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Getting Around Guadeloupe

The best way to get around Guadeloupe is by car, which you can easily pick up at Aéroport International Pôle Caraïbes (PTP) in Pointe-à-Pitre (Grande-Terre's main city), as well as popular resort areas. Another option is hailing a taxi, which you can do from the airport or major resort hubs. However, having your own set of wheels makes it easier to explore Guadeloupe's main islands, Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre. If you're planning to island-hop to Les Saintes, Marie-Galante, and La Désirade, you'll need to catch a ferry from Pointe-à-Pitre.

Car

If you want to navigate Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre on your own time, you'll need to rent a car. That said, you should prepare yourself for somewhat challenging driving conditions. You'll come across numerous rond-pointes (roundabouts) which can be difficult to navigate for drivers who are used to traditional intersections. You should clearly signal your desired direction. You'll also encounter tight bends while cruising along Basse-Terre's mountain roads. Exercise caution while driving off of main roads, and expect muddy roadways during the rainy season. Familiar rental companies, including Hertz and Budget, can be found at Aéroport International Pôle Caraïbes (PTP) and popular resort towns. Prices vary by vehicle type, company, and length of rental. You'll score the best deal if you rent a car for the week instead of checking out a new set of wheels each day. If you're planning to visit from December to May (high season), you'll need to reserve a car at least three months in advance.

Taxi

If you don't mind spending a little extra cash on transportation, taxis serve as a hassle-free way of getting around Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre. Taxis are metered, but you should note fares increase by up to 40 percent between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. A taxi ride from the airport to Pointe-à-Pitre should cost approximately €25 EUR (about $32 USD). Prices vary by distance. Another option is calling up one of Guadeloupe's radio cabs (which must be requested by phone) to shuttle you around Guadeloupe. Just be sure you've brushed up on your French before dialing (0590/82-00-00).

Ferry

Several ferry companies offer daily service from Grande-Terre to Marie-Galante, Les Saintes, and La Désirade. Brudey Frères and L'Express des Îles both feature round-trip passage from Pointe-à-Pitre to Terre-de-Haut, the main—and most populated isle—of Les Saintes, as well as to Marie-Galante. For Brudey Frères and L'Express des Îles current fares and schedules, consult their official websites (written in French). Iguana, another ferry company, shuttles passengers to and from Ste-Anne (Grande-Terre) and La Désirade during the high season for about €38 EUR (about $49 USD) round-trip. For a current schedule, call (0590/22-26-31).

Bike

Bicycles are a cheap and reliable way of getting around Les Saintes and Marie-Galante. Bike rental costs around €10 EUR (roughly $13 USD) per day.

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