Guadeloupe: the Caribbean version of paradise France
Walks to waterfalls and surfing in the jungle are available. Everyone will be able to find an activity to their liking. But the rest here, even at a stretch, can not be called a budget. Let the prices are not so high compared with New Caledonia, but the desire to be chic quickly disappears. However, there are pompous and very expensive establishments, and those where the cost is more acceptable.
How to get there
Guadeloupe is a French department in the Caribbean Sea, an archipelago. It consists of the islands of Grande Terre and Bas Terre. They are separated by a strait. There are a few smaller islands. The easiest way to get to overseas “butterfly” by plane from Paris. The journey takes nine hours. Flight from Russia is possible only with connections in France or Italy.
From Martinique and Dominica, neighboring islands, there are regular ferries. If the plane lands in one of the island stations, the road to Guadeloupe will take about three hours.
The local climate is tropical. The weather is good throughout the year, the exception being the hurricane and rainy season. It begins in June and lasts until October. However, the rains are short and not very inconvenient. In December the high season begins. It lasts until February, repeating in the summer. At this time many French people fly here.
Even during the peak season, it is comfortable: there are a lot of islands, a lot of interesting things, and there are no crowds.
The destination is considered safe. However, fraud and theft remain the main problems. The population is not poor, so the crime rate is low. Still things unattended to leave unattended is not recommended, especially on the beach. And the exchange of money should be carried out not at the changers on the street, and in banks. The car is important to close, and the bag or purse should not be left in a conspicuous place.
It is desirable to eat after heat treatment, because the edge is warm. The best water is bottled, although tap water is recognized as relatively safe.
Sunscreens and sprays against mosquitoes are a must. There are especially many insects during the rains.
The beginning of the eruptions is considered to be in 1660, but the power of the highest mountain on the island has not dried up even now. The top of La Soufrière is covered with clouds, and the slopes are blackened and lifeless.
The first eruptions of this giant began in 1660, and the power of this spring does not dry up to this day. In Russian the name La Soufriere is translated as “sulfur mine”.
There are several craters. One has a lake in it. Etan-L’As-de-Pique belongs to the largest bodies of water of volcanic origin. Impressive fire-breathing mountain looks from all angles.
The capital, Bas-Ter, is located at the foot of the volcano. Several times the city was destroyed by eruptions. However, old buildings built by the first French who landed here have survived.
On the territory of two-thirds of the island of Bass Thera grows mangroves, jungle, is a coral reef. Many hiking trails are offered and there are lodges with picnic areas.
Many tourists are attracted by the jungle and trekking through it. Routes are marked and there are walks through the mountains. Fans of this kind of pastime in the National Park of the country will love it.
There are picturesque lakes and waterfalls in the park. It is in the park you can see the Soufrière Volcano. There are more than eight hundred unique plants and animals. Just woodpeckers are more than ten varieties.
On Bass Ter is the most famous beach Grand Anse. It seems endless. The beach is located in a bay surrounded by mountains covered with greenery. It looks very spectacular.
It is easy to enter the water. Small waves always, which all tourists like.
Nearby there are parking lots, cafes and restaurants. The local shops offer delicious coconut homemade ice cream. Although the beach is popular, there is enough space due to its length.
Jacques-Yves Cousteau Marine Reserve
The underwater reserve is recognized as the best place for snorkeling and diving. On the coast is preserved the place where the first episodes of the epic about the underwater world were filmed.
A monument to Cousteau is also installed underwater.
You can take a rented kayak here to Pigeon Island, snorkel and admire the coral garden and turtles. The event should preferably be held in the morning.
A sealed plastic bucket is given along with your gear to stow your valuables, and you are instructed where to swim and what to look out for.
The beaches and lagoons of the island are very beautiful. You can sunbathe, swim, walk around. There is excellent snorkeling, and the areas suitable for snorkeling are fenced off.
Chutes du Carbet
This famous waterfall is the national park’s number one attraction. Carbet is formed by three waterfalls that are on the slopes of the Soufrière volcano.
The ascent to the first one, whose height is one hundred and twenty-five meters, is steep. The path is quite long, almost a kilometer. The most visited is the second waterfall, to which leads through the rain forest paved path from the parking lot. You have to climb six hundred meters, and the way takes about twenty minutes.
The third is the most powerful, but only the most advanced hikers are offered to reach it: considerable stamina and excellent physical shape are required.
Earthquake 2004 left significant traces. They are still visible. Down the second waterfall then washed away a huge amount of soil. Kidney has been washed away even more in the intervening years, so many hiking areas are closed.
Pointe-a-Pitre is the economic capital of the island and the largest city. Cruises start from here and planes arrive here. A quarter of the population of Guadeloupe lives here too.
Interesting cathedrals, museums, you can try the local dishes, buy a variety of fruit in the market.
Wooden houses of the century before last can still be seen in the colorful Place de la Victoria.
District of Deshaies
The Deshaies area has very beautiful beaches and an interesting fishing village. Restaurants and cafes on the beach serve fresh fish.
You can visit the Botanical Gardens with many interesting plants.
Beach Bois Jolan
Wild beach amazes not only the absence of tourists, but also the white fine sand, blue water of crystal clarity. The picture is complemented by coconut palms.
In the parking lot there is a self-service shop with snacks and vegetarian food.
Guadeloupe is the right place for jungle trekkers. Routes are designed both for beginners and families with children, as well as for experienced hikers. The latter are offered quite difficult hikes.
In the sea at the beach Petit-Havre bottom here is sandy, shallow, waves never happens. It is ideal to relax with the kids. However, more attractive is that these places are inhabited by iguanas. They are not afraid of people.
