Guadeloupe Islands. Attractions

The 15 most popular tourist attractions in Guadeloupe

The island archipelago of Guadeloupe offers a delightful blend of natural beauty and rich Creole and French culture. The archipelago is an overseas region of France, and its food, language and culture reflect this connection. Guadeloupe is butterfly-shaped with two main islands, Grande Terre in the east and Bas Terre in the west, separated by a narrow mangrove channel called Rivière-Salais. Palm beaches wrap around the coastline, and the interior is lush and mountainous with waterfalls, hot springs and an active volcano. Most of the tourist facilities are located on the south coast of Grande Terre, which is also home to the cruise’s largest city and port, Pointe-a-Pitre.

The archipelago also encompasses the smaller islands of La Desirade, Les Saintes and Marie Galante, which offer many natural attractions. All of Guadeloupe’s islands have great opportunities for birding; photography; hiking; and water sports such as snorkeling, swimming and diving. Guadeloupe also has many colorful carnivals and festivals, including the five-day Mardi Gras Carnival, ending on Ash Wednesday.

1 Guadeloupe National Park, Bass Ter

Guadalupe National Park, Bas Ter.

Designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, Guadeloupe National Park (Guadeloupe National Park) on the island of Bas Terre often attracts more than a million visitors a year. The park includes 300 kilometers of hiking trails; La Soufrière Volcano at 1,467 meters; Col de la Matéliane at 1,298 meters; and a wide variety of flora and fauna, including 100 species of orchids and 11 species of bats. Birdwatchers will enjoy the diversity here with resident species such as the black woodpecker, the pearly-eyed trescher and the Lesser Antillean pewee. A good way to travel through the park is via the Route de la Traverse (D23). This scenic trans-coastal trail winds through a rainforest of majestic mahogany and bamboo trees. Along this route are lookouts, picnic areas, jungle waterfalls, and a staffed roadside tourism center at Maison de la Forêt. You can also stop for a cooling Cascade aux Ecrevisses , a small waterfall spilling into a pond. Other popular things to do in the park include a volcano hike and another trail to a series of waterfalls on the lower slopes of the volcano known as Les Chutes du Carbet (Carbet Falls) .

Address: Habitation Beausoleil Montéran, 97120 Saint Claude

Official website:

Accommodation: Where to stay in Guadeloupe

2 La Soufrière Hike, Bas-Terre

La Soufrière Hike, Basse-Terre Daniel Jolivet / photo modified

The highest peak in the Lesser Antilles is La Grande Soufrière, an active volcano that has erupted eight times since 1660. Hot springs, mud pools, and fumaroles accent its barren black sides. Travelers can climb the volcano along the Chemin des Dames trail , a roughly two-hour climb with panoramic views from the highest points of the massif while the weather is clear. The triple waterfall Chutes du Carbet flows along the eastern edge of the massif of La Soufrière from a height of 115 meters, with observers above each waterfall. Travelers who follow Etang As de Pique will find one of the largest mountain lakes formed in craters on a volcanic massif surrounded by lush hills.

Address: Habitation Beausoleil Montéran, 97120 Saint Claude

3 La Pointe des Châteaux, Grand Terre

La Pointe des Châteaux is a picturesque isthmus at the easternmost point of Grande Terre. The windswept, wave-stricken point with its chateau rock formations radiates a rugged beauty reminiscent of Brittany. A botanical path leads from the village to a superb point among the great black cliffs that offers beautiful views of the islands of La Desirade, Petite Terre and Marie Galante.

4 Tour of the Grand Cal de Sac Marin Nature Reserve

Grand Cal de Sac Marin Nature Reserve Boat Tour Michelle Craig / photo modified

Cradled between the northern shores of Bass Terre and Grand Terre, the Réserve Naturelle du Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin ) is a great place to soak up the wild side of Guadeloupe by boat. This 15,000-hectare reserve is a mosaic of mangrove forests, mudflats, coral reefs, grasslands to the north, turquoise lagoons and small islets, and transition zones where viable human activities are allowed. Together with the Guadeloupe National Park on Bass Terre, it forms the Archipelago Biosphere Reserve in Guadeloupe , Among the prolific marine life found in the reserve are turtles, sea urchins, giant sponges and an impressive variety of fish. Birds can be found such as kingfishers, herons, pelicans and frigate birds. You can visit the reserve on an excursion, usually called the Blue Lagoon Tour, which includes exploring the mangroves and Mustique River; snorkeling on the coral reefs; and stopping at a small white sand island, Ilet Caret, surrounded by glowing turquoise water. If you don’t speak French, be sure to ask for an English-speaking guide.

