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Key Info

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Free, Neighborhood/Area, Shopping Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 3.0Food Scene
  • 3.5Atmosphere

Shoppers looking for discounted French wares – including perfumes, scarves and cosmetics – should head straight to Pointe-a-Pitre, Grande-Terre's largest city. If you're arriving in Guadeloupe via cruise ship, you'll likely stop here first as Pointe-a-Pitre is the main port of call for many cruise ships. The streets are narrow and almost always jam-packed during the day, so you'll want to arrive early to beat the rush of fellow shoppers. Apart from perusing the eclectic array of stores lining the waterfront, you'll also want to stop by the Marche Couvert, a vibrant marketplace surrounded by Rue Frebault, Rue St-John Perse, Rue Schoelcher and Rue Dublessis. The colorful market stalls sell everything from aromatic spices, to fresh papaya to locally woven fabrics.

If you have any interest in French architecture, you'll also want to stop at Rue de l'Eglise to admire the bright yellow Cathedrale de St-Pierre et St-Paul, which recent visitors said is worth a look. The cathedral showcases elaborate metal buttresses that look as though they could've been taken off the Eiffel Tower. Pointe-a-Pitre is also home to Memorial ACTe, a history museum that showcases exhibits on the Caribbean slave trade and indigenous people.

Most shops open their doors every day except Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; after a lunch break, they re-open from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Most shops also close Saturday afternoons and holidays; however, when large cruise ships dock at the city's major port, shop owners stay open longer. Though this area bustles during the day, it's nearly deserted at night and best avoided by tourists after dark.

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More Best Things To Do in Guadeloupe

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#1 Parc National de la Guadeloupe (Guadeloupe National Park)

Tucked amid Basse-Terre's verdant mountain landscape sits the Parc National de la Guadeloupe (Guadeloupe National Park), a 74,100-acre rainforest filled with picturesque traces (walking trails). The park's trails brush past lush forest foliage, magnificent waterfalls and the summit of La Soufriere volcano. The trails range from short- to long-distance routes that vary in difficulty. Before you strap on your hiking gear, you'll want to pick up a "Guide to the National Park" brochure from the Guadeloupe tourism office (located in St. Claude, Basse-Terre) to map out your journey. If you would prefer to admire the park's natural splendors from behind the wheel, drive along the Route de la Traversee, a scenic 16-mile road that cuts through the forest.

Recent travelers recommended packing bug spray and snacks for the trip and said there is plenty to see and do in the park. Reviewers also warn that the park is muddy – plan to wear shoes with good traction.

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