As I write these few lines, it’s been a little more than a month and a half that we moved here, on the island of Guadeloupe. After introducing you to some hiking areas like the Cascade du Paradis in Vieux-Habitants, it’s time to start writing useful articles, articles that will help you see more clearly the organization of your trip in Guadeloupe. So, I’ll start with the basics: how to go to Guadeloupe?
This question may seem silly, but before any trip, vacation, road trip, it’s the first thing we ask ourselves: how to get there? In this article, I’ll present you everything you need to know to travel to Guadeloupe, what are the possibilities from France, from other French speaking areas, other corners or even other islands. In short, every possibility to go to Guadeloupe will be discussed. Of course, this article was first written in French, but I added more information for those coming from the US or Canada.
Because finally, after 4 years of blogging, we still get a lot this question about other destinations. We will also talk about the different options, whether by plane or by boat, as well as the different airlines that fly to the islands of Guadeloupe.
Once this article is finished, I will start a short one summarizing everything you need to know to travel in Guadeloupe during this Covid period. Indeed, this virus is still present in our lives when I write these lines, and not specifying that you have to respect some conditions to travel to Guadeloupe would be a bit silly. As in all destinations, prices vary greatly depending on the season. But this will also be the subject of a new article: when to go to Guadeloupe?
In any case, at the time of writing this article, it is necessary to be vaccinated to be able to visit Guadeloupe as a tourist. Indeed, if you are not, you need a compelling reason to enter the territory and obviously, tourism is not one of them. To follow the conditions of entry on the Guadeloupean territory during the Covid19, you can look at this page on the official website of the Prefecture of Guadeloupe. Here is what it says: “Passengers who do not have a complete vaccination scheme must justify, in order to travel, a compelling reason of a personal or family nature, a health reason of an emergency nature or a professional reason that cannot be postponed“.
You have two possibilities: either by plane or by boat. Of course, unless you are scared to death of flying or have a crazy desire to spend 10 days at sea rather than 8 hours by plane, few people decide to go to Guadeloupe by boat (at least from France, but it’s possible from the US or the Carribean Islands). This is a reality, but you should know that it is still possible, I will talk about it below.
This article being first written in French, most of the people reading it probably come from France, Quebec or any French speaking countries (Switzerland, Belgium, etc.). I will therefore focus on these places.
For your information, there is only one airport, called “Guadeloupe – Pôle Caraïbes Airport”. It was formerly called “Airport of Pointe-à-Pitre – Le Raizet”. In 2019 (before Covid), it was the first overseas airport in terms of passengers (about 2,500,000).
If you want to visit Guadeloupe from France, here is some general information you should know:
- There are three airlines that fly to the island of Guadeloupe: Air France, Air Caraïbes, and Corsair,
- The majority of flights departing from France (Paris) are direct flights, but depending on the season and the company, it is possible to stop over for a few hours in Fort-de-France (Martinique) or Cayenne (Guyana),
- The cheapest and most frequent flights usually depart from Paris airports,
- However, you can find very interesting fares from many provincial cities, including direct flights.
- Air France offers direct flights from both Parisian airports (Paris-Orly and Paris-Charles de Gaulle airports), but none from provincial cities (to my knowledge),
- The airlines Corsair and Air Caraïbes only fly from Paris-Orly airport.
From Paris or its surroundings, you can choose between the three airlines mentioned above. Of course, the rates change and evolve according to the seasons, but they remain more or less identical between the companies. However, do not hesitate to compare rates between them. When we arrived in Guadeloupe, on some specific dates, the prices varied enormously from one day to another. But this is also a general advice that I give very often: avoid, if you can, setting a specific day for your departure, or even a specific company. By being flexible, even if it’s only 1 or 2 days, you can find very good rates.
Depending on where you live, it may be worthwhile to take the TGV for a few hours to fly from Paris, rather than choosing a flight from a provincial city which, in most cases, will offer a flight with a stopover.
Not everyone lives in Paris of course, so you’ll have to adapt. According to my research, here is what you need to remember:
I only found direct flights from two provincial cities to Pointe-à-Pitre: Bordeaux and Lyon. These flights are operated by Corsair. For those living in these cities or their surroundings, it is clearly a good deal and you won’t have to go to Paris. I found direct flights between 350 and 450€ from these two cities. There are of course flights with a stopover in Paris (the dates of direct flights are limited).