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5 Plage de Grande Anse, Basse-Terre

Plage de Grande Anse, Basse Terre Alexia Boulot / photo modified

On the northeast coast of Basse Terre, near Deschayes, Plage de Grande Anse is a picturesque slice of palm sand and clear waters. The beach is surrounded by lush headlands, a beach more than a kilometer long, with soft golden sand and lots of shady trees.It’s a great beach to walk on, and the waters are usually great for swimming, although the surf can be a bit rough on windy days. It’s not the best place for young children swimming, as the sea floor suddenly drops off the shoreline. A bonus here is that you can rent kayaks to paddle around the mangrove lagoon behind the beach. After a morning of sunbathing and swimming, head to the little cafes and beer trucks near the parking lot that sell mouthwatering crepes and other snacks.

Further north, Plage de la Perle is another popular beach near Deshaies, with cafes and restrooms, and it tends to be a bit quieter than Plage de Grande Anse

6 Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve

Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve

On the Bass Terre coast, near Bouillante, the waters surrounding Pigeon Island, there is the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve (Réserve Cousteau) with some of the best underwater scenery in Guadeloupe. You can walk the shallow reefs, snorkel or view the corals from side-bottom boats, and dive operators cater to all skill levels. Turtles and large schools of fish, as well as parrotfish, trumpetfish and fish, frequent the coral gardens here, and the area offers good flood and wreck dives. You can also kayak to the reserve from the mainland.

Address: Bouillante, Guadeloupe, Plage de Malendure 97125

7 Guadeloupe Zoo, Parc de Maumelles, Bas-Terre

Jaguar in the Guadeloupe Zoo

Near Guadeloupe National Park, the Zoo de Guadalupe is a popular garden and nature preserve on the banks of the Rivière-à-terre. About 85 animal species are represented here, including many rare and endangered species. Tropical trails wind through rainforests where you can see turtles, raccoons, monkeys, jaguars and parrots. One section of the park is punctuated by rope bridges leading over a canopy with breathtaking views of the mountainous terrain.

Address: Route de la traversée, D23

Official website:

8 Jardin Botanique de Deschies, Bas-Terre

Jardin Botanique de Deschies, Bas-Terre

Filled with beautiful tropical flora and many colorful varieties of birds, the Jardine Botanique de Deschies is a peaceful botanical garden on the northwest coast of Basse Terre. Pathways lined with bright splashes of bougainvillea winds throughout the grounds, where you can stroll between cascades, lily ponds and gazebos. Kids will love to feed the fish, as well as the rainbow lorikeets that come down at arm’s length. The hilltop restaurant has a beautiful view of the gardens and the sea.

Address: Deshaies 97126, Basse Terre

Official website:

9 Isle of Terre de Haut, Les Saintes

Isle of Terre de Haut, Les Saintes

The island of Terre de Haut, the eastern island of Le Saint, exudes a more European character than its western counterpart, Terre de Basse. The terrain and climate were unsuitable for growing sugar, so the settlers were mostly fishermen. The pastel-colored houses and brightly colored fishing boats (saintosas) provide excellent photo opportunities. In the island’s main village, Bourg de Seine, the volcanic Sugar Loaf Hill overlooks a curving blue bay fringed by white sand. The houses here are European in character, with whitewashed walls, red tile roofs and flower beds.

On a hill overlooking the bay, the 17th century Fort Napoleon, with its historic museum and exotic garden, is one of the island’s main attractions. Another point, Morne du Chameau is the highest point on the island and takes about two hours to climb from the village of Terre de Haut. Across the bay of Illet Cabrit is a small island where the ruins of the 19th century Fort Josephine still stand.

