Off the Beaten Path Caribbean Destinations: Guadeloupe #TravelTuesday #TT

Off the Beaten Path Caribbean Destinations: Guadeloupe

You’ve heard of the Bahamas, Bermuda, Jamaica, and even some of the smaller Caribbean islands but one island that has likely been off your radar is Guadeloupe. Tucked between Antigua and Dominica you’ll find this five-island, 629 square mile gem. But unlike many Caribbean islands don’t expect your dollars to work here. The euro is the currency and French is the language of Guadeloupe. That’s because this island is an overseas department of France. While other Caribbean islands are besieged by tourists you can enjoy much more peace and quiet here.

Just 400,000 people live across the five islands of Grand-Terre, Basse-Terre, Les Saintes, La Desirade and Marie-Gelante. Even though all of the islands are close and share some characteristics there are also plenty of differences. You can swim and lounging on both the Caribbean and Atlantic coasts of the islands. Some beaches are white sand while others are black sand. All are resplendent with lush rainforest like vegetation. The good news is there are no poisonous or dangerous animals on any of the islands. You will find hundreds of butterflies, birds, iguanas and other marine life.

caribbean-flowers

Basse-Terre

Visit La Grande Soufriere volcano on Basse-Terre. It’s still semi-active having last erupted in 1976 and in the home of France’s 7th largest national park – Guadeloupe National Park. You can hike the volcano with the help of a guide. At the top you will be rewarded with panoramic views of the island and surrounding ocean. Several small cities on the island have plenty of mom and pop style restaurants and shopping to keep you busy and full.

Visiting Les Saintes

Is this the Caribbean or Brittan? You may wonder when you arrive. Unlike the other islands there were no plantations on Les Saintes and its main industry was fishing. You can visit Fort Napoleon on the highest point of the island or rent a scooter and take a ride around. While cars are allowed there are very few; people walk or use scooters. If you want to swim or snorkel head to the southwest part of the island but be on the lookout if you’re with family, some beaches are clothes optional.

Stretching the Limits in Marie-Galante

This island is the furthest from the others and requires a high-speed boat and a journey of at least one hour to reach. The island was (and is) well known for rum distilleries and gorgeous beaches. The rum is said to be some of the best in the world and locals make a variety of fruity punches with it. The island was once a grand colonial outpost and remnants of the lost glory can be seen throughout the island in ruined estate houses. Sugar was an important industry and windmills were used to power the sugar factories. Seventy windmills still remain today. Get in the water and enjoy the pristine waters and amazing coral reefs around the island.

If you want a Caribbean escape without the tourists and are in need of something a little different Guadeloupe is the place to go!

Comments

  1. Lovely post. It's always inspiring to hear of places one wouldn't generally *think* to look into. I admit, we are avid 'resort' travelers…But I really think one day we should try something a little more off the beaten path.
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  2. ok so do I have to actually KNOW how to speak paresian french? I don't even know French Canadian …

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