Guadeloupe

To see each "wing" of the butterfly, you'll need to budget at least one day. They are connected by a bridge, and Grande-Terre has pretty villages along its south coast and the spectacular Pointe des Châteaux. You can see the main sights in Pointe-à-Pitre in a half day. Touring the rugged, mountainous Basse-Terre is a challenge. If time is a problem, head straight to the west coast; you could easily spend a day traveling its length, stopping for sightseeing, lunch, and a swim. You can make day trips to the islands, but an overnight or more works best. Leave your heavy luggage in the baggage room of your "mainland" hotel and take a small bag on the ferry.

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  • 1. Domaine de Bellevue

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    If time allows just one distillery here, choose the modern Domaine de Bellevue, whose rum has taken home the gold during official French competitions...

    If time allows just one distillery here, choose the modern Domaine de Bellevue, whose rum has taken home the gold during official French competitions. Free tastings are just one inviting element. There are award-winning, pure rums (50%–59%) and also excellent tropical liqueurs (punches). Bellevue is the top rum exporter of Guadeloupe/Marie-Galante with the only eco-positive distillery in the world. Down from one of only two restored windmills (c.1821) on-island is a boutique offering everything made from natural materials, such as calabash gourds, as well as coffee-table books.

    Section Bellevue, Capesterre-de-Marie-Galante, Marie-Galante, 97140, Guadeloupe
    0590-97–26–50

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 2. Anse Crawen

    Beach

    This half-mile stretch of white sand is secluded and was known for nude sunbathing, but don't plan on shedding your suit, because now it's against...

    This half-mile stretch of white sand is secluded and was known for nude sunbathing, but don't plan on shedding your suit, because now it's against the law. Topless is still okay. To reach it, go past the resort Bois Joli and continue straight until you see the beach. It's a narrow beach, somewhat rocky, but still appealing. Although it's busy in high season, the fact that it is a stretch to get here means that in low-season you might be all alone. Amenities: none. Best for: partiers; solitude; swimming; walking.

    Terre-de-Haut, Iles des Saintes, 97137, Guadeloupe
  • 3. Anse de Vieux Fort

    Beach

    This gorgeous Marie-Galante beach stretches alongside crystal-clear waters that border a large body of freshwater that is ideal for canoeing...

    This gorgeous Marie-Galante beach stretches alongside crystal-clear waters that border a large body of freshwater that is ideal for canoeing. It's a surprising contrast from the nearby mangrove swamp you can discover on the hiking trails. The beaches in this area are wide because of the erosion of the sand dunes. It's known as a beach for lovers because of the solitude. Bring your own everything. You can pair a visit to Château Murat with your beach day. Amenities: none. Best for: snorkeling; solitude; sunset; swimming; walking.

    Rte. D205, , Marie-Galante, 97112, Guadeloupe
  • 4. Aquarium de la Guadeloupe

    Zoo/Aquarium

    Unique in the Antilles, this aquarium in the marina near Pointe-à-Pitre is a good place to spend an hour. Its motto is "Visit the sea." The...

    Unique in the Antilles, this aquarium in the marina near Pointe-à-Pitre is a good place to spend an hour. Its motto is "Visit the sea." The well-planned facility has an assortment of tropical fish, crabs, lobsters, moray eels, coffer fish, and some live coral. It's also a turtle rescue center, and the shark tank is spectacular. A restaurant serves kid-friendly fare, snacks, salads, pastas, etc. A small shop stocks marine toys and souvenirs. The aquarium also offers twice-daily half-day ecotours via small boats that travel through the mangroves, reefs, and a lagoon, with a biologist guide and a diving instructor on board. Snorkeling gear is included, and kids are more than welcome.

    Pl. Créole, off Rte. N4, Le Gosier, Grande-Terre, 97190, Guadeloupe
    0590-90–92–38

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €11.50; ecotour €59
  • 5. Bouillante

    Town/Village

    The name means "boiling," and so it's no surprise that hot springs were discovered here. However, the biggest attraction is scuba diving on...