10 Ter de Bass Island, Les Saintes

Isle of Terre de Bass, Les Saintes

Ter de Bass is the western island of Le Seine. There are small fishing villages, swimming beaches and hiking trails. Two hours are enough to cross the island, which is considered one of the most natural and wild in the Guadeloupe archipelago. Grande Anse on Terre de Bass has a small 17th-century church, a beautiful cove and beach with swimming and snorkeling huts, and a hiking trail to the 273-meter-long Cape Grande Montagne. Gros Cap is the main village of Terre de Bass with a ferry landing, hotel, restaurant and starting points for roads and hiking trails.

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11 St. Anne’s Beach, Grande Terre

St. Anne’s Beach, Grande Terre

Palm Beach St. Anne is one of the most popular beaches in Guadeloupe. The seaside promenade floating along the shore is a great place to walk, and the beach is busy but beautiful, with white sand and shallow water in dreamy shades of blue. It’s a great place to swim, with typically calm waters. Near the beach there are many restaurants and shops selling local crafts.

To the west, facing the Club Med La Caravelle, Plage Caravelle is another beautiful beach with a sea reef. If you prefer a little more tranquility, Plage de Bois Jolan, to the east, is less crowded than St. Anne, but you need to bring your own food and refreshments, as the beach lacks amenities.

12 Marie Galante Island.

Marie Galante, called Big Pancake, is a round, flat island known for its gorgeous beaches. Sugar farming and tourism are major industries, and you can see the ruins of many windmills around the island. Spectacular, swimming, hiking and local activities are all popular activities. Built in 1839, Château Murat was the largest sugar plantation in Guadeloupe, and its eco-museum honors the art and culture of Marie-Galante, including the history of the sugar industry. Also on site are a restored colonial mansion, a windmill, the ruins of a sugar mill and a healing garden. Feuillere Beach is one of the most beautiful stretches of sand on the island.

13 La Désirade Day Trip

La Désirade Day Trip Daniel Jolivet / photo modified

Meaning “Desirable” in French, La Désirade certainly lives up to its name for travelers who want to avoid the crowds of tourists. This peaceful island is about a 45-minute rocky boat ride from Saint-François on the southeast coast of Grande Terre. Consisting of table rock, it is the oldest island in the Lesser Antilles and was once a leper colony but is now a geological reserve. Charming palm-fringed beaches like Fifi and Souffler call the island, and coral reefs protect its shores. Snorkeling, swimming and diving are all popular activities here, and the hiking trail at Le Morne du Souffleur offers spectacular sea views. You’ll also see plenty of iguanas and goats during your visit.

Not far from La Désirade, Petite Terre are two uninhabited island reserves known for their biodiversity.

14 Plage du Souffleur, Grand Terre

Plage du Souffleur, Grande Terre

Beach du Soifler, one of Grande Terre’s most beautiful beaches, is south of the coast of Port Louis, a small fishing village on the island’s northwest coast. Sea grape trees and coconut palms fringe this picturesque stretch of white sand and aqua sea, offering plenty of shady spots to lay out your towel. Depending on conditions, you can find decent waves here for surfing, and when the water is calm, snorkeling can be fun. Food trucks sell Creole food and refreshments.

In nearby Port Louis, brightly painted wooden houses and antique iron lampposts give the town a cheerful feel. A 20-minute drive through an area of desert vegetation, Pointe de la Grande Vigy, the northernmost point in Guadeloupe, with stunning sea views of neighboring islands on clear days.

15 Pointe-à-Pitre Shopping

Shoppers will find Guadeloupe’s best shopping in Pointe-à-Pitre, the archipelago’s largest city. French perfumes, jewelry, cosmetics, crystal and fashion lure shoppers to the Saint-John Perse Centre, as well as the stores along Frébault, Nozières and Schoelcher Streets. Market Saint Antoine offers a sampling of Creole flavors, and the colorful outdoor markets are a delight to visit as much for the atmosphere as for their goods, and many market vendors are dressed in colors as colorful as the tropical fruits they display. The harbor market sells spices, flowers, crafts and clothing, and fishing boats tie up here to sell their catch.

