Travel By Fingertip...Guadeloupe

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& Precipitation

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Guadeloupe Profile

Guadeloupe, sister island to Martinique, naturally shares certain traits with its sibling: a dormant volcano (La Soufriere), a vast rainforest park, and a colorful heritage tinged with tragedy. But just as true sisters emphasize their differences, these two are rivals as well as mates, with Guadeloupe the undisputed rebel. For if Martinique is an Edith Piaf - passionately, even melodramatically French - Guadeloupe is a Josephine Baker, exotic verging on the risque.

This island flaunts its fiercely Creole identity - and nowhere more proudly than in its cuisine. Some say that Guadeloupe - not dignified St. Barts - is the Caribbean's culinary star, for here more than 200 restaurants celebrate the hotblooded marriage of French cooking with the heady spices once shunned by privileged palates. In fact, many seasoned visitors claim that, despite the brief daily rains, Guadeloupe shines brightest in August, when islanders turn up the heat for La Fete des Cuisinieres, honoring their beloved women chefs.

Guadeloupe is also distinguished by its twofold topography; shaped like a butterfly, it actually consists of two islands joined by a bridge: Basse-Terre, the rugged mountainous half, and Grande-Terre, a land of gentle hills and sugar fields with a shoreline of soft white sand (don't let the names confuse you; they're based on nautical orientation, not elevation). Where beaches face the Atlantic, they are pounded by bracing surf and a hazardous undertow; for clients who like to mix their sunbathing with lazy laps in the sea, choose resorts that face the gentler Caribbean.

Pointe-a-Pitre, though not the island's capital, is its vivacious urban heart; travelers who like to rub shoulders with the locals will revel in the chaotic street markets, a dazzling hurlyburly of colorful crafts and flowers mingled with native relics and lore, including the ever-present "obeah", witchcraft Guadeloupan-style. Though Pointe-a-Pitre does boast an ancient cathedral and colonial fort, its overall feel is modern; chief attractions are boutiques and discos, not genteel cobblestoned lanes.

Virtually all sports are widely available, and in most hotels and night spots informality prevails - to a fault, some complain. But whether your clients want the vibrant Riviera life-style of sleek Gosier, the sleepy charm of a jungle-snug plantation inn, or a heart-of-darkness car safari through the roller-coaster interior, chances are they'll find their dream vacation somewhere in Guadeloupe's 530 square miles of nirvana


Degrees (F)


January 73-83 2.5
February 72-82 1.3
March 73-84 1.6
April 75-100 2.3
May 76-100 4.3
June 78-86 2.3
July 78-86 3.8
August 78-87 3.5
September 77-87 3.7
October 76-86 4.4
November 74-84 3.8
December 74-83 3.7