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Guadeloupe or Costa Rica?

Gb
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Guadeloupe or Costa Rica?

For the last two years my wife and I along with my cousin and her husband have rented an apartment in the Caribbean for three weeks in February. It makes a welcome escape from the British winter. Last year we went to Antigua and the year before that Barbados. We are all retired (>65) and like eating well, generally lazing around by the pool or on the beach and doing a bit of sightseeing.

We are now planning our next years holiday and fancy going somewhere with a different language/culture. At the moment we can't make up our minds between Costa Rica and Guadeloupe.

Is there anyone out there with experience of both places who can help?

Rgds Ian

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11 replies to this topic
Toronto, Canada
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1. Re: Guadeloupe or Costa Rica?

personal opinion the food is way better in Gwada...but cheaper in Costa Rica.

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Shaker Heights, Ohio
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2. Re: Guadeloupe or Costa Rica?

A point to ponder ... when you mention lazing by the beach. Guadeloupe, to my knowledge and experience, has absolutely NO beach clubs or lounge chair rentals outside of hotels. The public beaches have restaurants, with a WC, but strangely they make no effort to induce people stay for the day and set them up and serve them comfortably on the beach itself. It’s certainly not that way in St. Barth, St. Martin, or even in a few places in Martinique. Frankly, it’s almost as if Guadeuopians are completely oblivious to how their French West Indies compatriots (occasionally), and Anglo/Hispanic Carribean neighbors (regularly) utilize their beaches for tourism. “Lazing” for me signifies a chair, an umbrella, a few servers/bartenders and facilities all at a single place — so that one need only arrive with some Euros in your pocket and hours to kill. I suspect you will not and generally cannot find that off-hotel on Guadeloupe — which is generally geared toward a domestic/metropolitan French market that is by all appearances satisfied laying on the sand with towels, with limited amenities, and disregarding queues at some understaffed beach shack.

Edited: 17 May 2018, 14:50
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Washington DC...
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3. Re: Guadeloupe or Costa Rica?

Of course some of the things that Gruver mentions are precisely what some folks find enticing about Guadeloupe. It is definitely not as dependent on tourism as many of its neighbors, and it does not cater to mass tourism. But if you want the type of experience that Gruver describes, there are hotels that will let you use their amenities even if you are not staying there. For example, Langley Fort Royal offers a day pass, and the gorgeous beach in front of the Club Med is open to the public (and from my experience you can slip in and use the Club Med facilities and bars without a hassle). I think it just depends on what type of experience you are looking for. Lastly, if you like France and/or a continental European vibe, Guadeloupe has that (along with a mix of its own local culture).

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Boston
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4. Re: Guadeloupe or Costa Rica?

I agree with Radio that we go to Guadeloupe because of the open beaches that are not clogged with beach chairs and bar music, but to each his own.

Along the same lines I believe Costa Rica has many more high end villas and hotels if that is your thing.

Obviously the big difference is French or Spanish, although Costa Rican tourist culture is probably better described as U.S. with a Spanish accent at this point.

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Plymouth, United...
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5. Re: Guadeloupe or Costa Rica?

Very many thanks for all the replies. Great food for thought in our decision process.

Once again VMT.

Rgds Ian

PA
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6. Re: Guadeloupe or Costa Rica?

I can totally chime in on this AFTER we visit Guadeloupe this summer. But I do want to say: we LOVED Costa Rica and in fact chose Guadeloupe because we feel we can have a similar-yet-different experience there.

For me, the main draw of Costa Rica is the diversity of landscape. You can drive from the Caribbean to the Pacific in a day's time (you shouldn't, but you COULD). There are mountains and rainforests and all kinds of beaches. There's something like 70% of the earth's biodiversity present in such a tiny country. It is truly amazing. But in a two-week visit, we 'lazed' on a beach exactly once, and it was the kind of beach described above--one with zero facilities, and we took towels (I think we took towels? We may have just literally laid on the sand.) Costa Rica is known for adventure travel, and while we didn't do the zip line/jungle adventure thing as we were on a budget, we for sure did a lot of hiking and waterfall visiting and hot springs hunting. That's why most people visit CR. Oh, and the food is also phenomenal. Simple preparations of super fresh food. I cannot say more good things about Costa Rica.

While I'm sure you can pay a large sum for an actual beach resort in Costa Rica, that resort will be far from either of the airports, and it won't really give you a feel for the country. We rented a car and had a blast. Our favorite lodging was in the very touristy town of Manuel Antonio, where we stayed in a hotel built out of shipping containers. It had a pool, but the pool was...not super well maintained. Instead we drove to a local small semi-secret beach and floated about for the day.

However, it was the car rental part that caused us to choose Guadeloupe this time out. When we found a location with a different culture, different language, a good food scene, laid back unspoiled beaches AND well maintained roads, we literally booked a flight. Like right at that moment. Driving in Costa Rica is no joke, and while I still recommend it, we wanted something a bit less stressful.

Either way, I don't think you can go wrong. Happy travel planning! And feel free to reach out in late August and I'd be happy to provide a true comparison of the two.

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7. Re: Guadeloupe or Costa Rica?

Elbodans, I think you are on the right track, with the addition that Guadeloupe is much smaller so quicker and easier to get around, and of course proportionately fewer activities as well, but you can only do so much in a week or two anyway.

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Sainte-Anne...
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8. Re: Guadeloupe or Costa Rica?

My man, Guadeloupe is well know in the caribbean for is wildness attributes (mountains, waterfalls, beaches,...) of course you won't find a place to pay 50$ for a sun bed here LOL. Authentic tourism !!

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Shaker Heights, Ohio
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9. Re: Guadeloupe or Costa Rica?

I actually liked Guadeloupe. My post was intended to forewarn about its lack of comfortable beach facilities in comparison to ... well, just about every beach resort I’ve been to. Caribbean islands routinely boast of their natural landscapes, including beaches, as a draw. The difference being, other islands actually have the tourist infrastructure to meet expectations. There are tourists — in many cases quite a few — on Guadeloupe’s beaches. They’re just less well-served than those on other islands, including all the other French islands. Guadeloupe’s tourism in no more “athuentic” than Martinique’s — it’s just more uncomfortable.

Edited: 22 May 2018, 13:51
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10. Re: Guadeloupe or Costa Rica?

Have you folks not been to the Big Island of Hawaii? Yes, there's a few tourist areas, but the vast majority of the beaches are wild....no chairs, no food, no lifeguards. Our family loved it, And it was inexpensive.....all these beaches were free. HOWEVER, there are dangers. You must talk to locals and watch them on the beaches. If everyone gets up and leaves, so should you. There are sharks, bone-breaking "shore breaks" and rip currents that SUDDENLY APPEAR. You must be a bit more alert than on a guarded New Jersey beach, for example. Yet, it's all just beautiful. I've visited Costa Rica (in the non-American flavored public beaches) and loved it. I look forward to visiting Guadeloupe one day!

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