More beautiful islands near Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe is surrounded by other gorgeous islands where natural beauty is the upper draw. To the south lie Dominica, Martinique and St. Lucia, with lush mountainous terrain and fantastic hiking opportunities. To the north, a volcano still waves tiny Montserrat, and Antigua and Barbuda is home to some of the best beaches in the Caribbean.

For other tropical travel ideas, see our articles on the best luxury integrated resorts in the Caribbean and the best tropical vacations.

Guadeloupe, a French treasure

It was with Guadeloupe that our first acquaintance with the Caribbean Islands began, which is simply impossible not to fall in love with! Butterfly-shaped island, crystal clear water, snow-white sand, sun and green jungles with waterfalls – that’s it, a perfect place for recreation for active tourists and families with small children.

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Coconut on the beach

Caribbean Beaches, Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe made a very positive impression on us, so we have compiled a detailed guide so that you too can enjoy the main sights and know how to get there and what to do on the islands.

Where Guadeloupe is and how to get there

Guadeloupe is an archipelago and an overseas department of France in the Caribbean Sea. The archipelago consists of two large islands, Bass Terre and Grand Terre, separated by a strait, which gives the island a butterfly shape, and several smaller islands: Marie-Galante, La Desirades, Les Saintes and Petit Terre.

Bar-Ter and Grand Ter are separated by a strait

The mountainous island of Bas-Terre

Getting to these French overseas territories is easy from Paris. Direct flight back and forth cost €190 by LEVEL airline. Flight time is 9 hours.

From Russia, we have not seen direct flights, it is always suggested to make a connection either in Milan (Italy), in Paris (France).

Guadeloupe can also be reached by a regular ferry from the neighboring islands: Dominica or Martinique. The latter also belongs to the French Overseas Territories. And if you fly there, the ferry to Guadeloupe takes about 3 hours.

Guadeloupe on the map

Russian citizens will need a visa to visit Guadeloupe. This is not just a French single-entry Schengen visa, but a visa for the French Overseas Territories. It looks different, and is also a multi-entry or single-entry visa.

If you plan to visit neighboring countries, not only Guadeloupe, do not forget to make a multi-visa! You can get it at the French Embassy, or in a visa center – depending on what you have in town.

The beach on Grande Terre Island

On Guadeloupe excellent beaches for swimming or hiking

If you have French multichengen , you can enter Guadeloupe with it. With any other multischengen entry will be denied. However, information on visas often changes, and before a trip is better to clarify the details on the website of the Embassy .

Car Rental

In contrast to neighboring Dominica, the roads in Guadeloupe are excellent and the car is easy to drive. You can rent a car at the airport, there are plenty of companies and you will find a suitable option.

In Guadeloupe, a small car is enough, because everywhere there are good paved roads. And in the jungle paths to waterfalls and lakes are still only on foot.

Roads, Guadeloupe

There are excellent paved roads on the island.

If you have a late flight, be sure to warn the company at what time you arrive, as all the offices at the airport close at 9 pm, and then you can not get through to anyone.

We used Jumbo Car and we are satisfied. No hidden fees, a million extra insurances, and everything is exactly as it says on their site when booking and paying. We arrived late to the island but they waited for us as we agreed.

Cuisine and restaurants

The cuisine of Guadeloupe is such a special Caribbean mix between French, African and Indian food. It is dominated by dishes of fish, seafood with various fresh juices of tropical fruits.

● fried vegetables and cod ● clam broth ● crab soup with green bananas ● stuffed crabs ● all kinds of spicy clam soups

Restaurant, Guadeloupe

Caribbean food: fish with rice and vegetables

By the way, green bananas for soup that are boiled and regular bananas for eating are different things. So do not be surprised if you find green bananas in supermarkets or markets. They are only used for cooking. They taste like potatoes.

Since Guadeloupe is one of the French overseas territories, the French influence is impossible not to notice: French stores, food, prices, language. The choice of food we are accustomed to here is quite large, there are large supermarkets, which sell basically everything. Prices are not low.

