Whether by water or flying, it is quite easy to travel around the West Indies and all the other islands of the archipelago. Inland, a good quality road infrastructure makes driving easier, whether on a bus or by car.
By sea, there are regular crossings to the dependencies and nearby islands. In Guadeloupe, you leave from the darse de Pointe à Pitre to go to les Saintes, Marie-Galante, and Désirade, and from Trois Rivières to go to Les Saintes, and from Saint François to go to Marie-Galante and Désirade. So Marie-Galante and Les Saintes are served several times a day. The uninhabited islands are only accessible through specialized tourist companies.
By plane, several plane companies share the sky of the Carribean. Small local companies such as Air Caraïbes or the LIAT ensure exchanges with the dependencies of Saint Barth and Saint Martin and the small islands. The national company Air France links Guadeloupe and Martinique to Cayenne, Haïti, Puerto Rico, and Miami.
Inland, the coach is an essential and pittoresque means of transport for visitors. The « taxis pays » belong to small private companies and serve all the local areas. But there are no permanent stops or time tables. Here, you just have to wait and hail the bus as it goes by. Also, you must ask the driver to stop and you pay as you get off.
Taxis are mainly found in airports and big towns. The fees are controlled but prices shoot up as soon as you leave the towns, especially when you want to go back to your hotel. Moreover, some taxis are illegal and are asking unbelievable prices. The best thing to do when you reach the West Indies is to choose a travel inclusive holiday formula or rent a car.
Car hire is the best solution for discovering Guadeloupe in the best conditions. Although this solution is the most expensive, faced with the anarchy of public transport, you definitely save time. A French drivers' licence is necessary and the minimum age required is 21. The road infrastructures are very good quality and many agencies are available in the towns and airports. Many small rental agencies offer very competitive prices but the car's condition leaves a lot to be desired and insurance is minimal. If your budget allows it, look for bigger rental agencies with fleets of new cars or speak to your travel agency before you leave.
Guadeloupians like cars and the considerable amount of car registrations which is proportional to the population testifies of this immoderate preference. Up to the point where some routes are regularly blocked at certain hours.
Driving in the West Indies requires a lot of care. Even if the main and secondary roads are in very good condition, in the event of tropical rain falls, the little roads are sometimes littered with chicken and ostridge nests ! Besides, the roads are extremely windy and the driving style in the West Indies which is fast and sportive means you need to take twice as much care. Other dangers do exist such as the many bicycles and mopeds which are often not lit up at night, also the many stray dogs, cows, and goats which haven't been tied up properly along the side of the roads cause swirves and accidents.