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Travel & Holiday Tips


Guadeloupe comprises the butterfly-shaped islands of Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre and the nearby smaller islands of La Desirade, Marie-Galante and Les Saintes.

The islands were discovered by Columbus in 1493, became a French colony in 1635 and, in 1946, were given the status of a French Overseas Department. As a result they retain their strong French influence, from the local flavours and ingredients to the currency.

The islands have lovely white sand beaches but also a wildlife-infested rainforest and the highest waterfall in the Caribbean. Basse-Terre has a rough volcanic terrain; Grande-Terre has rolling hills and flat plains. There are also lush mountainous areas with stunning and unspoiled tropical scenery.

The islands are a divers' paradise, described by Jacques Cousteau as among the top 10 dive sites in the world.

Guadeloupe boasts plenty of restaurants, bars and discos, with displays of local dancing and music. The famous dance of the island is called the biguine, where colorful and ornate Creole costumes are still worn. Don't forget to try the famous rum punch cocktails – rum with lime, bitter and syrup.


Pointe-à-Pitre, the commercial capital of Guadeloupe, is situated on the island of Grande-Terre. This gracious town has a pleasant square at its core, the Place de la Victoire, which is surrounded by a busy market and, further out, the docks. It is an active, lively port with many narrow streets to explore. The Pavillion d’Exposition de Bergevin and the Center Cultural Rémy Nainsouta are two interesting museums in the town. At Fort Fleur d’Épée, there are some fascinating underground caves and to the north of these is the old sugar
town of Sainte-Anne.


Highlights include Sainte-Marie de Capesterre and the Hindu temple to its south, where it may be possible to see religious ceremonies taking place. The small town of Trois Rivières has a collection of interesting Indian relics which could easily be visited on the way to the National Park of Guadeloupe near St-Claude. This 74,000-acre park, of great natural beauty, is situated at the base of La Soufrière, a dormant volcano. In the rainforests there are some good walking and picnic areas which make a pleasant alternative to lying on the islands’ fine beaches. The town of Basse-Terre itself is a beautiful old French colonial town, situated at the foot of La Soufrière. The St-Charles Fort is of French military architecture, built in 1605 and now restored and converted into a museum. The cathedral and market place are also worth seeing.

Other Islands

The other islands of Marie-Galante, La Désirade and Les Saintes are visited less frequently and are best suited to the resourceful traveller. La Désirade, quiet and undeveloped, is known for its seafood. Les Saintes are a string of tiny islands, only two of which are inhabited, Terre-de-Haut and Terre-de-Bas. These are both very attractive and have a selection of modestly priced hotels. Marie-Galante has a number of good hotels and beaches. Its old and crumbling mills are reminders of its history as a major sugar plantation.





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