For other cities in the provinces, you have several options (in my opinion). Whether it is Bordeaux, Lyon or other large cities, you will always have the same dilemma. You can therefore choose between:
- Doing the first part of your trip by train to get to Paris, and then follow it up with a flight from Paris -> Pointe-à-Pitre. This is sometimes more economical depending on the departure station, but it implies to make sure that you will arrive at your departure airport. Think about it carefully, for example if you go from Montpellier to Paris by TGV, you will arrive at the Gare de Lyon and your flight will leave from Paris Charles de Gaulle – it’s getting very complicated then,
- Finding a flight with a stopover in Paris, which I think is the easiest. I did my research, and whether it is from Bordeaux, Lyon, Montpellier or other cities, you will almost always find flights with a 2 to 4-hour stopover in Paris. The easiest way is to buy the whole trip together and not two different tickets. Ideally, stay with the same company between these two flights. If ever there is any problem with your first flight (delay), the second company will not be held responsible for what happened if you miss the second one. If I look closely, I see that it is very often flights with Air France for a stopover in the capital, since the company offers a large number of flights from provincial cities to Paris airports.
- Also, be aware of your departure city. I’ve looked at an example of Nantes – Pointe-à-Pitre, and I noticed that the majority of the cheapest flights make a stopover in Paris Charles de Gaulle, but the second flight leaves from Orly. So, there is a switch of airport between your two flights, which is clearly not practical, knowing that with the Covid crisis, the “Bus Direct” does not exist anymore and you will have no other choice than taking a cab (about 80€) or the RER B (cheaper but long and tedious with luggage). Be careful to compare the flights in detail!
I’m nice, I also think about all the people who have the chance (so to speak!) to live elsewhere than in France. You can of course come to Guadeloupe from other areas. In a few words (you have the links to see the prices for each departure sector):
- Going from Martinique to Guadeloupe: Air France, Air Caraïbes and Air Antilles Express airlines do the round trips. Prices are around 150€ round trip,
- Going to Guadeloupe from Saint Martin: Air Antilles Express and Air Caraïbes fly to Guadeloupe from Saint Martin. Count between 120 and 160€ round trip,
- Going from Saint Barthelemy to Guadeloupe: only Air Antilles Express serves Guadeloupe. 120 to 140€ return ticket
- Traveling from French Guiana to Guadeloupe: Air Antilles Express and Air France are the only airlines serving Guadeloupe, with prices between 400 and 500€ round trip.
I also wanted to add a few words for French expatriates. Guadeloupe is relatively well connected from abroad. I will not detail all the islands and countries offering flights to Guadeloupe, but I will give you the ones which are I think the most interesting:
- Air France now offers direct flights from New-York and Miami. From New-York, Jetblue airline offers very cheap flight, from less than 300$ from these two cities,
- For Canadians, it is possible to visit Guadeloupe directly from Montréal,
- Belgians can enjoy a flight from Brussels, but with 1 or 2 stopovers,
- Finally, it is also possible to reach Guadeloupe from many Caribbean islands (Antigua, Dutch Antilles, Haiti, Barbados, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic or Saint Lucia).
What a strange idea, you may say! But if you search the Internet what people are looking for, this request comes back quite often – going to Guadeloupe by boat from France. I did a lot of research, and here is what I found, in a nutshell:
- There are cargo boats from several companies that cross the Atlantic Ocean to get to Guadeloupe. I found Mer & Voyages, which offers fares from 1650€, but also voyagesencargo (from 130€/day),
- Count about 10 days of crossing,
- There are also boats between Martinique and Guadeloupe, such as the Express des Iles which offers return tickets from 80€, or the company Jeansforfreedom (from 70€ return ticket).
Here is some useful information that may help you if you are preparing your trip:
- As a French citizen, you do not need a passport to come to Guadeloupe. A valid identity card is enough,
- No visa is necessary if you are French, Swiss or from a European Union country. For the others, you will need a valid passport and a visa may also be required depending on the country,
- Obviously, if you are planning a stopover (for any reason) in the USA, you will need a passport and the famous ESTA,
- No vaccination is required to visit Guadeloupe (except Covid19 for tourist).
Here I am, at the end of this article which explains everything you need to know to go to Guadeloupe, whether it’s by plane or by boat. Normally, all the essential is here. If you see something to add that would be interesting, don’t hesitate to leave a comment!
In the meantime, if you want to start dreaming, I invite you to explore the beautiful Pointe des Châteaux.
See you soon for the rest!