For the months of January to March, carnivale is celebrated with gusto. Our couch surfing host Sandra took us along to one of these parades and we had a great time. On the island, you'll find cacti, coco-palms, and sea grape trees dotting La Désirade's sunny beaches, like Souffleur and Baie Mahault. Brimming with beautiful tropical flora and many colorful species of birds, Jardin Botanique de Deshaies is a peaceful botanical garden on Basse-Terre's northwest coast. And on a clear day there are great views across the park from the top of the Col des Mamelles aka the Hill of Breasts! Grande Anse on Terre-de-Bas features a small 17th-century church, a pretty bay and beach with huts for swimming and snorkeling, and a hiking path to the promontory of 273-meter Grande Montagne. And afterwards you can soothe aching muscles at the Bains Jaunes thermal pool near the car park. The park's trails brush past lush forest foliage, magnificent waterfalls, and the summit of La Soufrière volcano.
Hike La Soufrière volcano The first day we were on the island, Sandra drove us to Basse-Terre and to the base of its large volcano called La Soufrière. You can also go snorkeling from the shore, and you do not have to be lucky to see turtles in the water, because there are plenty of them. Take in the drama on the Pointe des Chateaux Source: Pointe des Chateaux Jutting its way out dramatically from the extreme eastern edge of the island of Guadeloupe, this craggy headland of rock and salt-washed stone is unquestionably one of the natural must-sees here. Soak up the views at Pointe des Châteaux In the far south-east of Grande-Terre, the Pointe des Châteaux is a peninsula where sandy beaches meet crashing waves and dramatic rocks. After exploring the production lines we went to the shop-come-cafe where you could enjoy a free tasting. You can also try and buy their rum, ranging from white to dark golden rum aged in oak barrels, as well as rum punches.
The beach at Sainte-Anne 7. If you do not feel like walking, you can visit several smaller waterfalls, located just few hundred meters away from the main road. For a slice of the French Riviera without a long overseas flight, head straight to La Grande-Anse. Exploring Saint-Anne How to get around Guadeloupe There is a bus service around the islands, but timing and frequency can be a bit erratic. Even the weather can go from sunshine on one side of the island to tropical downpours on the other. The Damoiseau distillery in action 5.
Some of the most popular dive sites lay in the bay of Petit Cul-de-Sac Marin, located just south of Rivière Salée the. But if you do stop off then there are some pretty French colonial buildings to explore as well as the Cathédrale de St-Pierre et St-Paul, the Place de la Victoire and shopping at the covered market. Alluring palm-lined beaches, such as Fifi and Souffleur, ring the island, and coral reefs protect its shores. This peaceful island lies about a 45-minute rocky boat ride from Saint-Francois on the southeastern coast of Grande-Terre. Spend a day at Plage de la Caravelle Plage de la Caravelle is the home of famous Club Med Resort, but the beach is open to public.
What to know: Wear comfortable shoes and take a jacket — it can get quite windy at the top of the point. Sainte-Anne has its own smaller beach as well as a market along the waterfront where you can buy crafts, spices, fresh fruit and homemade rum punch made with pineapple, guava or passion fruit — and a kick. Pointe-a-Pitre offers some Guadeloupe attractions, though most tourists will spend only a day or two shopping and seeing the sights of the town. Composed of tabular rock, it is the oldest island in the Lesser Antilles and was once a leper colony but is now a geological nature reserve. The market is lively — there were a lot of people there shopping and nodding along to the local musicians. Me at the Damoiseau distillery What you need to know: The abandoned distillery is located near La Maison du Crabe, a restaurant east of Le Moule. Both our house sitting hosts — Sandra and Renaud — introduced us to Ti Punch and also enticed us to explore the culture of rhum on the island.
What you need to know: The round-trip hike took about four hours. But head east or north and Grande-Terre is a lot less developed, with small villages, rocky wild coastline and good surfing around Le Moule. Looking for things to do can be time consuming, but we can take the hassle out of planning your holiday. Take home a basket of spices to cook like a true Guadalupian. Around 85 species of animals are represented here, including many rare and endangered species. Kayak in the mangroves Much like our visit to Guadeloupe, it was by accident that we stumbled across some kayaks lined up across the river shoreline.
And it is good for taking pictures or just admiring the breathtaking scenery. The volcano at the top of La Soufriere hike 3. The point gets its name because the shape of the rock formation looks like a castle on top of a cliff. If you prefer a little more serenity, Plage de Bois Jolan, to the east, is less crowded than Sainte-Anne, but you need to bring your own food and refreshments as the beach lacks amenities. Sunbathers are attracted to the secluded sunny shores scattered around , , and. Guadeloupe is one of the most diverse Caribbean islands I have visited. So you can imagine my delight to discover there are numerous markets in Guadeloupe.
In the west, Basse rises to mist-topped, waterfall-doused peaks that belch plumes of sulphuric volcanic ash into the humid airs. Shoppers will find Guadeloupe's best buys in the archipelago's largest town, Pointe-a-Pitre. There is plenty of shade at the beach, but you have to be careful of falling coconuts. It's a wonderful beach for a stroll, and the waters are usually great for swimming, although the surf can be a little rough on windy days. A vibrant artistic culture, traditional song and dance, as well as innovative modern music formed from the fusion of Guadeloupe's melting pot of cultures, are all part of what Guadeloupe tourism has to offer. From the bottom to the top, it will take about 25 minutes of slow walking.