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Choosing a car for Basse Terre

Charlotte, North...
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Choosing a car for Basse Terre

I'll be visiting for several days in January, and I'll be spending the majority of my time on Basse Terre.

I don't care about car amenities, and I will be traveling solo, so my first instinct is to book the cheapest thing - a mini car w/ standard transmission. Like a VW Up or Renault Twingo.

But I'm not just going to a beach resort. I'd like to be able to drive across the island, to reach some of the interior attractions in parc nationale, and I don't know how steep the roads are.

I'm curious to hear from others who've visited that area. Would it be worth spending the extra money to get something with a larger engine, or even a diesel engine (more torque)? Like a Sandero or Clio?

Thanks!

10 replies to this topic
Boston, Ma.
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1. Re: Choosing a car for Basse Terre

We visited last year and rented a VS Polo. It was fine. The roads on the island are good for the Caribbean and you should have no problem. Stayed in St. Francois, but drove to Bouillante twice.

Boston
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2. Re: Choosing a car for Basse Terre

We rented a Nissan Note ( Versa in the US ) for our trip last March to Basse Terre. It was a great car, plenty of pep and good mileage. We had a five speed standard transmission, which I think really helped driving up and down the hills in Basse Terre. Really no need to get anything bigger.

Charlotte, North...
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3. Re: Choosing a car for Basse Terre

Thanks, DGS and EC. Good to hear about the roads. I'll stick with the original plan, get the Twingo or Up, and save my money for day trips/expeditions

Brussels, Belgium
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4. Re: Choosing a car for Basse Terre

The cheapest car will do.

Saint Cloud...
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5. Re: Choosing a car for Basse Terre

We ended up with a Kia Picanto, which worked well for most of the island. Perfectly fine around Deshaies and Pointe A Pitre. She struggled a bit (maybe more than a bit) around Bouillante and La Soufriere.

Boston
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6. Re: Choosing a car for Basse Terre

We have always rented up a level or two from the smallest and we're still always shocked at how tiny they are. If it's just a few dollars, bump it up if you can, unless a tiny car is part of the cultural experience for you.

Hudson River...
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7. Re: Choosing a car for Basse Terre

I'm fine with a small car, but my husband does most if not all of the driving. He's 6'2"... just how small are these cars? I have no reference point but American models- except for a Fiat we rented in Greece.

Saint Cloud...
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8. Re: Choosing a car for Basse Terre

Just asked hubby (who drove the Kia Picanto) - he's 6'1" of medium build and he said he had plenty of room to shift gears, move around a bit, etc.

Charlotte, North...
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9. Re: Choosing a car for Basse Terre

Usually, my cultural experience involves not driving at all. But that seems like a bad strategy for Guadeloupe.

The point about inexpensive upgrades is well taken. At Jumbocar (where I made a reservation), the "B" category costs only slightly more than A -- and C barely costs more then B. Of course, even that 3rd category is smaller than the subcompacts sold in the US.

In contrast, to get something similar to what I drive at home would cost more per day than my room. That doesn't interest me. I've driven standards off and on my whole life. From the sound of it, if you're comfortable downshifting to get over hills, small cars in Guadeloupe won't be a problem.

Marlow, United...
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10. Re: Choosing a car for Basse Terre

>I'm fine with a small car, but my husband does most if not all of the driving. He's 6'2"... just how small are these cars?<

They will all be fine - there will be plenty of room for the driver, but there won't be much room for anyone to sit behind him. That's the only real difference between small and large cars - room for passengers in the back. If it's just the two of you, a small car will be fine.

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