Guadeloupe Travel Tips : A Tale of Two Islands
If you haven’t heard of Guadeloupe or have the faintest idea where it is, we don’t blame you - neither did we. Guadeloupe is a sun-soaked overseas French territory that is a group of islands (the main island resembles a butterfly) that lies between St John’s and Dominica. The tropical nation feels relatively untouched by tourism, which is a welcome sight for those escaping their busy concrete jungle lives. Brush up on your high-school French because it will go a long way to helping you get around and interacting with the friendly local people.
Follow along below to learn about how we filled our four day + three night trip to this beautiful island.
Basse-Terre vs. Grand-Terre: Guadeloupe’s main island is actually made up of two islands, Grand-Terre (the right island) and Basse-Terre (the left island). Each offer very different experiences. Grand-Terre is the picturesque island offering white sandy beaches, where you can lounge in the sun or soak in the crystal blue waters. Basse-Terre is more jungle vibes with an active volcano in the middle of it (don’t worry it hasn’t erupted since 1976). If hiking is on your agenda then you may want to spend a couple of days on Basse-Terre.
Plage de Babin: The beach is known for its “mud” sand underfoot, that lures locals and tourist due to its healing properties. Go in, grab a handful of mud and start gently rubbing it into your body and face. You may feel out of place but we can promise you that’s what the locals are doing.
Sainte-Anne: Sainte-Anne is a more lively town filled with locals and tourists. The beach is expansive with calm crystal clear water, and there are a number of beach-front bars and restaurants to nestle down in for hours.
La Datcha: A small town perched on a hillside with a beautiful quaint beach. Head on down to the water to find beautiful views and the perfect little beach side cafe called Casa Datcha. Grab yourself a drink and a lounger and sit back to watch the waves and sun pass you by.
Plage de la Perle: This one is a less trafficked beach and definitely a more local crowd. There is a beach side cafe, a bokit van, and ample space to lay out and not feel on top of anyone else.
BOKITS BOKITS BOKITS - We literally dream about Bokits now. We recommend getting the steak, egg, and cheese Bokit (or steak, oeuf, fromage in French). It is a warm sandwich in a sweet pita bread. Hands down amazing.
Baguettes - Guadeloupe has amazing bread. When in doubt pick up a baguette and some lunch meat for a great snack.
Accras - A fried fish fritters. You can find them at restaurants or being freshly made by street vendors. Locally caught fresh fish is on every menu - you really can’t go wrong.
Ti-Punch - A popular drink in this part of the Caribbean, that means “small rum”, and is their version of an old-fashioned. What we didn’t understand is that it is basically just pure rum, with a squeeze of lime, and sugar cane syrup stirred in. This is extremely strong and not for the faint-hearted.
Guadeloupe is not a morning place. You will struggle to find a nice coffee shop or restaurant open before noon, so have breakfast at your hotel/accommodation or sample the island’s crepes and chocolate croissants from any bakery (boulangerie).
Nightlife in the main towns comes almost certainly with live music.
Paddle-boarding Excursion from Plage de Babin - We booked a local paddle-boarding tour through Airbnb that took us on a 2-3 excursion around a few islands off the coast of Guadeloupe. The guide was very knowledgeable about the island, its formation, and the sea life. If it is windy and the tide is strong, this can be difficult - but if you’re lucky you might catch a wave to push you along the way! Also wear plenty of bug repellant, as when you go through the mangroves, we were bitten alive.
Waterfall Cascade aux Ecrevisses - This waterfall was right off the major road taking you from Grande-Terre to Basse-Terre. It was about a 5 minute walk from the parking lot on a paved pathway. The waterfall was gorgeous and flowed into a large swimming area. The water was too cold for us but on a sweltering day I bet it would feel amazing.
Shops in Sainte-Anne - Kelly loves her special memories from traveling so of course we stopped at the shops in Sainte-Anne. They have both an indoor and outdoor market where you can find souvenirs and street food to munch on.
Hiking La Grande Soufrière - I’m going to be honest and say that we didn’t enjoy hiking the volcano in Guadeloupe. It is a steep 3 hour hike and more often than not the volcano is covered in a huge cloud. We were DRENCHED and it was extremely windy. We actually never made it to the top because we wouldn’t have been able to see anything once we were up there. The one thing we were excited for were the hot springs at the beginning of the hike, however they were more luke-warm than hot.
Airbnb - We are huge fans of Airbnb when we travel and love to stay in unique places. Staying in this windmill was not only affordable but it also had it’s own private hot tub!
La Toubana Hôtel et Spa - We walked around the property of this hotel and were stunned. If you have the budget to splurge one night we would definitely recommend staying here. La Toubana has an infinity pool and its own private enclosed beach!