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By Rental Car -- You may want to rent a car on Guadeloupe so that you can explore Basse-Terre; the loop around the island is one of the most scenic drives in the Caribbean. Car-rental kiosks at the airport are open to meet international flights. Rental rates at local companies may appear lower, but several readers have complained of mechanical problems, billing irregularities, and difficulties in resolving insurance disputes in the event of accidents. We recommend reserving a car in advance through Hertz (tel. 800/654-3001 in the U.S. and Canada, or 590/21-13-46; www.hertz.com) or Avis (tel. 800/331-1084 in the U.S. and Canada, or 590/21-13-54; www.avis.com), both of which are headquartered at the airport. Many of the major hotels also have car rental desks. You'll have to pay a one-time airport surcharge of 20€ and VAT (value-added tax) of 8.5%. Prices are usually 20% to 25% lower between March and early December, excepting July and August.

Driving is on the right-hand side of the road, and there are several gas stations along the island's main routes. Because of the distance between gas stations in outlying regions, try not to let your gas gauge fall below the halfway mark when driving outside of the capital.

By Taxi -- You'll find taxis when you arrive at the airport, but no limousines or buses. From 7pm until 6am, cabbies are legally entitled to charge you 40% more than the regular fare. Some taxis in Guadeloupe have meters, although the driver will either activate them or not, depending on a complicated set of parameters involving the time of day, your destination, and his whim, even though fares are technically regulated by the French government. If the taxi you're about to enter doesn't have a working meter, always agree on a price before getting in. Approximate fares are 30€ from the airport to the hotels of Gosier, or about 20€ from the airport to anywhere within Pointe-à-Pitre. Taxis can be contacted throughout Guadeloupe by calling Radio Cabs at tel. 590/82-00-00. It's possible, but very expensive, to sightsee by taxi. Usually, the concierge at your hotel will help you make arrangements. Fares are usually around 200€ for a 7-hour day for up to four passengers.

By Bus -- Small buses link almost every hamlet to Pointe-à-Pitre. However, you may need to know some French to use the system. In Pointe-à-Pitre, you can catch a bus from the following departure points: If you're going anywhere in Basse-Terre, you'll depart from the Gare Routière de Bergevin. If the northern half of Grande-Terre is your destination, catch a bus at the Gare Routière de Mortenol. For the southern end of Grande-Terre, the buses depart from the prolongement (extension) of the Marché de la Darse. Infrequent and somewhat erratic service is available daily from 5:30am to 7:30pm. There is no direct bus service from the airport to Pointe-à-Pitre. To travel the entire island would cost around 5€. Many visitors find it easier, especially when they first arrive on Guadeloupe, to take a taxi.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.