    The name means "boiling," and so it's no surprise that hot springs were discovered here. However, the biggest attraction is scuba diving on nearby Pigeon Island, which is accessed by boat from Plage de Malendure. There's a small information kiosk on the beach at Plage de Malendure that can help you with diving and snorkeling arrangements.

    Bouillante, Basse-Terre, 97125, Guadeloupe
  • 6. Cascade aux Ecrevisses

    Within the Parc National de la Guadeloupe, Crayfish Falls is one of the island's loveliest (and most popular) spots. There's a marked trail...

    Within the Parc National de la Guadeloupe, Crayfish Falls is one of the island's loveliest (and most popular) spots. There's a marked trail (walk carefully—the rocks can be slippery) leading to this splendid waterfall, which dashes down into the Corossol River—a good place for a dip. Come early, though; otherwise you definitely won't have it to yourself.

    St-Claude, Basse-Terre, 97100, Guadeloupe
  • 7. Cathédrale de St-Pierre et St-Paul

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    If you like churches, then make a pilgrimage to the imposing Cathédrale de St-Pierre et St-Paul, built in 1807. Although it has been battered...

    If you like churches, then make a pilgrimage to the imposing Cathédrale de St-Pierre et St-Paul, built in 1807. Although it has been battered by hurricanes over the years, it has fine stained-glass windows and creole-style balconies.

    Rue Alexandre Isaac at rue de l'Eglise, , Grande-Terre, 97166, Guadeloupe
  • 8. Château Murat

    Museum/Gallery

    A mile from town, the Château Murat is a 19th-century sugar plantation and rum distillery housing exhibits on the history of rum making and...

    A mile from town, the Château Murat is a 19th-century sugar plantation and rum distillery housing exhibits on the history of rum making and sugarcane production that goes back three centuries. This former habitation was once the grandest sugar plantation in Guadeloupe. Various hurricanes left the chateau in ruins, with just remnants of the kitchen, etc., still standing. From the rubble rose the ecomuseum which celebrates island crafts, and there is a garden for medicinal local plants.

    Rte. de Capesterre, Grand-Bourg, Marie-Galante, 97112, Guadeloupe
    0590-97–48–68

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 9. Chutes du Carbet

    Body Of Water/Waterfall

    You can reach three of the Carbet Falls (one drops from 65 feet, the second from 360 feet, the third from 410 feet) via a long, steep path from...

    You can reach three of the Carbet Falls (one drops from 65 feet, the second from 360 feet, the third from 410 feet) via a long, steep path from the village of Habituée. On the way up you pass the Grand Étang (Great Pond), a volcanic lake surrounded by interesting plant life. For those who are fans of The Walking Dead, there's also the curiously named Étang Zombi, a pond believed to house evil spirits. If there have been heavy rains, though, don't even think about going here.

    St-Claude, Basse-Terre, 97100, Guadeloupe
  • 10. Distillerie Poisson "Rhum du Père Labat"

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    The Poisson Distillery produces rum (nearly 200,000 liters a year) that is considered some of the finest in the Caribbean, and its atelier turns...

    The Poisson Distillery produces rum (nearly 200,000 liters a year) that is considered some of the finest in the Caribbean, and its atelier turns out lovely pottery. Tastings are available, but watch out—those samples are quite strong, especially considering that it’s open only in the morning!

    Section Poisson, Grand-Bourg, Marie-Galante, 97112, Guadeloupe

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 11. Domaine de Séverin Distillery

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    At this historic rum distillery, a new "Petit Train" crosses the plantation at 9:30, 10:30, and 11:30 am and again at 2 and 3 pm. (Hours are...

    At this historic rum distillery, a new "Petit Train" crosses the plantation at 9:30, 10:30, and 11:30 am and again at 2 and 3 pm. (Hours are abbreviated in the low season, as is the train schedule.) The train passes by crayfish ponds (they farm the jumbo ouassous variety), golden fields of sugarcane, the distillery's working waterwheel, and the Big House, the former mansion of the Marsolle family, which has owned the habitation since 1928. The impressive great house, white-pillared with verandas on two stories, is now a museum open for touring. The estate is so picturesque and atmospheric—even a white gazebo with a red roof—that it was recently a film site for the Franco-British series Murder in Paradise. A combination tasting room and gift shop sells rum, rum punches (liqueurs), spices, and hot sauces. The simple, open-air dining room here has a good menu and sometimes offers jumbo crayfish.

