The islands of Guadeloupe: what to do, what to see…

There's no such thing as one Guadeloupe—this archipelago between the Atlantic and the Caribbean includes Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre, Marie-Galante, Les Saintes and La Désirade. From the sky, they look rather like a floating butterfly. Guadeloupe is a paradise from ground level as well, from the summit of the La Soufrière volcano to its geological and cultural treasures, the endless varieties of sand and rum and its spectacular underwater world. The islands of Guadeloupe are a never-ending revelation.

Visits you cannot miss in the Guadeloupe Islands

• The falls of Carbet
The Grand Carbet River has its source in the eastern flank of Soufrière. Its sulphurous waters clear after three falls of 115 meters, 110 meters and 20 meters, among the most impressive waterfalls of the Lesser Antilles, to jump into the sea 11 kilometers lower ...

• The active volcano of Soufrière
The highest point in the Lesser Antilles with 1,467 meters of altitude, La Soufrière is one of Guadeloupe's most visited sites, with nearly 100,000 visitors a year. "The Old Lady" belongs to a volcanic ensemble that includes 5 other volcanoes that emit fumaroles, sulfur and acid vapors as well as hot springs.

• The crayfish waterfall
Located on the commune of Petit-Bourg, the Crayfish waterfall is a natural basin of the Corossol river. It is one of the most visited tourist places in Guadeloupe due to its easy access. Unfortunately, the crayfish that gave it its name have almost disappeared...

• The ACTe Memorial
The ACTe Memorial of Guadeloupe opened its doors in July 2015. The visitor discovers the history of slavery, from antiquity to 1492, from post-Colombian slavery to its abolition, from colonial times to independence and till today.

• The Parc des Mamelles
The Mamelles Zoological and Botanical Park is located in Basse-Terre, 30 minutes from Pointe-à-Pitre. On more than 2 hectares in the heart of the rainforest, it is home to insects and many animals: turtles, mongooses, raccoons, iguanas, snakes, parrots, bats, monkeys, jaguars ...

• The wild mangrove at Grande Terre
Located at Grand Cul de Sac Marine, not far from the coral reef, the mangrove spreads over more than 5,000 hectares. It is a magical place that you can travel by motorboat or kayak (with a guide). Some offer a dive, with masks and snorkels ... Exotic and unforgettable!

• The black sand beach of Grande Anse
Located on the road to Vieux Fort, close to Trois-Rivières, this vast beach of black sand, fine and soft, is a popular spot for surfers and bodyboarders. It is also a nesting site for sea turtles, protected by a prefectural decree.

• The city of Pointe-à-Pitre
Pointe-à-Pitre has retained its colonial charm of the 18th century. Its sheltered harbor and its marina lined with bars and restaurants welcome, every 4 years, the arrival of the famous solo transatlantic race, the Route du rhum. The visit of Pointe-à-Pitre is essential!

• St. Francis Bay
Formerly the Mecca of the cotton trade, then sugar cane, Saint-François today lives mainly due to tourism, thanks to its beaches that are protected from the currents of the Atlantic by a coral reef, in front of the Désirade and the Islands from Petite-Terre ...

• Marie-Galante, the Desirade, Les Saintes
With its white sand beaches, mangrove and cliffs, Marie-Galante remains a very authentic island that tourism has not ravaged. The Desirade is mostly an island of fishermen. Tourism is developing around the cottages and beaches, and the walk in its desert soils is worth the detour. The archipelago of Saintes is composed of 2 inhabited islands and islets. Terre-de-Haut is the most touristic island, its bay is one of the most beautiful in the world.

Essential activities in the Guadeloupe Islands

• Visit the iguanas on the island of Petite-Terre
Petite-Terre is an archipelago made up of two islands, located 18 kilometers southeast of Saint-François. They were inhabited by the Arawak and Caribbean Indians. In 1998, the archipelago was classified "Nature Reserve", in order to protect the species, including about 10,000 Iguanas.

• Take a bath in the hot springs of Dolé in Gourbeyre
The population continues to live the many hot spring pools that exist on the area of Dolé Gourbeyre. The main basin was named "Bath of Loves" ...

• Go on an excursion on the island of Marie-Galante
This little piece of paradise of 158 sq. Km of the Caribbean will offer you a multicolored rainbow of white sand beaches, crystal blue lagoon water lined with orange coral reefs, and dense vegetation. Tastings of specialties, visits of rum, fight of roosters, competition of drawing oxen or Caribbean music: everything is there for an unforgettable visit!

• Greet the sun at the tip of the Castles
The most visited site in Guadeloupe which owes its name to the religious community of the Capuchins who, in 1683 established the Parish of Castles. The point is 11 kilometers from Saint-François, under the patronage of St. Francis of Assisi. In spring, you will have the chance to see whales crossing its shores.

• Get drunk with the scent of spices at the Pointe-à-Pitre market
The Saint-Antoine market is a must visit of the capital. An explosion of scents emanates from colorful stalls covered with spices, tropical fruits and vegetables, as well as local handicrafts. This is the perfect place if you are looking for a little souvenir to bring back from your stay on Papillon Island.

• Visit the authentic rum distilleries at Marie-Galante
At Marie-Galante, you can visit three distilleries of agricultural rum from the 18th and 19th centuries: the Bielle distillery, the Bellevue estate and the Poisson distillery. You will discover the technique of distillation of sugar cane and taste various rum: white, amber, old ...
• Be alone in the world on the islet of Le Gosier
This paradise island of Guadeloupe, located off Grande-Terre, is only one kilometer long and a few hundred meters wide. It takes its name from pelicans (big throats). Nobody lives on this greenery protected against a background of fine sand and turquoise water...

• Marvel at the colorful inhabitants of the Cousteau Reserve
This protected natural marine environment is the heart of the Guadeloupe National Park. It encompasses more than 1,000 hectares of exceptional seabed. Corals, fish, tropical, turtles and even humpback whales evolve without fear in a Caribbean sea at 26 °C ...

• Go green at the Parc Zoologique de Guadeloupe
The discovery of the animals of the rain forest of the Parc des Mamelles Zoo from the footbridges suspended at 20 meters height will take you about 2 hours. All the wildlife of the French West Indies is found here: monkeys, lizards, parrots, as well as jaguars from French Guiana ...

• Catamaran sailing in the bay of Saintes
To reach the Saintes from Point-à-Pitre, take a boat or ferry to Trois rivières, or a speedboat to Saint-François. A great experience not to be missed, with a stroll through the streets of Terre-de-Haut, visit of Fort Napoléon, swimming or discovering the seabed with kayaks with glass bottom.

Getting to the Guadeloupe Islands 

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