With a distinctive French heritage, this archipelago offers a pleasant blend of sporting and cultural activities. Enjoy local rum and coffee too.
Far from the shores of Europe, Guadeloupe is a French region with French and Creole language and mixed culture that includes African, Arawak and Asian influence. Experience that diversity when you come for a beach, nature or cultural vacation in this beautiful spot in the Caribbean.
Tour Mémorial ACTe, a museum in Pointe a Pitre that preserves memories and educates today’s visitors about the tragic slavery trade that impacted the islands 150 years ago. Petroglyphs at the Roches Gravées site reveal the presence of Arawak Indians from as early as A.D. 300. The Changy temple in Capesterre Belle-eau celebrates the influence of sub-continental India.
Seek out local coffee from Guadeloupe, one of the Americas’ oldest coffee-growing regions, or follow a rum trail to visit some of the islands’ many distilleries. The food here is delicious, with French, Creole and other influences creating exquisite seafood and other dishes. Ask for a tourment d’amour, a local tart that is crunchy on the outside and filled with coconut, banana or guava.
The natural world demonstrates great beauty from mountains to ocean. Try scuba diving off Basse-Terre, the archipelago’s largest island, much loved by the famous aquatic explorer Jacques Cousteau. Snorkeling is always popular in the year-round warm and clear waters. Go kayaking, sailing and whale watching. Relax on white, gold, black or pink sand beaches.
Inland areas are equally attractive, with over 75 percent of the territory designated as natural reserve. Hike along the trail to La Soufriere, an active volcano in Parc Nationale de Guadeloupe. Bike along the many miles of rolling hills on Grande-Terre, the eastern island, or follow the racing circuit around Marie-Galante.
Get a window seat for your flight into or out of Guadeloupe, so you can photograph the butterfly shape of the two main islands connected by short bridges. If you arrive from January through March, participate in the music, dance, parades and happiness of huge Carnival celebrations across the region.