During the holidays, I had the chance to visit Guadaloupe with one of my best friends Megan of Lush to Blush. We were invited to take AirFrance’s inaugural direct flight from Atlanta to Guadaloupe and to spend three days there.
Guadeloupe, is a set of French islands in the Caribbean. Believe it or not this was my first time in the Caribbean! If it’s your first time you will love it. Visitors will be met with deserted beaches, mangrove swamps, soaring mountains and even a volcano (yes, a volcano!).
Grande-Terre has beach towns galore, chock full of fun things to do. Basse-Terre is more mountainous and is home to Parc National de la Guadeloupe and the breathtaking La Soufrière volcano. Whether you’re in search of fabulous food (which I’m always on the hunt for), spectacular diving, incredible shopping, magnificent hiking, or just plain lying in the sand with a cocktail in your hand (this pretty much sums up 65% of our stay there!), Guadaloupe is the place for you! Where to begin? Here are 5 things to do in Guadaloupe is you love a good time.
1. Shop for Creole spices at the Pointe-à-Pitre Market. This is a great spot for people watching, and you’ll get to experience life like a local. Megan and I had so much fun at the market! There was so much to see and the spices were incredible. This bustling marketplace is full of culture and flavor, from the fragrant spices, to freshly-caught fish, to the local crafts, to the brightly-colored flowers. Be sure to try their rum, which is often infused with tropical fruit straight from the island. Other markets to check out include Saint-Antoine, and for more upscale items, hit the Center Saint-John Perse.
2. Visit Cascade Aux Ecrevisse at the Parc National: This Instagram-worthy jungle waterfall drops from a Basse-Terre mountainside into a small pool by a river, where visitors can swim. (Did you get all of that? Reread it. I’ll wait.) The waterfall might have been my favorite part of our trip. It was gorgeous and the water was brisk and refreshing! Go on a weekday or be prepared for crowds. It’s located right on the main path of Parc National de la Guadeloupe, so it’s highly visible and accessible. This national park is so incredibly beautiful and covers most of Basse-Terre. It’s also home to La Soufrière, the island’s active volcano. (Skip to number 4 for more details.)
3. Hit the nude beach at Anse Tarare: If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, head to this well-known nude beach. (It’s actually the only sanctioned nude beach in Guadaloupe.) It’s small and the coast is rocky with some pretty strong waves, but the golden sand is perfect for sunbathing. The beach itself can get crowded, but I encourage you to visit it at least once during your trip- trust me, you won’t regret it!
4. Hike the La Soufrière Volcano in Basse-Terre: Lace up those hiking boots, bring plenty of water, and head out early in the morning if you plan to hike to the sulfurous summit of La Soufrière. The trek takes nearly two hours, beginning along a gravel bed and continuing steeply up the mountain through low shrubs and thick ferns. Aside from a steaming volcano, however, you’ll soak in some incredible views of the island, so it’s totally worth it! If you’re a newbie to hiking make sure you have the right outdoor gear!
5. Surf and sip at Pointe des Châteaux: This spot on Grande-Terre is absolutely gorgeous, with waves crashing over dramatic rock formations, as the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea. Because it’s an exposed reef break, Pointe des Châteaux has relatively consistent surf. Watch out for crowds, sea urchins, and rocks if you do try to surf here. While you’re there, grab a cocktail or a bite to eat at any one of the fabulous restaurants or food trucks nearby. This spot is meant for experienced surfers. I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re a newbie- the waves are quite enormous!
The Guadaloupe Islands were one of my favorite trips this year and I loved being able to travel with one of my best friends. Guadaloupe is the perfect place for anyone looking to step outside their comfort zone and have the time of their life!