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2Fltravelers

Our Port Day in Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe

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We arrived at 8am on a Tuesday and were scheduled to depart at 3pm. We decided to independently explore this port. There was not a lot of information available on CC or other sites but I did find some interesting things to do in the port.

 

First, let me say that this is not a port with much infrastructure. It does not seem that English speaking cruises stop here very often and most residents have limited if any English speaking ability so it can be a challenge. I do speak some French and had a translation app on my phone so I was able to communicate fairly well in most instances. We were on a HAL ship and the cruise director told us this was her first time in this port. We found that information for independent passengers about available transportation options, etc.was very limited.

 

We got off the ship at 8:15am and planned to start our day at the Memorial ACTe Museum not far from the port. It opened at 9am and I read that it was easy to walk or to take a taxi. Well, a taxi was easier said than done. The only taxis inside the small port area would only provide tours, not transportation. So we walked outside the gate expecting to see taxis. There were taxis but they only/wanted to provide tours. Finally, a drive said he would take the 4 of us for 10 euros each. Insane! We never saw an independent taxi anywhere while in port and we looked!

 

We walked back into the port and talked to someone at the information desk. She gave us a map and told us it was an easy 20 minutes walk. So, armed with the map, we exited the port and walked to the right with the water on our right side. We finally found some signs which directed us the rest of the way. We passed The Yacht Club where we had noon reservations for lunch. We also passed Marche de la Darse , the main fruit, vegetable and fish market on the seafront which was interesting, especially watching the gutting and cleaning of the freshly caught fish that morning. It is open 6am-2pm Monday-Saturday.

We arrived at the museum at 9:30am (opens at 9am Tuesday-Saturday and 10am Sunday/closed on Monday). It has a commanding presence on the seafront on the site of a former super factory. There were a few people ahead of us on line which took a long time as there was only one person selling tickets and one person giving out the audio headsets which are included in the price of admission. Admission is 15 euros per person with a senior discount if over 65 and they take credit cards. All bags (backpacks, purses, etc.) must be put in a locker available for no charge. The ticket counter will give you a “slug” for the locker and you take the key with you. A docent will explain how to see the museum before going inside. The museum follows the discovery of the Caribbean by Europeans, the rise of the slave trade and the history of slavery and its final abolishment in the Caribbean. The focus was not specifically on Guadeloupe though there was a great deal of information on the island. The English audio guide was quite good and seemless to use. It automatically starts when you enter an area and stops when you leave. There is no need to press any buttons. We spent about 90 minutes in the museum which was very interesting and worth the visit. We did not visit any other areas of the museum such as the research library, cafe, museum shop as we had a limited amount of time in the port. The exterior of the museum is exquisite. It reminded me of the Bird’s Nest from the Beijing Olympics of 2008. The view of it from from our cruise ship coming into Pointe-a-Pitre was breathtaking.

We left the museum at 11:30am, walking back toward the port in the same direction. When we were back at the Marche de la Darse we noted the main plaza across the street, Place de la Victoire. We retraced our steps past the market to The Yacht Club next door where we had a reservation at noon for lunch. What a disaster! The service, the food, the rudeness and the attempt to overcharge us just ruined what could have been a lovely lunch since there is a beautiful view of the seafront and the museum. Save your money and find somewhere else to eat.

When we finally (after a horrible hour and 45 minutes) left the restaurant, we walked across the street and down Rue St John Perse to the Marche Saint-Antoine. There is an open-air pavilion known as Central Market where vendors sell spices, produce and local arts and crafts. Most of the items were spices with uninspiring crafts and local items, many of which looked mass produced. I did find a man making baskets from palm fronds. I bought one for 5 euros which was a bargain and I saw him make it. That’s a local craft!

After 30 minutes, we walked back to our ship following Rue Peynter which leads directly to the port. Once at the port, there were a few stalls selling products but nothing we were interested in. We boarded the ship at 2:30pm.

There are a few other small museums in town as well as a cathedral. Most passengers walked to the market, looked around, had a drink and walked back to the ship. Others took ship tours about which I heard mixed reviews.

In sum, we enjoyed the museum and were happy that we took the time to walk there and see it. As for the rest, there is not much else to do or see without leaving the city. Considering the limited port time, I would only take a ship sponsored excursion to venture out of the city as I would be concerned about the reliability of the private tour vans offering tours.

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Thanks for the nice write up.

 

What was the length of your cruise? Did you leave from Port Everglades?

 

Was there anything mentioned about excursions related to the BBC series Death in Paradise?

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Thanks for the nice write up.

 

What was the length of your cruise? Did you leave from Port Everglades?

 

Was there anything mentioned about excursions related to the BBC series Death in Paradise?

 

 

We were on an 11 day cruise out of Port Everglades. As for DIP, I did not check it out. You can always contact the cruise line or check the excursions page for the port.

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Thanks so much 2Fltravelers for taking the time to review Guadeloupe. We will be there on Christmas Day with the MSC Divina and had no idea what to do there. I do speak French passably but had a terrible experience in Martinique last year. It seems these French islands just don't cater to tourists.

You have basically convinced us to go with the ship's excursion. I will give you my review when we get back.

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Thanks for posting this. We will be in Guadeloupe in a few weeks and this is exactly what I was hoping to do. I appreciate the details you provided ( walking as oppose to taxi) and the scheduled hours and cost for the museum.

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