French Guadeloupe is a great place for active recreation and for exploration of a Caribbean island.
Let’s look at its most interesting points!
- The La Soufriere volcano.
La Soufriere is only 1,467 meters high, but climbing it is a real adventure (lazy tourists can get almost to the top by bus). On the way up, the climate changes completely, and so do the surrounding flora and fauna. A popular hiking route runs along a small lake on the slope of the volcano, hidden by lush vegetation (Grand Etang). On the way back, be sure to pay attention to the hot springs at the foot of the mountain.
- Pigeon Island and the Cousteau Reserve.
This small stony island is not remarkable for picturesque views, and almost no one lands on it. It is famous for the sea reserve of Cousteau, located around the island below the water’s surface. The inventor of the aqualung was so fascinated by the local underwater beauty that he founded a reserve park here. It is perfectly suitable for beginning divers: the depth is low, the sea is calm, and the shore is very close.
- Saint Anne Beach.
St. Anne is the most popular Guadeloupe beach. It is the best place both for surfers and fans of lazy beach relaxation. Here you can lie on white sand without going far from civilization. Also, you can take surfing lessons, or take a ferry to the wild beaches of the nearest islands – Desireado, Marie-Galante, and Le Sant.
- Botanical Garden in Deshaies.
The Botanical Garden was founded about 10 years ago on territory of the former estate of the French comedian Kolyusha. The garden is relatively small but very diverse: the collection of orchids, baobabs, and a dozen different types of palm trees is especially noteworthy. You can also feed the giant carp in the pond here, and admire the flamingos and parrots in the park.
- National Park of Guadeloupe.
This park occupies about 10% of the country’s whole territory. It is located on Basse-Terre island. You can go through it in a couple of hours by car, but it is better to walk on one of the many hiking trails. In one day, you can move from rainforest to coastal forest and end up in a mangrove path. When you reach waterfalls in the Buyant area, do not forget to look around; there is a great chance you’ll see Guadalupe raccoons, mongooses, and goats.
- Petite Terre Islands
The uninhabited islands of Ptit-Ter is a reserve. The pristine underwater world attracts divers from around the globe. From November to April you can also see dolphin and whale migrations here. And be sure to walk out to the old lighthouse, trying not to step on the numerous iguanas there.
The largest city on the archipelago is the landing point for most tourists. Notably, it was founded in 1654 as a slave market. The best things in this town are fine restaurants and food markets that any gourmet can admire. Pointe-a-Pitre is full of French colonial-style houses, a fishing-town atmosphere, and fine climate.
Here in Guadalupe, French traditions and the Creole spirit are mixed in a fanciful way. The local cuisine is a feast of spices, seafood, and exotic fruits. For good reason, Jacques-Yves Cousteau claimed Guadalupe to be one of the best places in the world.