Guadeloupe Travel Tips: Ima’s Take on Health, Romance and Safety
Feminine Hygiene Products in Guadeloupe: What’s available/what’s legal/where to buy them?
Tampons and pads are easy to purchase and find. They’re sold in all supermarkets. However, they are more expensive to buy in Guadeloupe than in America and even mainland France.
Birth Control in Guadeloupe: What’s available/what’s legal/where to buy them?
Birth control pills are available at pharmacies with a prescription. Sometimes, even without a prescription you can get them if you bring in your empty pill pack. I didn’t have to deal with this issue myself since I got an IUD before leaving the States. There’s a good article about birth control in France on Pink Pangea. Since Guadeloupe is a French territory, all the same laws apply.
Gynecologists in Guadeloupe: Are there any that you recommend? How, if at all, is a visit different from at home?
I’ve been fortunate to avoid all doctors while in Guadeloupe, so I can’t say how the experience differs. However, overall, I think it may be easier, since France has a national healthcare system. There’s no need to get a referral from your primary care physician, and no worrying over finding a doctor “in-network.”
Breastfeeding in Guadeloupe: What are accepted places for women to breastfeed? Is it accepted to do so in public?
France isn’t as uptight about boobs. I’ve seen women publicly breastfeeding, and no one bothers them.
Dating Locals in Guadeloupe: What are the norms and traditions? What should women look out for?
There’s a bit of a macho culture here that permits cat-calling. An idea of white women being promiscuous French tourists who actively look to have sex with Black men is assumed. As a Black woman, I’ve experienced less cat-calling, and much less aggressive advances than my white compatriots.
Types of Men in Guadeloupe: Describe a few “typical” types of men.
“Rastas” – not just for white potheads with rat’s nest dreads. This term is applied to men who smoke/sell weed, and ride motorbikes. Likely to cat-call and pursue white French women on vacation.
The co-eds – young men who attend the university. I see them a lot on my bus. They dress casually, but very put-together, and don’t bother people.
In Guadeloupe LGBTQ-friendly?
French laws apply to Guadeloupe, which means gay marriage (or civil union) is legal, but there’s still a bias against LGBTQ people. Many people who are LGBTQ meet other members of the community through dating apps. PDA like hand-holding is uncommon.
Women’s Place in Society
Women’s Rights in Guadeloupe: Do women have the same position in society as men? How can you tell?
Women work and go to university, but it’s still common to have children young. I think women are expected to look after the kids, and cook for the family, but that expectation is less among younger generations. I’ve seen more fathers pushing strollers, and walking around with their kids than I do back home.
Local Women in Guadeloupe: What are some clear cultural differences between you and them?
I’m 27, and it seems most of the women my age already have a child. Not much is different other than that.
Women-Specific Environments in Guadeloupe: Are there places where only women are or are not allowed?
Everywhere I went was mixed.
Perception of Foreign Women in Guadeloupe: How do local men/women react to you when you say where you’re from?
I look like a local, so I was mostly treated like one. If they can tell I’m not a native French speaker, they usually assume I’m from another Caribbean island. If I do admit I’m from Texas, people usually look impressed that I can speak French, and are excited that the island is becoming more known outside of France.
White women in Guadeloupe are usually from mainland France and are on the island for vacation. They have a reputation for being promiscuous and specifically looking to have sex with Black men. Because of this perception, white women are pursued more aggressively.
Transportation in Guadelopue: Any forms that are safer/less safe for women to take?
Hitch-hiking is dangerous. I know some women that hitch-hiked quite a bit and were safe, but they still had to fend off men who asked them for sex and threatened to take them back to his house.
Buses are pretty safe, but renting a car is the best option in terms of safety and convenience.
Dangerous area/s in Guadeloupe: Any specifically for women?
I’ve been told Pointe-à-Pitre is generally unsafe, specifically for women, at night. During the day it’s fine. One particular area, Carénage, is known for prostitution. Even during the day, a man in a car tried to pick me up as I waited at a bus stop in that area.
Clothing in Guadeloupe: What to wear/what not to wear?
Young women wear a lot of bright colors, printed leggings, and form-fitting dresses and tops. Shorts are uncommon.