Guadeloupe or Guadalupe?

When I tell people I live in Guadeloupe, they often think that means Mexico. Interestingly, there are a number of towns and an island named Guadalupe (pronounced “gwa da loo pay”) in Mexico (and other Spanish-speaking countries), and I’m not sure which one they’re thinking of.

In any case, I don’t live in Mexico: I live in France.

More specifically, I live in the French overseas department of Guadeloupe (pronounced “gwa deu loop”), an archipelago featuring a butterfly-shaped island located between Montserrat and Dominica in the Caribbean. Gwada, as locals call it, is just as French as Provence and Alsace, but separated from l’Hexagone (mainland France) by the Atlantic Ocean (just as Hawaii is separated from the rest of the United States by the Pacific).

With all the articles being written about Guadeloupe since the launch of low-cost, direct flights from the US, I suspect the confusion won’t last much longer. I’m sure all of the Guadalupes are lovely places, but Guadeloupe is my forever home. :-)

Wrong Guadeloupe!

The mistake persists on the Discovery channel’s Shark Week, which refers to Great Whites of Guadeloupe. In fact, they’re the Great Whites of Guadalupe.

And I recently discovered another mix-up: NASA (yes, that NASA) labeled their map of Guadeloupe as Guatamala.


Note: Up until 2015, 90% of Guadeloupe’s tourists were from mainland France. This means that French is the official language and English is not yet widely spoken. To make the most of your trip, I recommend that you learn French.

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