Takeaway, Guadeloupe

And you can take food to go and enjoy the view on the beach

Guadeloupe is not the most budget destination. Although, it’s probably not as expensive as New Caledonia, which also belongs to France. There are expensive restaurants, and places where you can find a menu (first, second, dessert and alcoholic beverage) for € 15. Of alcohol, rum and punch are popular here, as well as various French wines.

When to go

Caribbean islands have a warm tropical climate and good weather all year round. Except for the rainy season and hurricanes.

Palenque - the power of an ancient civilization in all its glory

The rainy season is from June to October, but the tropical rains are usually short and not uncomfortable. The high season in Guadeloupe is from December to February, and in summer a lot of French people fly here on their vacations and summer vacations. We were here in November, the weather was great, with occasional short rains, and there were few people, respectively, and the prices “off season”.

Grande Terre Island

You can stop at any beach, they are all beautiful.

In general, as the Antilles group is big and there is a lot to see, there are no special crowds, even in high season, so you can rest very comfortably.

What to see and do

Most people come to the Caribbean islands for the sun, beach, good weather and water activities. Lovers of outdoor activities will not be bored in Guadeloupe: trekking through the jungle to waterfalls, diving and snorkeling, kitesurfing and kayaking – everyone will find something to their liking.

Guadeloupe National Park

Almost two-thirds of the island of Bass Terre is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The park covers a large area covered with jungle, mangroves and a coral reef.

The park has many well-marked trails

Suspension Bridge, Guadeloupe Park

There are many hiking trails and picnic areas as well as lodges. Jungle attracts its beauty and grandeur of thousands of tourists. The hiking trails are well-marked and if you enjoy hiking, you will certainly want to spend a few days in the national park of Guadeloupe.

Guadeloupe National Park

Beautiful lagoons in the park

Nature lovers will also appreciate the beautiful waterfalls and lakes located within the park, as well as the famous Soufrière Volcano . The park is home to more than 800 unique species of flora and fauna. It’s fun to walk around looking at colorful orchids, ferns, and trees. Also, if you’re lucky, you might see bats, rodents and more than 10 species of various woodpeckers.

Grand Anse Beach

This is the most famous beach of Bass Ter. It seems to be endless! The sandy beach is in a bay that is surrounded by green mountains around the edges, which gives it a special charm. The water is very clean, there is no algae or sea urchins. The water entry is very good and there are almost always small waves, which clearly attracts children and adults .

Beach on Bass Ter, Guadeloupe

Nice beach Grand Anse for swimming and walking.

There are a couple of large parking lots, restaurants and cafes near the beach. The shops also sell very tasty homemade coconut ice cream . Despite the fact that the beach is a very popular holiday destination for tourists and locals, it is very long, so there is enough room under the palm tree for everyone. The main thing is to watch out for a coconut falling on your head

Jacques-Yves Cousteau Marine Reserve

Cousteau’s underwater sanctuary is the most famous diving and snorkeling spot in Guadeloupe. Off the coast of Bas-Terre is where the legendary French explorer filmed his first documentary series about the underwater world. There is even an underwater monument to Cousteau.

Snorkeling in Guadeloupe

Coral Garden in Park Cousteau

There are sea turtles, rare species of tropical fish, seahorses and stars, and a beautiful coral garden. On the coast there are many dive centers that depart with tours every two or three hours. It is better to book in advance to be sure to reserve a place.

Visit Pigeon Island by kayak

At the same beach where the dive tours depart from, Plage de Malendure, you can rent a single, double, or even a triple kayak and sail out to Pigeon Island with masks to view turtles and the coral garden.

Independent kayaking excursion

Our three-seater kayak and the back of Pigeon Island

This activity is better planned for the morning when the sun is not so hot and the sea is calm. You will be given a mask, flippers, a large plastic bucket where you can put your phone and other valuables, and give a brief instruction where to swim and what to see.

On Pigeon Island there are small, but very beautiful lagoons and beaches, so after you get there by kayak, you can walk and sunbathe. Also here is great snorkeling and all snorkeling spots are marked and fenced with buoys.

