Les Antilles - French West Indies : Guadeloupe

Janvier 2018

After travelling 4000 nautical miles from Paris in 8 hours we arrive in the evening in Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe (part of France therefore Europe, therefore no customs hassles and we can pay in Euros!), then we drive for 50 minutes with a rent car to the house we rented near Deshaies on Basse-Terre, the island located southwest of Guadeloupe, with friends Tecla, Eve and Bernard. Guadeloupe is essentially two islands shaped like a butterfly. The north east is GrandeTerre which is dry and windy. Basse-Terre is on the south west side, is volcanic and releatively humid.

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Like many volcanic islands in the caribbean the windward side is the dry side and the leeward side is the wet side. BasseTerre is the volcanic island of Guadeloupe and our house is on the lee side, therefore relatively rainy and with lush vegetation. The three bedroom house is fully equipped and fresh dinner can be found at the fish market less than 1Km away. We buy a 2Kg mahi mahi which is good for two dinners.

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Next day we swim in the warm Caribbean sea. We try the sandy beaches of Petite Anse, Grande Anse et Anse Leroux, all on the west side of the island.

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We also rent some canoes to visit the mangroves

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The following day we drive 30 minutes south to the Jacques Cousteau marine park. Bernard and I rent a two person canoe to paddle the 1.5km to the offshore island and clear waters. Quite a number of people prefer the rent a canoe versus going out on a stink boat.

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One day we decide to go up to the Soufriere Volcano at 1400m altitude. We park near the warm and sulferous 'Bains Jaunes' at 930m altitude and walk up for some two hours. Weather is not the best so we decide to walk to one of the volcanic lakes at about 1200meter altitude and back again.

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Hot spring 'swim' 930m up on the volcano... nice after the 3 hour hike.

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Next day we drive south to Trois Rivieres to take the 9AM boat to Les Saintes islands. What a great place. Small and peaceful with only a few hundred inhabitants. A bit damaged (and mostly repaired) by the hurricanes of September 2017. We walk for some 4 hours from one beach 'anse' to another. All very beautiful.

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Clear Caribbean waters!

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We have bokits (local sandwiches) in cute little beachside restaurant which can be found everywhere. Delicious and less than 3euros for a bokit.

 

We walk back to the main harbor and avoid the 15 minute rain fall.

One day we take the 1 hour drive up to St Anne on Grande Terre (the north side of Guadeloupe and therefore dry) to see the beach and kite boarders. Marc rents a nice kite-board and enjoys the 15kts trade winds and warm waters

 

 

One day at the beaches near Port Louis on the north west side of Grande Terre. Fabulous beach and mangoves. We see breakers off shore of the reef with lots of surfers.Probably the nicest beach in all of Guadeloupe.

 

On the way back we stop at Deshaies for one of the best sundowners ever.

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One day we also visit an old coffee and cocoa plantation about 15 km inland from the west coast of BasseTerre. A very tortuous road taking us up a few hundrded meters above sea level. And another day we visit a fresh water shrimp-crayfish farm, followed by a very tasty lunch.

 

 

The last day we drive back up north east to Saint Anne for a last swim amid the clear waters and some coral reefs. Probably the most 'touristy' beach.

 

After two weeks, we fly back on a Corsair (AirCaraibes) 747, not as nice as an Airbus380 but comfy and roomy non-the-less.

 

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Guadeloupe is slightly larger than Martinique, which we also visited a few years ago. With all the pleasures of France (like baguettes and croissants) and all the pleasures of the Caribbean like year round warm waters (above 27C) and fresh tropical fish, fruit and vegetables. Best time to visit is winter (north hemisphere) where nights are pleasant, every day sunshine and warm trade winds.