Clothing and Attire in Guadeloupe

Travelers may find themselves needing to stay warm, cool, or dry in Guadeloupe

Photo credit: © Karen Struthers |

Guadeloupe Clothing

While beachwear and swimsuits prove to be the most important articles of clothing for many Caribbean vacationers, when you visit Guadeloupe you will need a considerable spectrum of attire in order to stay comfortable.

Both Grand-Terre and Basse-Terre have a number of beaches, although travelers may flock to the more secluded beaches on quiet Marie-Galante and Iles des Saintes. Regardless, travelers will want to pack beachwear and swimming attire in order to enjoy time in the refreshing Caribbean waters. Sun glasses, sunscreen, and hats help to protect vacationers from the effects of the strong Caribbean sun, while a pair of sandals or flip flops will keep feet safe and clean. Guadeloupe's only clothing-optional beach is located at Pointe Tarare in Pointe des Châteaux. Topless sunning, however, is quite common throughout the country. Topless locals will cue travelers as to whether the practice is acceptable at a specific beach.

Eco-tourism activities are abundant on undeveloped Basse-Terre, so travelers should also consider packing active wear and hiking gear. Durable and waterproof hiking boots can be invaluable during arduous rainforest hikes, as can long pants and a rain jacket. Travelers should always carry a bug repellent that contains DEET to ward off pesky and sometimes infectious mosquitoes. Higher elevations and cooler winter evenings may call for a light sweater or jacket.

Beachwear and other revealing pieces of clothing should not be worn beyond the hotel pool or beach when vacationing in Guadeloupe. Wearing this sort of attire in shops, restaurants, cities, and towns is likely to cause considerable offense to the locals. Travelers should wear casual but neat clothing made of light fabrics that breathe in the Caribbean heat and humidity. Cotton and linen are the best choices. Dinner time dress is slightly more formal, with pants and collared shirts for men, and casual dresses for women. Jackets are rarely required, although travelers who will be dining in upscale restaurants or conducting business should consider packing one.

Though the style in Guadeloupe today is as modern as what you are likely used to back home, the traditional dress of the islands are quite different.  Much of the islands' population was once comprised of slaves, and it was common for slave women to wearing their owners old garments, slightly altered to fit their bodies.  They had la travailleuse, or work clothes, and la Rob di chan’m, their nicer, and less often worn dressing gowns.  Hats were commonplace as well, with men donning straw hats, and women coming up with more decorative creations.   

With the island's general emphasis on comfort, travelers should not find it hard to dress the part while vacationing in Guadeloupe.


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