It is enough to settle down in a gazebo on a bench and get food, as iguanas immediately begin to crawl to the picnic area. Although they are quite large, it is not easy to see the lizards. The animals first explore the aliens while sitting motionless in the tree. The iguana camouflages itself masterfully to its surroundings.
If you do manage to spot the animal, do not disturb it. There is no need to get close. If you need to take high-quality pictures, a good photo will turn out and from a long distance.
Pan du Sucre
The place should be visited by all connoisseurs of exotic views and impressive contrasts. Black fine sand is especially spectacularly shaded by the sky of bright azure. On the soft sand is nice to walk barefoot.
In a large bay come turtles. Their nesting place is protected by the prefecture.
Guadeloupe literally falls in love from the first moments: the clearest water, butterfly-shaped islands, jungle, waterfalls and white sand – this is the perfect place to rest.
The Caribbean Riviera: a quick guide to the French Islands
What is interesting about the French West Indies, the history of which dates back to Christopher Columbus, what to do in a small Paris, Caribbean Saint-Tropez and other pearls of the region, Pauline Fursova found out.
At the turn of the XV-XVI centuries Christopher Columbus ploughed the Atlantic Ocean in search of India, but did not find it, but on the way he discovered the islands, which later became known as the West Indies, and became an arena, where fierce battles were fought. Sea battles for new territories, pirates and freebooters fighting under the flags of the major European powers, cannibalistic massacres of unwanted sailors by local Carib tribes, the slave trade… France waited until passions subsided, and gathered the cream – two dozen islands in its colonial piggy bank. To date, the metropolis has kept four islands, they are quite rightly called the Caribbean Riviera. And it is one of the great places for those who like to celebrate the New Year under a palm tree.
Guadeloupe is dubbed the “Caribbean butterfly” because of its shape – two almost identical in size islands Bass-Terre and Grand Terre, separated by a narrow isthmus, which disappears at high tide. Bass Terre, “lower land” in French, is actually a mountainous part with the active volcano Soufrière, 1467 m high. According to pirate legends, looted treasure is hidden at its foot, so one of the best-selling items in the nearby shops is a treasure hunter’s kit. The volcano is surrounded by tropical forests, gardens studded with blooming orchids, nearby Jacques-Yves Cousteau underwater park with fabulous mangroves – all worthy of detailed research, so a stop for a couple of nights in the ecolodge among the drowning greenery is inevitable
The second “wing of the butterfly” is the island of Grande Terre is hollow and green. It is this part of the archipelago that was originally used by the French for plantations of sugar cane, bananas, cocoa and coffee. Here or on any satellite island of Guadeloupe (Marie-Galante, La Desirades, Le Saint) should go for a beach holiday. The main rules of conduct on the beaches – keep a safe distance from coconut palms, leisurely sip a cocktail of rum with papaya and lime juice, and feed the island’s tiniest inhabitants – hummingbirds. The Creole cuisine is a special item on the island program. Chicken in coconut milk, Chatrou octopus and the inhabitants of giant shells and the creators of the most expensive and rare pearls conch – lambi clams are must-tastings. When you say goodbye to Guadeloupe, don’t forget to visit the spice market in Pointe-à-Pitre and stock up on fresh vanilla, rum and artisanal chocolate.
Locals call the island’s capital of Fort-de-France “little Paris,” but not for the similarity, but rather for the beauty of the colonial buildings and streets, densely diluted by parks with palm and eucalyptus alleys.
You can wash down your strolls in the blazing sun with freshly squeezed guava or passion fruit juices at one of the many cafes. In January, Martinicans are immersed in a massive carnival season, which ends two months later with a large-scale celebration of Mardi Gras (Shrovetide). Colorful costumes, rivers of rum and giddy dancing are three reasons to visit the island during the winter months. In addition to the classic island pleasures, Martinique offers diving among sunken ships, swimming with turtles and dolphins, feel like a hero of Ernest Hemingway’s story “The Old Man and the Sea” and catch a huge marlin, go on a horseback ride on the white sandy beaches or visit the house-museum of Josephine Beauharnais, the first wife of Napoleon – Martinique.
“And this island shall bear the name of St. Bartholomew, in honor of my brother, Bartholomew.” This is how Christopher Columbus christened the island when he discovered it in 1493. But there was nothing holy there to begin with. The island served as a haven for corsairs, pirates and smugglers, thriving only on the plundering of Spanish galleons and the exchange of goods with the population of nearby islands. Despite the fact that its history is similar to that of the other islands of the archipelago, it is this tiny spot that is called the Caribbean Saint-Tropez. That’s because in 1957, David Rockefeller bought two plots on St. Barts, opening the place to the rich and famous. Fifty years later, Roman Abramovich bought 70 acres of land behind Gouverneur Beach. And then his friends came along. By the way, the law of the island states that all the beaches are municipal, so the oligarch and his famous guests humbly lay down their towels next to the other tourists. One of the main entertainments on the island is shopping: you can find a lot of nice things Made in Caraibes, and if you’re lucky, Steve Martin or Sylvester Stallone dropping into the boutique will tell you what color shirt to choose.
St. Maarten, aka St. Maarten, is the smallest territory in the world, amicably governed by two states at once, France and the Netherlands. St. Maarten boasts offshore status, four casinos and the Princess Juliana International Airport, which is the main attraction of the Dutch part of the island. The planes coming in for a landing literally land on the heads of the sunbathing tourists on Maho beach and leave them in a state of indescribable delight. The right thing to do is to rent a Harley-Davidson and ride around the island. Although there is no physical border, the French influence can be felt everywhere. After riding through the colonial streets of the French capital, Marigot, and stocking up on lobster in one of the gastronomic restaurants, be sure to drive to the hotel Belmond La Samanna and spend the golden Caribbean sunset with a glass of champagne.