Yacht Charter in Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe is an archipelago located in the eastern Caribbean Sea at 16°15'N, 61°35'W. It comprises five islands; Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, La Désirade, Les Saintes and Marie-Galante. Guadeloupe offers all the types of yacht charter; bareboat charter, skippered and crewed yachts, catamarans, sail and motor and super yacht charter. One-way options are available, perhaps to St. Martin, Antigua or Nevis and St. Kitts.
Raizet International Airport has daily flights to and from major cities in France and the USA. The Euro is the official currency. Major credit cards are accepted in hotels, restaurants and shops. There are ATM in all the cities of Guadeloupe and in the marinas.
Basse-Terre is renowned for its waterfalls, mountains, rain forest, and world-class diving venue. The largest of the island's three marinas is at Bas du Fort with 1000 berths, approximately 100 of which are available for visiting boats. It is located 10 minutes from the airport and 5 minutes from the town of Pointe-à-Pitre. The marina caters for all types of boats up to 130' long. It is a full service marina with weather service information, shower facilities, fuel, water, shore power, chandlers, supermarkets, bars and restaurants.
Grande-Terre, famous for its white sandy beaches, cane fields, rolling hills, and resort areas. The Atlantic coast of Grande Terre is surrounded by coral reefs. This is probably not a must on your charter itineracy as the beach itself may be disappointing with many tidal pools and shells. There are no trees to offer protection from the sun and swimming is not. Plage de Bois Jolan is a long beach that stretches from St. Anne to St. Francois and is known as a family beach. At the St. Anne stretch there is a moderate amount of shade and an abundance of white sand. There is a fee to use the beach. It is by no means secluded or isolated, the town is directly across the street, and every amenity you can imagine is available here. Just west of town is St. Francois, with its small local beach and minimal amenities. The wind here is steady and there is plenty of shallow water for kids to wade in. This is also a great windsurfing beach.
La Désirade is the least developed and the least visited island of the archipelago. Its 200-year history reaches back to its origins as a leper colony. La Désirade has a desert like terrain, with coconut and sea grape trees lining the coast. The north side of the island has a rocky coastline with rough open seas, but the southern side is more inviting with white sandy beaches and reef protected waters. The main village is Grande-Anse, which has a small church with a flower garden. Le Souffleur is a boat-building community, and at Baie Mahault, you'll see the ruins of the old leper colony. The best beaches are Souffleur, a tranquil oasis near the boat-building centre, and Baie Mahault, a small typical Caribbean beach with white sand and palm trees.
Marie Galante is located approximately 22 nautical miles from Guadeloupe, it is renowned for its unspoiled beaches and idyllic bays. Explore the island on foot along the many hiking trails. There is also very good scuba diving and snorkelling amongst the coral reefs.
Iles des Saintes is a cluster of eight islands, two main islands and six rocks. It is off the beaten path. Terre-de-Haute is actually the main attraction and the most interesting. The main settlement is Le Bourge, a single street that follows the curve of the harbour. It is a charming and sleepy village. The quaint houses are embellished with gingerbread trim, colourful doors and balconies. The historic ruins of Fort Napoleon date back to the 17th century, when the navel encounter of “The Battle of the Saints” took place. The underwater world of Les Saintes has been the host to famous divers such as Jacques Cousteau. The least qualified diver can experience the beauty of the multicoloured reefs and the captivating underwater grottos. Pigeon Island is the home of the Jacques Cousteau’s marine sanctuary, and a must see for the divers.
Guadeloupe is an overseas department of France and one of the twenty-six regions of France, an integral part of the Republic. Being part of France, Guadeloupe is also part of the European Union and its currency is the Euro.
Christopher Columbus became the first European to land on Guadeloupe in November 1493, seeking fresh water, while making his second voyage to the Americas. He named it Santa María de Guadalupe de Extremadura, after the image of the Virgin Mary at the Spanish monastery of Villuercas, in Guadalupe, in the Spanish autonomous province of Extremadura.
The French took possession of the island in 1635 and wiped out many of the Carib Amerindians. Over the next century the British seized the island on several occasions. One indication of Guadeloupe's prosperity at this time is that in the Treaty of Paris (1763), France, having been defeated in war by the British, accepted to abandon its territorial claims in Canada in return for British recognition of French control of Guadeloupe.
1790 saw a dispute between French monarchists and those loyal to the French revolution. Victory went to the monarchists and they declared independence in 1791. In 1793, a slave rebellion started, which made the upper classes turn to the British and ask them to occupy the island. Britain attempted to seize Guadeloupe in 1794 and held it for only one month when French retook and freed the slaves who revolted and turned on the owners of the sugar plantations. Napoleon sent a force to suppress the rebels and reinstitute slavery, approximately 10,000 Guadeloupeans were killed in the process of restoring order to the island.
In 1813 Guadeloupe was ceded to Sweden as a consequence of the Napoleonic Wars. A year later Sweden left the island to France in the Treaty of Paris of 1814.. French control of Guadeloupe was finally acknowledged in the 1815 Treaty of Vienna in 1815. Slavery was abolished on the island in 1848 at the initiative of Victor Schoelcher.
Today the population of Guadeloupe is mostly of African origin with an important European and Indian active population. Lebanese, Chinese and other origins are also present.
Guadeloupe's culture is probably best known for the islanders' literary achievements. Well known writers include; Saint-John Perse, the pseudonym used by Alexis Léger, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature for 1960; Maryse Condé, Ernest Pépin and Simone Schwartz-Bart.
Painting and sculpture are also important. The following are of repute; Roger Arekian, les Frères Baptiste, Claudie Cancellier, Michelle Chomereau-Lamothe, Christian Bracy, Jean-Claude Echard, Léogane, Pédurand, Nicole Réache, Michel Rovelas, Victor Sainsily.
Guadeloupe enjoys many local dance styles including the quadrille "au commandement", zouk, zouk-love, toumbélé. Typical Guadeloupean music includes la biguine and gwo ka à la base. Many international festivals take place in Guadeloupe, like the Creole Blues Festival, Festival Gwo-Ka Cotellon and the Marie-Galante Festival.
Guadeloupean dress is distinctive although now worn only on special occasions. Women dress on many layers of colourful fabrics with a madras scarf tied in many different symbolic forms, like the "bat" style, or the "firefighter" style, as well as the "Guadeloupean woman".
The economy of Guadeloupe depends on tourism, agriculture, light industry and services. It also depends on France for large subsidies and imports. The traditional sugar cane crop is slowly being replaced by other crops, such as bananas, which now supply about 50% of export earnings, christophines, cocoa, eggplants, gourds, guinneps, giraumon squash, jackfruit, monbin, noni, paroka, pikinga, plantain, pomegranates, prunecafé, sapotilla and yams. Guadeloupe is still dependent on imported food, mainly from France.
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Ken Jones runs a guide to Yacht Charter Vacations
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