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Guadeloupe - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Guadeloupe due to damage caused by Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag-snatching, occurs, including by thieves on motorcycle. There is an increased risk of criminal activity at night, especially in the old town centre of Pointe-à-Pitre, which is a port of call for Caribbean cruises. Do not carry large amounts of cash or wear expensive jewellery. Leave your passport and other travel documents locked in your hotel safe. Never leave personal belongings, such as money, credit cards, cell phones and other electronics, in your rental car or unattended, especially on beaches.
Avoid deserted beaches and unpopulated areas after dark. Check with local authorities to determine which beaches are safe. Do not walk alone at night.
Demonstrations and labour strikes occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media. Strikes may occasionally interfere with services.
Many roads, though paved and well-maintained, are narrow and winding. Night driving can be dangerous, especially in the mountains and on rural roads. There are no streetlights. Be prepared to pay tolls around roads leading to the sea.
Bus services are available in most major towns but operate only during certain hours. Ferry services provide transportation to the islands that make up Guadeloupe. Taxis are safe but expensive and must, by law, contain a working meter. Rented vehicles are available.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Learn more about foreign domestic airlines.
If you intend on hiking:
- never practice these activities alone or venture off marked trails;
- buy travel insurance that covers medical evacuation;
- ensure that you are in top physical condition;
- ensure that you are properly equipped and well-informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard;
- sign up for the Registration of Canadians Abroad service; and
- obtain detailed information on hiking routes before setting out.
Ensure that your travel insurance covers such activities as scuba diving and sailing, should you decide to rent equipment or take classes.
Pointe-à-Pitre, the capital, is a cruise-ship stop. See Advice for Cruise Travellers for tips to ensure your well-being during a cruise.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the French authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Canadians are required to present a passport that must be valid for at least three months beyond the date of expected departure from Guadeloupe. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days
Long-stay or residency visa: Required for stays more than 90 days
Professional visa: Required
Student visa: Required
A Schengen visa is not valid for visits to French overseas departments such as Guadeloupe.
Other entry requirements
An onward or return ticket and proof of sufficient funds for your stay on the island are required to visit Guadeloupe.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world.
Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in the Caribbean, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in the Caribbean. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher for children, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently an outbreak of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a viral disease spread through the bite of an infected mosquito that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. Protect yourself from mosquito bites, particularly around sunrise and sunset. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Zika virus infection
Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. The mosquito that spreads the virus is found here.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites and other diseases spread by insects.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in some areas in the Caribbean, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Medical services and facilities
Good-quality medical facilities, including hospitals and clinics, are available and offer good medical care. Not all doctors speak or understand English. Payment in advance is often expected. Ensure you have adequate health insurance coverage for the duration of your visit to the islands, as well as accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment. Consult Well on Your Way—A Canadian’s Guide to Healthy Travel Abroad for more information.
If you use prescription or over-the-counter medication, bring a supply to last your entire trip. Do not expect to obtain prescription or over-the-counter drugs in local stores or pharmacies in Guadeloupe.
A hyperbaric chamber is available at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Pointe-à-Pitre/Abymes.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Guadeloupe is a French overseas department.
Canada and France are signatories to the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in France to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and French authorities.
You may drive in Guadeloupe with a valid Canadian driver’s licence for up to 20 days. After that period, you must have an International Driving Permit. The legal driving age in France and its territories is 18, although many rental car companies require drivers to be at least 25 years of age and have two years of driving experience.
The use of seatbelts is mandatory.
Children under 12 are not legally allowed in the front seat.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
French customs authorities may enforce strict regulations for Guadeloupe concerning temporary import or export of items such as firearms, medications and animals. Contact the Embassy of France to in Canada or a French consulate for specific information regarding customs requirements.
If you plan to marry in Guadeloupe, be certain that you have all of the required documents before leaving Canada. Consult Marriage overseas for more information.
If you are interested in purchasing property or making other investments in Guadeloupe, seek legal advice from appropriate professionals in Canada and Guadeloupe before making commitments. Disputes arising from such activities could be prolonged and costly to resolve.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in France.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of France, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
Learn more about travelling as a dual citizen.
The currency is the euro (EUR). Hotels, larger restaurants and car-rental agencies accept most credit cards. Automated banking machines are common across the island. All the banks and most hotels exchange traveller’s cheques and foreign currency. There are also exchange desks near the arrival areas at seaports and Pointe-à-Pitre International Airport.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
The local prefecture is responsible for public safety on the islands comprising Guadeloupe. For more information, consult Les services de l’État en Guadeloupe (French only).
Volcanoes and earthquakes
Guadeloupe is located in an active seismic zone. Earthquakes and tremors have occurred. The Grande Soufrière volcano is active and located on the south side of Basse-Terre island.
The hurricane season extends from mid-May to the end of November. During this period, even small tropical storms can quickly develop into major hurricanes.
If you decide to travel to a coastal area during the hurricane season:
- know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks
- be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
- stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
- carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
- follow the advice and instructions of local authorities
Hurricanes Maria and Irma
On September 19, 2017, Hurricane Maria passed through Guadeloupe as a major hurricane, and on September 6, 2017, Hurricane Irma swept Guadeloupe as a major hurricane. Both storms caused significant damage to the island, and recovery efforts are ongoing in some areas, particularly the southern part of Basse-Terre and the archipelago Îles des Saintes. Check with your travel agent, tour operator or airline to confirm hotel conditions before travelling.
Dial 112 for emergency assistance.
There is no resident Canadian government office in Guadeloupe. Canadians can obtain consular assistance and further information from the Embassy of Canada in Paris.
Paris - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Paris, France, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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