Guadeloupe, an overseas territory of France located in the French West Indies, comprises a number of islands with resorts and shopping alongside unspoiled natural terrains. With so much to see and do on these beautiful islands, travelers should conduct plenty of research to learn how to make the most of their trip.
The nation of Guadeloupe, the largest island in the Leeward Island chain, is made up of a number of small islands, including Grand-Terre, Basse-Terre, Iles des Saintes, La Désirade, and Marie Galante. The two primary islands, Grande Terre and Basse-Terre, are separated by a thin canal and together form a butterfly shape. Both Marie Galante and Iles des Saintes are located just south of the main islands, while La Désirade is located to the east. All of these island are reachable by ferry.
French culture enthusiasts are likely to be aware of Guadeloupe, as it blends the refinement and zest of French culture with the flavor and spice of Creole and Caribbean cultures. Other travelers may first learn about this island nation by listening to the experiences of a friend or coworker. It may take just one story about scuba diving or dining in Guadeloupe to pique your interest. These firsthand, trustworthy sources can give you advice on areas to avoid and what attractions or beaches that they enjoyed the most. Business associates may give you the inside tip on a great restaurant or sea excursion. Whatever first interested you in Guadeloupe is likely to drive you to look for more information about vacationing there.
The Internet is the most popular and powerful research tool available to prospective travelers today. Comprised of a database of millions of Web sites, the Internet allows researchers to quickly locate useful information regarding nearly any topic. It also gives travelers contact information, such as email addresses and phone numbers, for retrieving more information. As high speed Internet connections becoming increasingly available, researches can find information at their own leisure in the comfort and privacy of their own homes. Travelers may be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of Web sites and information that has been gathered on the Internet, and some sites will prove less relevant than others.
Many researchers will begin their search for helpful information by using an Internet search engine such as Google or Yahoo. Internet users can enter search terms that will search for Internet sites with relevant content. These searches are likely to yield a number of different sites. Among the sites most likely to be relevant to researchers will be tourist offices, Internet travel vendors, online directories, and message and bulletin boards. Travelers may also utilize the search engines available on the Web sites of many travel magazines that address Caribbean or island travel. These magazines may store online databases of their articles. Travelers can use search terms to search online archives and find articles that provide information regarding Guadeloupe.
This Internet travel guide site strives to equip researchers and travelers with a wealth of relevant and valuable information regarding the islands that make up the nation of Guadeloupe. Travelers can browse through a diverse array of information to learn about everything from the excellent yachting facilities to the local postal service. The navigation bar allows travelers to see what subjects are covered and quickly jump to information of interest.
While reading the library of information that is available on this site may exhaust a researcher, travelers who still seek more information can turn to official Web sites sponsored by tourist boards and offices. Tourist offices are invaluable resources of official information and can provide news on tourism related industries and events. Most sites will have information ranging from travel tips and key facts, to information on air travel and rental cars. The Tourist Board of the Guadeloupe Islands (http://www.lesilesdeguadeloupe.com/) has a Web site that includes information on St. Bart's and St. Martin, as well as plenty of information regarding Guadeloupe. In addition, travelers can consult The Tourism Portal of the French West Indies (http://www.antilles-info-tourisme.com/) for a wide array of information addressing Guadeloupe and the islands that make up the French West Indies. One final tourist board to consult is the Caribbean Tourism Organization (http://www.onecaribbean.org/). This site serves as a community for Caribbean tourism and provides news and information on tourism related events.
While most researchers who are comfortable with the Web use Internet travel vendors in order to book their travel, these sites can also be excellent resources during the research stage of travel planning. Prospective travelers can search through long lists of hotels, airfare, rental services, and tours and activities in order to form an idea of what is available on the island. By looking at hotel listings, travelers may learn which areas of the island have the types of accommodations that they are interested in. Nature enthusiasts may want to choose a quiet hotel on Basse-Terre, while tourists interested in luxury and shopping are likely to choose a hotel on Grand-Terre. Researchers can also learn about activities and amenities available on the island by learning about the kinds of of tours and excursions that hotels and travel vendors offer. While these sites will prove most useful during the booking stage of your planning, Internet vendors can provide helpful information during the research phase, as well.
Once travelers have begun to plan their travel and accommodations, they will need to learn about attractions, businesses, services, restaurants, shops, and entertainment options. Internet yellow pages and online business directories can give travelers long listings of phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, and Web sites for a variety of Guadeloupe's businesses and services. Whether travelers want to book an excursion or tour before they travel, or compile a list of restaurant phone numbers to call during their trip, these sites give travelers contacts that can help them to enjoy their vacation on the islands. Travelers should always try to verify important numbers, such as emergency contact numbers, hospitals, and other services, with official sources.
The final Internet resources that travelers are likely to find while conducting their online information search are message and bulletin boards. These online communities give travelers a place to ask questions and share their experience of Guadeloupe. Researchers and former travelers can post questions and messages to be viewed by the board. Active message boards will have a number of other users that respond to posts. These forums allow researchers to see traveler opinions on hotels, restaurants, tours, sites, and more. While the advice of those who have visited the island can be quite useful, travelers should be cautious when taking advice or information from unofficial sources on the Internet. Sources on bulletin boards can only offer their opinion, and are not official representatives of the tourist board of Guadeloupe. Important information related to health and safety should be researched through official sources such as a tourist board or embassy or consulate. Travelers should never divulge personal information to others over the Internet.
Prospective travelers who want to consult paper-based resources can turn to their local bookstore. The magazine rack is likely to have several publications that cover general travel, as well as Caribbean or tropical climates. While it can be difficult to find current issues with information directly related to Guadeloupe, feature articles may have information relevant to traveling in the region. Advertisements may also give travelers ideas for hotels or activities.
The travel guide section of the bookstore is another good place to look for information. Travel guides may cover general regions, such as the Caribbean, or specific countries, such as Guadeloupe. Caribbean travel guides will often have short chapters on each island and will provide useful information for general travel in the region. Specialized guides focusing on Guadeloupe will provide in-depth information, reviews, journals, contacts, advice, and more. Researchers should spend time looking through a number of these travel guides, as they often cater to different types of travelers. Vacationers to Guadeloupe who plan to enjoy eco-tourism on Basse-Terre may wish to find a book that focuses on adventure and nature excursions. Travelers who wish to spend time on the more developed and touristy side of Grand-Terre should find a book that caters to that type of vacation. It can also be useful to purchase a book to use as an accessible and trustworthy guide during a trip.
Guadeloupe offers much to foreign visitors. Travelers can learn about all of the exciting possibilities and experiences that await them on these Leeward Island, from eco-tourism to fine dining and French culture.
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