Nestled in the Lesser Antilles, Guadeloupe is an undiscovered gem! I really cannot even begin to describe the beauty and love this country has to offer. Being a French territory, it does not see as many American tourists as the other more popular Caribbean islands such as Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. It also uses the Euro since it an official department of France. But that doesn’t mean you should write this country off just yet. Guadeloupe may not be as budget-friendly as the more popular islands but I’m here to tell you that it’s very possible to travel Guadeloupe for 75 USD per day per person (based on double occupancy). This archipelago of islands is split into 2 main islands connect by a bridge and 3 smaller outlining islands, one of which boasts the most beautiful bay in the world, Les Saints Bay. So do I have your attention yet? Continue reading to learn how to see this magnificent country on a budget.
If you have been reading my blog then you already know I am a big advocate for using Airbnb to save money on lodging while traveling. While spending 8 days in Guadeloupe I was able to spit my time between the two main islands, taking day trips to the others. On Grande-Terre which is the island boasting long stretches of white sand beaches I opted to stay in the budget hotel, Résidence Tropicale. I must admit I was a bit apprehensive about booking the hotel because the price was so affordable and it was a bit out of the way in Le Moule, which is about 45 minutes from St. Anne. The price seemed too good to be true. But thankfully, to my surprise, it was everything I could have hoped for. At 70 USD per night, it was a steal! I also checked the Airbnbs around the area and found them to be of comparable prices. My tip for finding lodging would be to stay outside of the major tourist cities and drive into them when needed. The island is small and you can get almost everywhere in 1.5-2 hours. On the island of Basse-Terre, we opted to stay in a beautiful Airbnb in the Chemin de Fontarabie area. This location was in close proximity to the must-see beach of Deshaies, an only a 1.5-hour drive to Trois Rivieres.
Speaking of driving, my next tip will probably save you the most…… RENT YOUR CAR MONTHS IN ADVANCE!!!!! Especially if you require an automatic as most cars on the island are manual. I made the mistake of waiting till we arrived to try and rent a car and ended up paying almost double! This blew my 75 USD per day budget out of the water but had I not procrastinated, I would have easily come in under budget. We rented our car from Jumbo Car and although their website is in French, it is still very easy to navigate. If needed, a translator like Google iTools can be used.
Now, assuming you want to see other islands you will have to factor in ferry costs as well for transportation. Your hotel or Airbnb host should have coupons which can bring the cost down to around 20-25 USD per person depending on where you are sailing to. The islands are walkable but you may want to rent a local scooter or ATV to get around quicker. If done right (i.e. eat major of meals at home or locally) this can be included in your 75 UDS per day budget and the surrounding islands can easily be explored in a day for each. There are TONS of scooter and recreational vehicle places to rent from on the island and the prices are pretty much standard for the entire island. So pick whatever rental place has the shortest line and head off!
The last and most varied portion of anyone’s budget is food and alcohol. Are you someone who must eat out at 5-start restaurants and drink top shelf cocktails daily? Well, then this budget isn’t one for you. Dinner at an upscale sit-down restaurant can run anywhere from 40-70 USD per person and a specialty cocktail will average 8-12USD. This will shatter your budget quickly. Instead, choose local eateries and food trucks. These meals run about 8-12 USD per person and the local beers are about 3 UDS and liquor at about 5 UDS per shot. You will find the most delicious food and drinks at the local shops anyway………. And, I mean the food is DELICIOUS……. like most islands in the Caribbean. Also, take advantage of the kitchenette set in your room to cook breakfast. This will cut your cost significantly.
Since most of the sites to see are free and outdoors you won’t spend much money on excursion unless you decide to do some things out of the ordinary like renting scooters and ATV’s (which I did both). This will also alter your budget a bit but it’s easy to compensate for the expensive excursions by cooking more meals at home, maybe pack your lunch instead of eating out.
By utilizing these tips, you will be able to stretch your money the furthest without compromising on your vacation experience. Check out my blog on Must-See Attractions In Guadeloupe, for tips and ideas on planning your vacation. With Norwegian Air’s nonstop flights to Guadeloupe at such great prices right now, I see no reason to miss out on this spectacular country.
The prices below are total prices for two people.
Résidence Tropicale, Grande-Terre: $238 (4 nights)
Airbnb, Basse-Terre: $159 (3 nights)
Budget Car Rentals: $350 (7 days)
*Usually much lower. If booked in advance estimate closer to $140/week
Groceries (Breakfast): $50 (7 days)
Lunch and Dinner: $200
Saint- Francios to La Désirade: $25 (with coupon) $3o without
Trios Riveres to Terr-de-Haut: $20 (with coupon) $25 without
*Prices are subject to change.
Gifts and Alcohol
Misc travel gifts: $25
*Increase alcohol if you plan to drink more then 5 days a week at about 2-3 drinks per person.
Day Excursions Transportation
Scooter in Les Saints: $35/ two people
4 Wheeler in La Désirade: $50/ two people
Total: $1352 USD (8 days)
$84.5 per day per person
*We came in over budget due to procrastinating to rent our car and drinking more then average.