Located in the southern Caribbean Sea, Guadeloupe Islands is an archipelago consisting of five inhabited islands: Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Marie-Galante, Les Saintes, and La Désirade, as well as many uninhabited ones. Discover the beauty of the French Caribbean on your next trip from gorgeous beaches, waterfalls, and mountains to delicious food, plant, and animal life as you travel from one island to another.
Surfing in Le Moule
One of the larger landmasses, Grande-Terre is home to gorgeous sandy beaches and consists of a flatter landscape and sheltered bays. Head to Grande-Terre’s northern side to find a rocky coastline and great surfing along the coast at Le Moule. Sante-Anne is one of the most popular beaches on Grande-Terre. Its water is protected by an off-shore reef, creating peaceful, calm waters, perfect for laying under the sun with a good book. Visit the market that runs alongside Sante-Anne for delicious fresh fruit, spices, and drinks.
If you’re a fan of rum, you’re in luck. Rhum Agricole, is a speciality of the Guadeloupe Islands. It is made from sugar cane juice as opposed to the typical molasses. Find out how it’s made and take a self-guided tour at the Damoiseau Distillery in Le Moule of the biggest distilleries in the area.
If you are more inclined to mountains than beaches, Basse-Terre is the place for you. Made up of mountainous terrain, Basse-Terre is home to Parc National de la Guadeloupe, with a lush green jungle, waterfalls, and plenty of animal and plant life. It is the perfect place for hiking, with lots of trails and gorgeous views. For divers and snorkelers, visit the west coast at Pigeon Island, a popular spot for underwater sightseeing.
Cascade aux Ecrevisse
The Route de la Traversée or D23 traverses the middle of Basse-Terre. The road runs through sugar cane fields and up through the mountain peaks and jungles of the Parc National de la Guadeloupe. Stop at Cascade aux Ecrevisses, a gorgeous waterfall along the Route de la Traversee for a cool repose as you continue your adventure.
Visit La Soufrière, an active volcano and the Lesser Antilles’ highest peak reaching 1,467 meters high. Last erupted in 1976, the volcano’s name aptly translates to “big sulfur outlet” so be prepared for eggy smells as you reach the peak. For filmmakers and movie lovers alike, the volcano can be seen in the 1977 film La Soufrière, by German filmmaker Werner Herzog which follows a man who refuses to leave his home after the 1976 eruption in the volcanic hills.
Le Gueule Grand Gouffre or “Trou a Diable” located off of Marie-Galante is a natural arch carved into the cliffs along the sea. It is the perfect place to gaze at the famous gorgeous turquoise waters quintessential to the Caribbean sea.
History lovers should visit Château Murat, , the largest sugar cane plantation around , built in 1839. It is now home to the Museum of Arts and Popular Tradition. Learn about the history of the slave trade, sugar cane, and rum production in the Guadaloupe Islands and wander through the ruins of the colonial era.
Les Saintes is made up of two inhabited and seven uninhabited islands. The inhabited, Terre de Haut is home to beautiful Les Saintes Bay ranked among UNESCO’s most beautiful bays in the world. The bluest waters are punctured by small sailboats and lined with white sand beaches. It is also home to colorful coral reefs, a great place for snorkeling and diving.
Fort Napoleon, an important historical site of the Guadeloupe Islands looms 400 feet over the Bay offering a scenic view of the water. The fort was destroyed by the British military in 1809 and rebuilt in 1897 and named after Napoleon III. It never saw use in battle but was turned into a prison during World War II. It is now a museum dedicated to the history of Les Saintes and home to Jardin exotique du Fort Napoleon, a botanic garden filled with lush plant life and home to many iguanas. Some believe the fort is haunted by a young French girl who fell in love with a British officer and died along the cliffside. The museum includes a display of the lover’s story.
Marine Mammals in La Désirade
La Désirade, which translates to “The Forgotten” is the oldest island in the Lesser Antilles and a national geologic reserve. It is home to plenty of natural plant and animal life, white beaches, and AGOA Marine Mammals Sanctuary which is composed of twenty-four marine species.
The River Trail stretches through La Désirade from south to north and is home to rich flora including wild orchids and “Totem Pole” cactus native to La Désirade. Climb the River Trail to the plateau which offers scenic views of the south coast.
The Guadeloupe Islands are a gorgeous place to visit! Island -hop from one location to the next and take in the scenic waters, mountains, food, and rich history. Hikers, divers, and tourists alike will all discover something marvelous. Come see for yourself on your next trip.