PAX recently journeyed to Guadeloupe to criss-cross three of the five different islands that make up this French archipelago. Here are five good reasons to head on over to this little piece of the French Caribbean!
Sable, white, yellow, orange or black, the beaches of the islands of Guadeloupe are diverse and incredibly beautiful. Travellers might not find kilometre-long stretches of sand, like in Cuba or the Dominican Republic, but they'll come across enchanting wild coves, here and there.
On the volcanic island of Basse-Terre, the tumultuous past of the Soufriere volcano explains the many black and yellow sand beaches. On Grande-Terre and Marie-Galante, the white sand beaches are lined with warm and crystalline water and a handful of restaurants.
Nature, in all its glory
The islands of Guadeloupe, particularly Basse-Terre, have many hiking trails!
Moreover, the island of Basse-Terre is home to the Guadeloupe National Park, a dense tropical jungle and a network of more than 300 kilometres of trails. This island is also known for its many waterfalls, such as the Cascade le Saut de L'Acomat (translated literally, the Acomat Jump) and the Cascade aux Ecrevisses (Crayfish Waterfall). To reach them, you'll have to hike: while the first trail is quite steep, the second is very accessible.
At the foundation of Creole cuisine is a lot of spices, which can be purchased at the market of Sainte-Anne, at the edge of the beach
"We Guadeloupeans, we like to eat! Moreover, everything we eat is fresh," says Déborah Coffre, mission manager for travel agencies and tour operators for the Guadeloupe Islands Tourism Board in Canada, based in Montreal.
At the Marché de Sainte-Anne, tourists can buy spices found in typical Creole dishes such as Colombo de Cabri (an Indian curry of goat cheese), the fierce avocado (a mixture of avocado, cassava flour and cod, sprinkled with chili) or a good grilled fish with pumpkin rice.
The Ti-Punch and the Planter are two local drinks made with Guadeloupe rum, and are a must-try for any visitor. The locals each have their own personal way to prepare them.
Accommodations for every budget
On the five islands, there is a place to stay for everybody. Properties range from charming hotels, like the four-star Relais du Moulin, to a few all-inclusives, such as Club Med La Caravelle, to homestays.
We were able to try three different gites (holiday homes for rent) and we were very satisfied with the quality of the accommodation. From a modern villa, to a typical Guadeloupean house or village bungalow, the different choices allow vacationers to enjoy their own rental house.
A rich history
Travellers to Guadeloupe are able to visit cultural landmarks that pay tribute to the island's former colonial history. At the Memorial ACTe (Caribbean Center of Expressions and Memory of Trafficking and Slavery) in Pointe-à-Pitre, visitors can learn more about the presence of slavery in Guadeloupe.
Other landmarks include the Habitation Murat in Marie-Galante, a well-preserved example of a mansion, a mill and a sugar plantation.
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