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Guadeloupe travel guide

About Guadeloupe

A butterfly-shaped archipelago in the Caribbean Sea, Guadeloupe is a picture of tropical island idyll – no wonder the French are reluctant to let it go.

Known as Karukera to the original Caraïbe inhabitants, this French overseas region might share the same attributes as other coveted Caribbean destinations – white powdery beaches, vertiginous mountains and dazzling coral reefs – but Guadeloupe’s Franco-Caribbean culture sets the archipelago apart from its neighbours.

Ascribed by Jacques Cousteau as one of the world’s premier diving destinations, Guadeloupe was at the front of the queue when they were giving out natural beauty; from the lofty heights of La Grande Soufrière volcano to the resplendent reefs of the Pigeon Islets, this archipelago is exquisite on the eye.

Comprising eight islands and numerous small islets, Guadeloupe’s varied typography is a big draw for adventure travellers, who come to trek the terrain, ride the waves and cycle through a slice of paradise.

But the archipelago is also a hit with more sedentary travellers, who while away lazy days on sandy shores and quaff rum in ramshackle beach bars to the rousing rhythms of Guadeloupian beguine.

Each island, of course, has its own character, but few travellers have time to visit them all. Most base themselves on one of the two main islands – Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre – which are linked by dense mangrove swamps rich in wildlife.

These two islands are home to Guadeloupe’s main resorts; they are where most of the hotels and evening entertainment can be found; where you can eat at the best restaurants; and fall out of the best bars.

They are also home to the archipelago’s leading historical attractions, including forts, defunct sugar plantations and museums, which, between them, trace the DNA of modern day Guadeloupe and explain how it remains an unlikely member of the European Union.

Key facts

Area:

1,705 sq km (658 sq miles).

Population:

470,547 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

236.8 per sq km.

Capital:

Basse-Terre.

Government:

Guadeloupe is an Overseas Department of France and as such is an integral part of the French Republic.

Head of state:

President Emmanuel Macron since 2017, represented locally by Prefect Alexandre Rochatte since 2020.

Head of government:

President of the Departmental Council Guy Losbar since 2021.

Travel Advice

This page gives you guidance on how to stay safely in Guadeloupe as a visitor, if you are unable to return to the UK.

Everyone should comply with the measures put in place in Guadeloupe to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Guadeloupe.

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Moving around in Guadeloupe

Please check Guadeloupe public health advice for more information from the local authorities and a daily update on the virus in Guadeloupe.

Health

For information on entering Guadeloupe, see Entry Requirements

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health

View Health for further details on healthcare in Guadeloupe.

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Guadeloupe

Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. We will update this page when the Government of Guadeloupe announces new information on the national vaccination programme. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.

The Guadeloupe vaccination programme started in January 2021 and is using the Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines. British nationals resident in Guadeloupe are eligible for vaccination. Further information on the vaccination programme is available on the local Prefecture’s website and the French Government’s website (French language only).

Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.

If you’re a British national living in Guadeloupe, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.

Finance

There is a range of financial support from the government that you can access while you are unable to return due to coronavirus restrictions.

If you’re in Guadeloupe, and have exhausted all other options to cover essential living costs while you wait to return home, you could apply for an emergency loan for your living costs from the UK government. You can only apply if you normally live in the UK and you cannot return home. This last-resort option is for those most in need, and you would need to repay the loan when you are back in the UK. Apply for an emergency loan.

For further UK government guidance on support you can access whilst abroad, visit our waiting to return guidance. This includes guidance on finance, health, and staying connected.

Help and support

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

Further information

See advice on making travel plans to return to the UK, or what to do if you cannot depart immediately.

Crime

Avoid isolated areas, including beaches, after dark.  Do not carry large amounts of cash or jewellery with you. Put valuables and travel documents in safety deposit boxes and hotel safes.  

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Guadeloupe, attacks can’t be ruled out.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Guadeloupe set and enforce entry rules. For further information contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to. You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

All travellers over the age of 11 must undertake a test for COVID-19 within 72 hours before departure for Guadeloupe. The test is obligatory and the traveller must show proof of a negative result before embarking.

Travellers must also provide a self-certified document affirming that they have no COVID symptoms and that to their knowledge they have not been in contact with any person confirmed positive within the last 14 days.

Airlines will refuse boarding to anyone who does not produce both proof of a negative result and the self-certified document.

The French Government has outlined new measures to stem the spread of coronavirus, which also apply to the French Overseas Territories. The local Prefecture website will have details of any further local restriction. Please see the Travel Advice for France for more information on Covid-19.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

Guadeloupe is an Overseas Department of France (département d’outre-mer).

If your passport describes you as a British Citizen, you will not need a visa to enter Guadeloupe. Other British passport holders should check the current entry requirements on the website of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and if necessary confirm with the nearest French Diplomatic mission.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the current visa policy for British Citizens visiting Guadeloupe may change. We’re working with the relevant authorities to clarify entry requirements and this page will be updated as soon as further information is available. If you would like more details in the meantime, or want to discuss a specific issue, you should consult the French Embassy in London. If you’re a British Overseas Territories Citizen passport holder the current visa policy for travel to Guadeloupe will be unaffected by the UK leaving the EU.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required. 

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK ETDs are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Guadeloupe.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Guadeloupe authorities have introduced new measures in relation to coronavirus. See information on how to stay safely as a visitor if you cannot return.

Healthcare

General health care facilities, including emergency services in health service hospitals and the availability of doctors (GPs), in Guadeloupe are very good and of an equivalent standard to those found in mainland France. Specialist treatment is also available.  

UK health authorities have classified Guadeloupe as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

Cases of Chikungunya virus have been confirmed in Guadeloupe and dengue fever is also common on Guadeloupe. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

You should obtain a European Health Insurance Card EHIC before leaving the UK. The EHIC provides emergency health cover for treatment in Guadeloupe by the French state health service for which you will have to pay but you will be able to claim back up to 70% of the costs on your return to the UK. Visitors travelling (or being air lifted) to Guadeloupe from other non-French islands specifically for medical treatment should be aware that such treatment will not necessarily be covered. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

If you are planning a permanent move to Guadeloupe, you consult the UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for advice on long-term entitlement to health care provision under the French national system.  Enquiries should be made to the DWP Overseas Medical Benefits help-line on 00 44 191 218 1999. Alternatively, information can be obtained direct from the English language service of the Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie (French social security service) on 00 33 8 20 90 42 12 or CLEISS (the Helpdesk in France for international mobility and social security - English version available) on 00 33 1 45 26 33 4.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 15 / 18 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

The hurricane season in Guadeloupe normally runs from June to November. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation and the National Hurricane Centre.

See our Tropical Cyclones page for advice about how to prepare effectively and what to do if you’re likely to be affected by a hurricane or tropical cyclone.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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