Pointe-a-Pitre may not be the capital city of Guadeloupe, but it bears the distinction of being the region's largest city and Guadeloupe's economic center. It is also located in the center of Guadeloupe's two main islands, on the western coast of Grande-Terre. Most tourists will arrive in Guadeloupe at the Pointe-a-Pitre International Airport, usually following a layover in another destination in the Caribbean, though some nonstop flights are available from France.
The city is a good hub for finding hotels or rentals, while being in close proximity to other popular tourist destinations such as Gosier Guadeloupe and the beaches along the southern coast of Grande-Terre. From Pointe-a-Pitre Guadeloupe you can drive on excellent roads (it is a French domain, after all) all over Grande-Terre, and across the Rivière Salée to explore Basse-Terre. From Pointe-a-Pitre Guadeloupe you can also take boats to the islands of Les Saintes and Marie Galante.
While Pointe-a-Pitre is a great place to go shopping or to find a Guadeloupe hotel, it is primarily a modern city it lacks the quaintness and charm found in other areas of the Caribbean. Tourists often go to Pointe-a-Pitre for the shopping, however, as Guadeloupe receives many imported French brands of perfumes and other products. There is also a lively outdoor market down by the waterfront, though make sure you get there early to catch it in action. Here you can buy local produce and spices. The waterfront is a nice area to sit in a café and enjoy the view of the harbor. There are also many restaurants, boutiques and a few hotels here. A marina has yacht rentals and other boating amenities if you'd like to head out on the water.
Place de la Victoire is the main square of Pointe-a-Pitre, and is a nicely shaded area with palm trees and some sandbox trees supposedly planted by Victor Hugues, a revolutionary and dictator who beheaded dozens of his enemies by guillotine in the square. There is also a lively market around Place de la Victoire for you to pick up some souvenirs. One of the buildings of architectural interest in town is the Cathedral of St Pierre and St Paul, which is girded with iron beans, earning it the moniker of the Iron Cathedral.
If you're heading to Gosier Guadeloupe, just a few minutes drive from Pointe-a-Pitre Guadeloupe, where the beaches begin, make sure to look out for Fort Fleur-d'Epée, an eighteenth-century fort perched on top of a hill. It has great views of Pointe-a-Pitre as well as the ocean, and is an interesting walk in its own right with flowers, trees, and some old cannon.
Gosier Guadeloupe is a major center of tourist action, as its long beach is beautiful and rightfully renowned. There are plenty of hotels and restaurants along the waterfront here. Further east along the coast stretch Guadeloupe's most popular beaches. Gosier is also the most popular place in Guadeloupe to go to nightclubs, bars, and casinos, if such is your preference.