The Caribbean consists of a number of islands with warm climates and local populations known for their equally warm welcome. A trip to Guadeloupe, which consists of five main islands, is a case in point. There is, first, Basse-Terre, where you will have the chance to hike the foothills of the Soufriere. At 1467 metres, this volcano dominates the landscape and offers a spectacular panorama.
From your hotel in Guadeloupe, you will enjoy incredible scenery including countless cascades, waterfalls, ponds, plantations, parks, etc. These same attractions exist on Grande-Terre, the island that completes the other wing of the butterfly that the Guadeloupe archipelago forms in the Caribbean Sea. Of limestone formation, this region is home to amazing beaches that give way to a turquoise sea with many lagoons. Swimming, surfing, diving, fishing, or just relaxing: all activities to be enjoyed with abandon! Afterwards, let yourself be seduced by the local, fragrant Creole cuisine. Don't forget to visit the smaller islands that constitute Guadeloupe: La Désirade, Les Saintes, and Marie-Galante, each with its unique and wonderful charm.
Dominated by the highest peak at 1,467 metres, Soufrière – also known as “The Old Woman” – Basse-Terre is one of the butterfly wings that form Guadeloupe.
Basse-Terre is a mountainous massif covered by a magnificent tropical forest of 17,000 hectares, classed as a National Park since 1989. It is home to many marked hiking trails of varying intensity. Its lush vegetation (including more than 3,000 species of trees) is home to exotic fauna, albeit without poisonous animals. Its extraordinary natural charms come to us through its waterfalls, cascades, pools, parks, and various plantations! It is also lined with pebble beaches of tan, brown, black, and pink sand, not to mention a fabulous world-famous reserve: Réserve Cousteau (with an underwater bust of Jacques Cousteau). Basse-Terre is a place of cultural diversity: Catholic church and Hindu temple, the archaeological remains of the first inhabitants and the seventeenth-century military fort. The main city and capital of the department, also called Basse-Terre, is a veritable history book ...
Grande-Terre, also known as the Little Brittany of the West Indies, is the other wing of the Guadeloupe archipelago “butterfly.” Unlike its twin, Basse-Terre, it is flat and composed of limestone.
Grande-Terre Island is a limestone plateau perfectly suited to growing sugar cane, which indeed covers most of the island. A visit to the Gardel sugar factory or the Bellevue distillery, located in the town of Moule (the former colonial capital), allows you to appreciate the importance of this agricultural activity. The island's coastline is lined with magnificent shaded beaches of white sand, offering sun-bathers incomparable sites to relax and work on their tans. Tranquil turquoise sea lagoons as well as ocean waves attract surfers and windsurfers alike. The many restaurants and hotels offer Creole culinary art and a wide variety of nightlife activities (casino, nightclubs, shows ...).
With its natural sites (the Pointe des Chateaux, the cliffs of the Grande Vigie, the Grands Fonds, etc.), Pointe-à-Pitre – the economic capital with its monuments from another eras – museums, spice markets, and flowers with intoxicating scents, and the sugarcane country in Port-Louis, Grande-Terre Island offers even the most recalcitrant visitor a variety of pleasures and activities.
From the Pointe des Chateaux, you can see La Désirade, an island very much desired indeed! From a distance, it looks like the keel of an overturned ship. La Désirade lives outside of time. This flat rock sticks out from the other islands of the archipelago for its tranquility and simplicity. Nothing seems to disturb the peaceful atmosphere on the island, or modify the authenticity and warmth of its inhabitants, descended from Bretons, Normans, and Poitevins. Eleven kilometres long and two kilometres wide, it has beautiful white sand beaches protected by long coral reefs that will delight both swimmers and divers. Only the southern coast is inhabited. Only one road links the main town of Grande-Anse to the communities of Les Galets, Le Souffleur, and Baie-Mahault. ... La Désirade, like the wild islands of Petite-Terre that surround it, offers surprisingly diverse vegetation. There are also beautiful and important colonies of endangered animal species, such as the iguana, the agoutis, the tropicbird, etc. Little by little, the island is modernizing and preparing for tourist development in keeping with its scale: beaches, groomed hiking trails, hostels, nice restaurants ...
Life is peaceful here. Only history books remember the archipelago's turbulent past and the bloody naval battle between the English and French fleets off the coast. Terre-de-Haut is known for its beautiful bay with turquoise clear waters, its spectacular Pain de Sucre mountain, and its charming village of quiet streets lined with pretty houses. The inhabitants of Breton and Norman descent have a long tradition of fishing that they practice in boats called "saintoises." You will want to visit Fort Napoleon that houses a museum and a surprising exotic garden. The island's restaurants are supplied with fresh produce daily and serve a tasty tropical cuisine. Terre-de-Bas – with its beautiful beach at Grande-Anse, the remains of an old pottery works, and strolls through the small village of Petite-Anse – deserves to be better known! Less frequented than its neighbouring island, Terre-de-Bas offers visitors its calm, relaxed way of life and the hospitality of its inhabitants.
Forty-three kilometres from Pointe-à-Pitre is Marie-Galante, an island with a surface area of 158 square kilometres, was called Aichi by the Carib people as is now nicknamed “Big Cake,” in reference to its round shape. With its quiet roads and diverse vegetation, the island is primarily known for cane sugar. Called “the island of a hundred windmills” in the 18th century, it was already renowned for rum. Most of the land is still occupied by vast fields of sugar cane. You will encounter ox-carts on the roads that still serve as locomotion and transport for farmers. Considered the land of the best rums in the world, Marie-Galante's restaurants jealously guard their culinary secrets. Its white sandy beaches are among the finest in the Caribbean! With the legendary kindness and hospitality of the locals, Marie-Galante is a testament to the authenticity of the Guadeloupe archipelago.