The Leeward Island of Guadeloupe is a small archipelago belonging to France. It consists of two adjacent islands separated by the sea and a few small islands. The overwhelming nature and beautiful beaches will certainly charm you. Small fishing villages where time has almost stood still alternate with patches of rainforest and rugged coastlines. There are many historical places to visit such as old plantations and distilleries, but also mills from 1800. And the world traveler and “father” of the ocean Jacques Cousteau has chosen this place as the most beautiful diving location in the world for a reason. Check topmbadirectory for how to get to Guadeloupe.
Top 10 Things to Do in Guadeloupe
#1. Porte d’Enfer and Point de la Grande Vigie
In the north of the island of Grande Terre you can find a rugged and rocky coast. The most special vantage points can be found here. Here you will find the ‘Hellepoort’ between fungus and Grande Vigie. A beautiful lagoon with two huge cliffs. The surrounding area is ideal for brisk walks.
#2. Parc National de la Guadeloupe
The full name of this park is: Grand Cul-de Sac Marin Nature Reserve. This protected area covers an area of approximately 173 km² and in addition a buffer zone of another 162 km². Most of it consists of tropical forests and the dormant volcano la Soufrière. Common mammals include the Guadeloupe raccoon, mongooses, bats and the agouti. Of course there are also many bird species such as frigate birds, pelicans, woodpeckers and hummingbirds. In Saint-Claude you can find a lot of information about the park and their walking tours with a possible guide.
Despite its size, this largest city in Guadeloupe is not its capital. This is Basse-Terre which is located on the island of the same name. Point-à-Pitre is close to the separation of the two islands. In the evening people meet around the central square called ‘Place de la Victoire’. During the day you can go shopping in this city and there is regularly a market. The colonial houses give the city a serene atmosphere, although it can sometimes be very busy. On the Place Gourbeyre is the beautiful Basilica La Cathedrale Saint-Pierre et Saint-Paul, opposite the Palais de Justice in Art Deco style.
#4. Réserve Jacques Cousteau
What is especially fun for children, is a trip with a glass bottom boat. These trips can mainly be made in this marine reserve. The park is named after the explorer and researcher of the sea who has received many awards for this. The underwater world in this place has a lot to offer, especially for snorkelers and divers. It is even possible to make night dives.
The town is located on the south side of the island of Grande-Terre. On top of the hill at the entrance to the Rivière Galée are the ruins of the Fort Louis defensive fortress. A little further at the Bas-du-Fort district with its beautiful marina you will find a museum dedicated to the 18th century war between France and England. This is the English Musée Fort Fleur d’Épée. There are also many nice and small shops and some catering establishments.
In Guadeloupe you can find several plantations. There are sugar cane plantations, coffee plantations and cocoa and vanilla plantations. A number of these can be visited, but in the form of a hotel, museum or restaurant. A finely restored coffee plantation can be found to the west at Pointe-Noire on the island of Basse-Terre. This is where the Maison du Café and Musée du Café plantations can be found. Here you can get a tour and you will be told a few things about coffee production.
This island is known for its many windmills. In 1780, the first windmills were seen on the island. Many have been lost over the years. But there are still dozens to be found, such as the famous Moulin de Bézard from 1814. History is preserved here and there on the island. For example, oxen still pull carts here and competitions are organized for this. Another piece of history is slavery. The stories about this can be found at the Murat Sugar Plantation. Here a few hundred slaves worked on the estate.
#8. La Désirade
This islet is located a few kilometers from Guadeloupe. It is ideal to visit as a day trip. If you want you could spend the night there yourself. Because this eleven-kilometer-long island is not visited en masse by tourists, there is an excellent authentic atmosphere to be tasted. In the small fishing village of Beauséjour you can enjoy a meal with fresh fish. The most beautiful beach can also be found here at Plage de Beauséjour. But the other beaches are definitely worth it. There are some ruins of a cotton factory nearby and there is a lighthouse.
#9. Rum Distilleries
When you consider that rum is made from sugar cane, it is not surprising that there are a few rum distilleries in Guadeloupe. The original Rhum Agricole even has an alcohol percentage of 70%. The straw rum is obtained after a one year aging process in wooden barrels. And after sixteen months it’s brown rum. If you would like to learn all the secrets about this popular drink, visit the rum museum in Saint Rosa.
#10. Route de la Traversée
This beautiful route cuts through the National Park of Guadeloupe and the Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin nature reserve. You will pass the stunning Carbet Falls and Cascade aux Écrevisses waterfalls and the dormant La Soufriere volcano. The route crosses the island of Basse-Terre and runs from east to west. You will finish at the Parc Zoologique et Botanique des Mamelles where you can be interactive in nature.