Guadeloupe is a group of nine islands in the Caribbean with Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre being the two main islands, and an overseas department of the country-France. The first European to land in Guadeloupe was Christopher Columbus, in 1493. He named it Santa Maria de Guadalupe de Extremadura, after the Virgin Mary's image in a monastery in Guadalupe, Extremadura.
Guadeloupe covers a total area of 687 square miles, with 659 square miles being land. The capital city of Guadeloupe is Basse-Terre with a population of approximately 12,750, while its largest city Pointe-a-Pitre has a population of approximately 133,000.
Slavery was abolished in Guadeloupe in 1848. The currency used is the Euro, because the country is an overseas department of France. Guadeloupe's official language is French, but Creole is also common and is considered to be the second language of Guadeloupe.
There is an active volcano in Guadeloupe called La Soufriere, on the island Basse-Terre. Guadeloupe is susceptible to hurricanes because of its location. Hurricanes may occur any time from June through November and the most likely time is during September. Average air temperatures in coastal areas range from 22º to 30º C (72º to 86º F) and in inland areas, from 19º to 27º C (66º to 81º F).
Christopher Columbus discovered pineapples when he visited Guadeloupe and named it 'pina de Indias' which translates as 'pine cone of the Indies'. Guadeloupe’s agricultural industry produces eggplant, bananas, cocoa, gourds, sugar cane, pomegranates, and jackfruit.
There are several fun places to visit in Guadeloupe but the top rated ones include:
- Guadeloupe National Park, Basse-Terre: It was designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, the park records more than one million visitors annually. It has about 100 species of orchids. There are other species such as the black woodpecker, pearly-eyed thrasher, and Lesser Antillean pewee. Another popular things to do in the park is the hike up the volcano
- La Soufrière Hike, Basse-Terre: La Grande Soufrière is an active volcano, which has erupted eight times since 1660. Hikers can climb up the volcano. It is an approximately two-hour climb as long as the weather is clear.
- La Pointe des Châteaux, Grande-Terre: A botanical path leads from the village to a vantage point among great black rocks, which gives a clear view to the islands of La Désirade, Petite-Terre, and Marie-Galante.
- Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin Natural Reserve Boat Tour: Birders can spot species such as kingfishers, herons, pelicans, and frigate birds. You can visit the reserve on a guided boat tour, usually called the Blue Lagoon tour, which includes exploring the mangroves and the Moustique River.
Guadeloupe's famous dance 'biguine' is a Creole dance still performed in colorful costume. All Guadeloupe's islands has excellent opportunities for birding, photography, hiking, and water sports such as swimming, and scuba diving. Guadeloupe also hosts many colorful carnivals and festivals, including the five-day Mardi-Gras Carnival ending on Ash Wednesday.
School is compulsory from ages two to sixteen. Education is highly valued as a means of social mobility. The Université des Antilles-Guyane operates a campus in Guadeloupe.
Christianity is the dominant religion in the country, with Catholics being the majority. Protestant such as Evangelists, Adventists, and Baptists have competed with the Catholic Church for congregations. Many people still believe in the forces of good and evil, spirits and supernatural creatures with powers.
There are over 100 hotels in Guadeloupe to provide you with comfort when you come visiting.