    Ste-Rose, Basse-Terre, 97115, Guadeloupe
    0590-28–91–86

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €7 visit and rum tasting, €11 complete tour and train ride, La Cave and restaurant closed Sun. Restaurant closed Sept.
  • 12. Domaine de Vanibel

    Farm/Ranch

    Guadeloupean coffee is considered some of the best in the world. Joel Nelson will tell you all about it if you take one of his tours around...

    Guadeloupean coffee is considered some of the best in the world. Joel Nelson will tell you all about it if you take one of his tours around the grounds of his estate. Dress comfortably as you will be going into the bush, picking vanilla and coffee beans from the trees. His enthusiasm and passion for what he grows and produces makes what could be a ho-hum walk through the woods a pleasurable learning experience. After some 30 minutes or more you will be brought back to the stone cottage that is the Habitation Sucrerie for a coffee tasting and fresh tropical fruits. You might want to buy a bag or two of Mr. Nelson’s coffee. And the precious vanilla beans and vanilla powder are also for sale. Also, there are simple gites for two to four persons on the estate.

    Cousinière Caféière, Vieux-Habitants, Basse-Terre, 97119, Guadeloupe
    0590 -98–40–79

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €7
  • 13. Fort Napoléon

    Military Sight

    Also known as Louis Castle, this fort was built in 1777 by order of King Louis XVI, and was first known as a military tower. However, it was...

    Also known as Louis Castle, this fort was built in 1777 by order of King Louis XVI, and was first known as a military tower. However, it was never used for military purposes, although it did serve as a penitentiary in wartime. The museum here is notable for its exhaustive exhibit of the greatest sea battles ever fought. You can also visit the well-preserved barracks and prison cells, or admire the botanical gardens, which specialize in cacti. This is a hill climb, and if you decide to walk, allow 30 minutes from the village, wear comfortable footwear, and bring water. You will be rewarded with outstanding views of the bay and neighboring islands.

    Terre-de-Haut, Iles des Saintes, 97137, Guadeloupe
    0690-50–73–43

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €5
  • 14. Ft. Fleur d'Épée

    Museum/Gallery

    The main attraction in Bas-du-Fort is this fortress, built between 1759 and 1763. It hunkers down on a hillside behind a deep moat. The fort...

    The main attraction in Bas-du-Fort is this fortress, built between 1759 and 1763. It hunkers down on a hillside behind a deep moat. The fort was the scene of hard-fought battles between the French and the English in 1794. You can explore its well-preserved dungeons and battlements and take in a sweeping view of Iles des Saintes and Marie-Galante. The free guided tour here explores the fort's history and architecture and helps explain the living conditions of the soldiers who lived here. Included on the tour is an exploration of its underground galleries, now decorated with graffiti. If a bilingual person is on duty, she will explain it all in English. Call ahead, and make certain of that day's hours. Registered as a historic monument since 1979, the fort also provides superb views for walkers.

    Bas du Fort, Grande-Terre, 97190, Guadeloupe
    0590-90–94–61

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 15. Gosier

    Town/Village

    Gosier was still a tiny village in the 1950s, a simple stopping place between Pointe-à-Pitre and Ste-Anne. However, it grew rapidly in the 1960s...

    Gosier was still a tiny village in the 1950s, a simple stopping place between Pointe-à-Pitre and Ste-Anne. However, it grew rapidly in the 1960s, when the beauty of the southern coastline began to bring tourists in ever-increasing numbers. Today Gosier is one of Guadeloupe's premier tourist areas while at the same time serving as a chic suburb of Pointe-à-Pitre. People sit at sidewalk cafés reading Le Monde as others flip-flop their way to the beach. This resort town has several hotels, nightclubs, shops, a casino, rental car agencies, and a long stretch of sand.

