While coming to the Caribbean we had some expectations about the islands. We believed to see blue water spreading over the horizon. White sand powdery like flour. And exotic birds flying everywhere. And it all happened.

But we can count a few things that really surprised us in Guadeloupe and Martinique during our two months trip. I suppose some of them were also easy to predict, but we didn’t think about it before.

So we were kind of amazed by those habits and facts. Let’s take a look on a list, maybe you’ll be surprised too.

Read more: The Ultimate Travel Guide to Guadeloupe.

A palm tree laying in the water - Caribbean - Guadeloupe - Sunday in Wonderland Blog

1. Huge noise in the night

And I mean all the natural stuff. We came to Guadeloupe in the evening. The night was so dark and so warm, but this was something that we expected.

But when we only left the airport building, we figured out that the air is full of weird sounds of animals and insects. And it was loud. Like really loud.

For a few first nights, we couldn’t get used to this. We had some problems with falling asleep. And the annoying sound of an air conditioner above our heads was not helpful.

For years I’ve lived in the city center, next to emergency service and fire station, so I thought I was used to noisy sounds. But these were different. They were constant and changeless, drilling inside your head the whole night long.

Luckily, after a week, our sound perception changed and we began to fall asleep as usual.

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2. Bus stations with no timetables

I’ve heard before, that public transport does not work the best on the islands.

But actually, I was positively surprised that it was not so bad in Guadeloupe, at least in Grande-Terre. There was a schedule that you could even find on the Internet.

But. When you come to the bus stop there is no schedule at all. You can see there only the information when the bus starts and ends its passage during the day. And not from your bus stop, but from the main station.

So the only thing that you can actually do is to check the main timetable on the Internet and go to your nearest bus station and hope you counted the trip duration in a correct way. Then sit and wait.

That’s actually not the only curiosity about local transport. Check out the whole post about transport in the French Antilles.

A time table schedule in bus stop in Sainte-Anne, Guadeloupe - Caribbean - Sunday In Wonderland Blog
A bus station timetable near our house in Sainte-Anne. Only the first and last bus specified.

3. People saying good morning while passing by strangers on a street

We were surprised at the beginning when totally stranger people were greeting us on the street. But soon we get used to this and started doing the same.

Our first impression was that people were not the kindest here. Remember our story with a mean computer technician? That affected our contact with local people.

Our first neighbor in Sainte-Anne, Guadeloupe, did not help by saying that we need to be careful, especially in bigger cities in the evenings, because if someone would simply don’t like us, he could pull out a machete. He scared me a bit.

But of course, we haven’t met anyone running with the machete. Instead, we’ve met a lot of nice people saying bonjour while passing us by on a street or bon appétit when we were eating a sandwich on a bench.

4. Coconut oil is not everywhere

I imagined that if I would come to the Caribbean island I would be eating coconut oil all the time. And use it for cosmetics, sun protection, and so on. Well, I was disappointed.

I thought the coconut oil will be everywhere. In fact, it is so popular in Poland these days.

Well, in a supermarket coconut oil could be found only on fancy “bio” shelves, and usually only in one variant.

On the local markets, it was not so popular neither. And it was even more expensive than in Poland. 5 EUR for a small bottle of 150 ml is a little bit too much in my opinion.

5. Gaps above walls are something normal

While looking for accommodation in the Caribbean, I noticed a strange thing on the apartments’ photos.

Very often I had an impression that there was space above internal walls. I thought that maybe this was a kind of a mezzanine because the concept of an opening was such a silly idea.

Until I came to Martinique. In our Airbnb apartment, we had gaps above doors indeed.

Not only above doors leading to bedrooms, but also to the bathroom and a toilet. And even above the front external door. It does not ensure privacy, in fact. But creates a pleasant air circulation during the hot day.

And by the way, wanna have a 23€ discount for Airbnb for your first stay? Click below and grab it!

A gap above door in apartment in Martinique - Caribbean - Sunday In Wonderland Blog
All doors in our apartment in Martinique have a gap like this

6. People sing to themselves in public spaces

Another thing that confirms that people in the Caribbean are more carefree than in Poland for instance.

A few times we saw people singing songs while walking the streets, selling goods on the local market or preparing food in a restaurant. It could really make your day.

7. Local fruits and vegetables are expensive

Before coming to the islands, I knew that Guadeloupe and Martinique were expensive lands. They are part of France and separated by the Atlantic Ocean from the mainland. So it’s obvious most of the imported products will have high prices.

But the prices of local food, like fruits and vegetables, were a surprise to me. I thought it would be much cheaper, but in fact, sometimes they were more expensive here than in Poland or even France.

A local pineapple in a local market in Martinique could cost… even 9 EUR. It’s a lot for one fruit. Luckily, we could buy a cheaper one in a supermarket, but coming from Costa Rica. And you know… It’s not something that we expected to do here.

8. Gathering of coconuts from palm trees on public streets

Apparently here this is something as normal as cutting the grass. A coconut falling from the height could be dangerous and hurt someone really much.

So few times we saw services gathering the coconuts from the trees in public spaces, so the promenades and sidewalks would be safe. I suppose those coconuts are used later on to produce the coconut water and jams.

A man gathering coconuts from a palm tree in Sainte-Anne, Guadeloupe - Sunday In Wonderland Blog
A morning view from our terrace in Sainte-Anne, Guadeloupe

Never-ending surprises

Even if some of the above surprises in the Caribbean are negative, we had a lot of positive too.

Some of them teached us something. Like patience in case of bus timetables. And that not every person singing a song while doing grocery shopping is crazy.

With every surprise it comes knowledge, so we still want more!

And what was your biggest amazement? Tell in a comment!

Wanna know more about the Caribbean islands? Check out those articles:

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8 things that totally surprised me in the Caribbean 8 things that surprised us in the Caribbean

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