending with a stay on one of grand terre beaches. Next time, I would like to stay in the rainforest more than just day trips...its very beautiful!

We stayed at the Sofitel on Guadeloupe which is in the Gosier area. It had a small, but picturesque white sand beach and the grounds and our delux room was very nice! It is probably the second most expensive place to stay on the island and recommend it but I am sure there are other more reasonable hotels. St. Anne has a club med in the St. Anne area (which was our favorite beach for the "beach scene" and long white sand beaches. I am sure there are other hotels in that area. St. Francis, with a lot of beach activity (most stay here) has several hotels to choose from...the nicest is La cocateraie but $$$$, the rain forest side is quite a long drive from here (2 - 3 hours) so day trips are a lot longer!

We had a great time. Even if my french wasn't all that great! And, we only ran into one other American the whole 9 days we were there! Most are French or other European tourists. Don't read the posts from cruise ships that come to these islands. They dock at Point-a Pitre, which isn't an outstanding looking town, and spend time in the expensive, rude port shops...but the inside of guadeloupe is much different...much better.

Hope this helps!
Oct 20th, 2000, 06:21 AM
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Hi, jbrrok - I am debating between 2-3 destinations for summer. i have 2 questions re:Guadeloupe. First, do you know anything about the cost to take the ferry over to Dominica? Second, do you fly directly into Guadeloupe? I cannot find any itineraries out of BWI, JFK, or Newark. Where did you fly out of/into? What is the airfare rate like? Thanks!
Oct 20th, 2000, 01:12 PM
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Hi, priley!

Regarding air, we fly out of omaha, ne which isn't all that convenient, so I don't think I could give you comparable prices, but I can say we spent about $950 leaving from Omaha, then to dallas, then to san juan PR, then to Guadloupe. I know you can take direct flights to San Juan from the northest and onto Guadeloupe (about a 2 hour flight).

We did not travel to Dominica, but heard good things about the island (although no beaches). I really can't remember if there are ferries to Dom, and how much but I know you can take fairly cheap puddle-jumper flights over to the island...around $100 - 120 round trip.

What other locales are you looking into, perhaps I can tell you how Guadeloupe compares to the others! What are you looking for in a vacation?
Oct 20th, 2000, 05:46 PM
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We are looking at Guadeloupe, Ireland ( either the southwest or northwest - we were in Kerry 2 summers ago & loved it!), Portugal (may save that one for fall) & Dominica. We like just about everything except crowds & we don't spend a lot of time shopping. We like anything outdoors, historical homes/sites, museums, & locals!
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