Chutes du Carbet Falls

This famous waterfall is located in the National Park of Guadeloupe. It is not just a waterfall, but a cascade of three waterfalls on the slopes of the Soufrière Volcano.

View of Carbet Falls from the observation deck

Carbet Falls, which is a 20-minute walk away

Gran Vía is the main tourist boulevard of the Spanish capital

The height of the first waterfall is 125 meters, the ascent there is steep and long, as much as 900 meters. The second waterfall is the most visited, as it leads to a paved path through the rain forest directly from the parking lot. The path takes no more than 20 minutes with an ascent of about 600 meters. The third waterfall is the most powerful, but the way to it is accessible only to very physically fit tourists.

In 2004, Guadeloupe was a major earthquake, and even after 15 years in the woods are visible traces of it. Then a huge amount of soil just washed down at the second waterfall. A few years later, heavy rains further eroded the soil, so the park administration restricted many hiking areas. There are signs hanging there now.

Buy fruit at the market in Pointe-à-Pitre

Pointe-à-Pitre is the largest city and economic capital of Guadeloupe. Planes fly in and cruises come here. It is home to more than 100 thousand people, a quarter of the population.

The tastiest bananas and mangoes

The choice of fruit in Guadeloupe is just great.

In the capital of curious to walk around, see the cathedrals and museums, try the local cuisine in restaurants, and visit the famous market and buy a variety of tropical fruits. Believe me, such ripe and tasty bananas, pineapples and mangoes where you can not find!

Visit the district of Deshaies

Besides the beautiful beaches of the region of Deshaies, it is interesting to walk around and visit the fishing village. On the coast there are various restaurants and cafes that serve fresh fish. There are also Botanical Gardens, covering 7 hectares with a lot of interesting plants.

Fisherman's Village in the Deche region

Colorful fishing boats

Beach Bois Jolan

This is one of our favorite beaches. It is located on the Grande Terre and is interesting because it is really wild. There are no tourists, the water is crystal blue and fine white sand. All this is complemented by coconut palms, sloping over the water. This deserted beach looks like a picture from a Bounty commercial.

Beau Jolan Beach

Beautiful deserted beach, Guadeloupe

The parking lot, on the other hand, has a small auto shop that sells snacks, burgers, and vegetarian food. There’s also a restaurant, but it’s apparently only open in high season.

Swim in the blue lagoon in the jungle

Fans of jungle trekking will love Guadeloupe. There are easy trails for beginners or families with children, as well as challenging routes for experienced hikers. And how nice after hours of walking to jump in the lake of the forest or swim in the lagoon under a waterfall!

Lagoon and waterfall in a national park.

Other hikers also want to refresh themselves.

Watch iguanas on the beach Petit-Havre

A very beautiful but small beach in the south of Grande Terre. There are no waves, it’s shallow and the bottom is sandy. It is perfect for swimming with children. But it is interesting that there are iguanas that are not afraid of people!

Iguana, Grande Terre

These iguanas can be seen on the beaches of Guadeloupe

As soon as you sit down in the gazebo and get food, iguanas crawl into the picnic area. Despite their large size, they are not easy to see! It’s a neat animal that doesn’t make any noise and can sit in a tree for a long time without moving and adjusting to its surroundings. If you spot an iguana, don’t disturb the animal or get close. Even from a distance you can take good photos .


Guadeloupe is a safe tourist destination, unlike many Caribbean countries. People are not poor like in Latin America and shoes will not be taken off. However, despite the low crime rate, fraud and theft of personal belongings are not uncommon.

So do not leave valuables unattended on the beach, change money in banks, not at street barters. Lock your car when you leave, and do not leave purses and bags in a prominent place.

Beach with iguanas, Grande Ter

Sometimes iguanas go right out to the water.

As for food and water, food storage and hygiene are generally respected here. However, this is a hot country, bacteria also spreads fast, so it is better to eat warmed food. It is always wise to drink bottled water, although tap water is chlorinated and relatively safe.

Do not forget the sunscreen and spray against mosquitoes, during the rains there are a lot of them. And you should always protect yourself from the sun, especially in the tropical zone. By the way, here’s an idea of what to take with you on your trip!

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