    , Grande-Terre, 97190, Guadeloupe
  • 16. Ilet de Pigeon

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    This tiny, rocky island a few hundred yards off the coast is the site of the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Park, the island's best scuba and snorkeling...

    This tiny, rocky island a few hundred yards off the coast is the site of the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Park, the island's best scuba and snorkeling site. Although the reefs here are good, they don't rank among the top Caribbean dive spots. Several companies conduct diving trips to the reserve, and it's on the itinerary of some sailing and snorkeling trips.

    Bouillante, Basse-Terre, 97125, Guadeloupe
  • 17. Jardin Botanique

    Garden

    This exquisite 10-acre park is filled with parrots and flamingoes. A circuitous walking trail takes you by ponds with floating lily pads, cactus...

    This exquisite 10-acre park is filled with parrots and flamingoes. A circuitous walking trail takes you by ponds with floating lily pads, cactus gardens, and every kind of tropical flower and plant, including orchids galore. Amid the exotic ferns and gnarled, ancient trees are little wooden bridges and a gazebo. A panoramic restaurant with a surprisingly sophisticated lunch menu plus a snack bar are housed in terraced gingerbread buildings, one overlooking the park's waterfall, the other the mountains. The garden has a children's park and nature-oriented playthings in the shop. A local juice and a snack is included with admission. This excursion is delightful and serene, ideal on an overcast day.

    Deshaies, Basse-Terre, Basse-Terre, 97126, Guadeloupe
    0590-28–43–02

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €15.90
  • 18. Kreol West Indies

    Museum/Gallery

    This fascinating museum, in a renovated bungalow, houses information and graphics on Guadeloupe's earliest inhabitants, as well as some pirate...

    This fascinating museum, in a renovated bungalow, houses information and graphics on Guadeloupe's earliest inhabitants, as well as some pirate artifacts. Rooms are furnished with antiques and collectibles that depict island life during various eras, up through the 1950s. Devoted to Creole culture, the museum also doubles as an art gallery, with attractive contemporary paintings by island artists. This labor of love displays furnishings and descriptives owned by a French "culture lover" Vincent Nicaudie. The gift shop carries quality Marie-Galante logoized T-shirts and caps, beachwear, and island food products. Also, this is a Wi-Fi hot spot.

    Plage de Grand Bourg, rue Beaurenon prolongee, Grand-Bourg, Marie-Galante, 97112, Guadeloupe
    0590-97–21–56

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 19. L'Autre Bord

    Beach

    The waves on this Atlantic beach give the long expanse of sand a wild look. The beach is protected by an extensive coral reef, which makes it...

    The waves on this Atlantic beach give the long expanse of sand a wild look. The beach is protected by an extensive coral reef, which makes it safe for children. Farther out, the waves draw surfers and windsurfers. From its location right in the town of Moule, you can stroll along a seaside promenade fringed by flamboyant trees (also known as flame trees). Many shade trees offer protection; the swaying coconut palms are more for photo composition. Sidewalk cafés provide sustenance. Amenities: food and drink; parking (no fee); toilets. Best for: surfing; swimming; walking; windsurfing.

    Le Moule, Grande-Terre, 97160, Guadeloupe
  • 20. Le Moule

    Town/Village

    On the Atlantic coast, and once the capital city of Guadeloupe, this port city of 24,000 has had more than its share of troubles: it was bombarded...

    On the Atlantic coast, and once the capital city of Guadeloupe, this port city of 24,000 has had more than its share of troubles: it was bombarded by the British in 1794 and 1809 and by a hurricane in 1928. An important tourist center in past decades, it's experiencing a comeback. A large East Indian population, which originally came to cut cane, lives here. Canopies of flamboyant trees hang over the narrow streets, where colorful vegetable and fish markets do a brisk business. The town hall, with graceful balustrades, and a small 19th-century neoclassical church are on the main square. Le Moule's beach, protected by a reef, is perfect for windsurfing.

    Le Moule, Grande-Terre, 97160, Guadeloupe

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