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Trip Report

2 weeks in Guadeloupe

Beautiful palm-fringed beaches line the coast, and the interior of both islands is lush and mountainous, with waterfalls, hot springs, an active volcano, and hiking trails.

by hugotravelAtlasGuru Contributor

North AmericaGuadeloupe13 days / July 2018

Highs & Lows

Surfing in the sunset

Sargassum algae on the coastline

Itinerary Overview

Guadeloupe belongs to the Antilles archipelago, and enchants travellers with its evocative mix of natural beauty, Creole and French culture, in addition to its fascinating history. It consists of two main islands, Grande-Terre in the east and Basse-Terre in the west, separated by the Salty River.

We arrived in the airport of Pointe-à-Pitre and we rented a car at the airport then it was about 45 minutes drive to the Moule where we had our first AirBnB (carefull, people drive really crazy there).

So we started our time in Grande -Terre for 5 days. 

The first few days we went to the beaches nearby such as in Sainte-Anne and in Saint-Francois. In Sainte-Anne, you discover a town dating back to the 17th century, as well as one of the most beautiful beaches in Guadeloupe. Today, the ruins of the sugar mills around the town bear witness to its former status as an important sugar exporter. But what you really shouldn't miss is the beach at La Caravelle. A little piece of heaven on earth. Its white sand and palm trees will have an instant escape effect.

After that we went to Pointe des Chateaux : a picturesque peninsula at the easternmost point of Grande-Terre. Made up of a wide strip of coastline swept by often violent winds, Pointe des Châteaux is distinguished by its spurs rising from the ocean. Relics of a cliff eroded by the waves and the spray. The botanical path leading to the point offers a view of the islands of "La Désirade", "Petite-Terre" and "Marie-Galante".

An expensive must do is to take a boat to the islands: there are no inhabitants on Petite-Terre, a pair of protected islands a few kilometres southeast of Grande Terre. One of them is off-limits due to conservation efforts, but Terre-de-Bas is open to visitors and home to iguanas and birds with a reef-protected shoreline and waters rich in turtles and multicoloured fish, including the lemon shark. We actually saw a lot of those sharks!  You can take a day trip from Saint-Francois and enjoy the white sandy beaches, swimming, snorkeling, wildlife viewing, and the lighthouse. 

After that we went for 5 days to Basse-Terre and rented and AirBnB in Bouillante.

The first thing we went to see there is the Nation Park, designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, it includes 300 kilometres of hiking trails, a lot of water falls, the volcano "La Soufrière", the summit of "La Matéliane", and a wide range of flora and fauna. A good way to visit the park is to take the Route de la Traversée (D23). This picturesque road winds through the rainforest and its majestic trees such as mahogany, giant ferns and bamboo. Along this road, you will find lookouts, picnic areas, waterfalls in the jungle. Our favorite was "La cascade aux écrevisses" : a waterfall in the jungle that eventually flows into a pond. We went hiking on "La Soufrière" which is an active volcano that has erupted eight times since 1660. Hot springs, mud baths and fumaroles dot its barren black slopes. We climbed during 3 hours the volcano along the Chemin des Dames trail. It was really fun, but there was a bit of smoke so you didn't really had this amazing view.

In the heart of the islands of Guadeloupe, the botanical garden of Deshaies offers you a peaceful stroll through the surprising flora of the Antilles! The aim of the park is to showcase the richness of the flora and offers some fifteen different themes over a distance of 1.5 km, such as the water lily pond, the lorikeet aviary, the orchids, the bougainvilleas, the banyan tree, the waterfall, the cactus or the tallipot.

We also went to Vieux-Fort which is a charming, quiet and relaxing village in the extreme south of the island of Basse-Terre. Its name refers to the construction of a fort by the first French settlers in the 17th century. Remnants of this past remain today, as evidenced by the remains of the fortifications and the four cannons, and from which there is a beautiful view of the lighthouse and the sea. From the village, you can then take a small road that leads to the Vieux-Fort point and its lighthouse erected in 1954 on a rocky spur. The view of the Saintes and Dominica from this very pleasant spot is absolutely magnificent! The beautiful green space located nearby is ideal for a picnic break or to rest for a while facing the sea.

Our final part of the trip was going to "Trois Rivières" and take the ferry to the island " les Saintes". It was a bit expansive but really amazing. Colourful wooden houses and volcanic rock churches dot the landscape. At every corner, there are breathtaking views of the Grande Anse, Fort Napoleon or any of the idyllic beaches. Cars are not allowed there, so we  rented a motorcycle and enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere while exploring the small Creole huts and large colonial houses.

Visiting the island of Les Saintes also means entering the heart of the history of the West Indies. The Fort Napoleon houses a museum that will allow you to learn more about the archipelago's past. Although it was never used as such, the fort built in the 19th century remains a landmark building on the island of Terre-de-Haut. You can admire the model ships, the paintings and to discover the botanical garden.

The view over the bay of Les Saintes is splendid. It is best to arrive early in the morning to take full advantage of the place before the crowds and the hottest hours of the day.

What else can you do on the island of Les Saintes but laze around on its idyllic beaches? Located in Terre-de-Haut, Pompierre is without doubt the most pleasant beach on the island. Its wooden cabins provide shade for a nap or a picnic. You can also put on fins, mask and snorkel to observe the beautiful fish. For this, head to the rocky right side. 




  • 6 Nights: Le Moule
    Beach time
  • 5 Nights: Basse-Terre
    Nature : hiking on the volcano, going in to waterfalls
  • 2 Nights: Îles des Saintes
    View and Beach

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    With some days more, we wanted to visit the big market in Pointe à Pitres

  • Anything go wrong during the trip?

    Not really wrong, but you have to check if there are a lot af algae before going.

  • Packing tips?

    It seems obvious but do not forget your swim suit and if you have a mask for snorkeling. Also, make sure to have enough sunscreen when you go to Petite-Terre (we literally burnt on that day!).

  • Transportation Tips?

    There are bus but you don't know when they pass, so rent a car.

  • Any surprises?

    When we hiked on La Souffrière we did not see the view because of the clouds. So make sure you go on a day without clouds.