Welcome to the French island of Guadeloupe. Due to a deal for some cheap tickets available to Pointe-a-Pitre airport on Norwegian Airlines, we decided to take a quick hop over for a long weekend to enjoy some warm weather and cold beers to break up the mid-winter blues. As Guadeloupe is considered an integral part of France, you end up with French culture (the kings and queens of vacationing) combined with a relaxed Caribbean Island lifestyle (a great place TO vacation), and you end up with the ultimate beach destination. Keep in mind that you will need a car when you get here, there is almost no other way to get around (forget your public transportation and your Uber, there is none of that here). Also keep in mind that if you are most comfortable with automatic transmission, you will need to book your car rental early, as Guadeloupe is probably not the easiest place to learn how to drive stick (there are plenty of super steep hills at intersections).
See and Do
- Snorkeling in Plage De Malend(Day 1): We set off from Le Gosier on the island of Grande-Terre and headed westbound to the mountainous Basse-Terre for some highly recommended snorkeling. After about a one hour drive through the mountains, we managed to find parking near the beach (hint: if you can’t find parking directly adjacent to the beach, head about 100m down the road to Les Heures Saines and there are plenty more spots available). We then grabbed our snorkeling gear and headed to the beach in the hot, sunny weather. It was beautiful out, but nobody warned us that the sand is extremely hot — don’t forget to bring some sandals so you can walk around comfortably! We headed into the water and started making our way farther down near the cove where we spotted other snorkelers, and we saw tons and tons of tropical fish, coral, and other beautiful sea creatures. But we were here to accomplish one thing — see a sea turtle. We were beginning to lose hope when suddenly there was some light green movement at the bottom of the sea…on second glance, that was it! Sea turtles, swimming peacefully. We were able to accomplish our goal, and I would definitely say that this is one of the best places we have ever snorkeled.
- Beach bumming in Plage De Perle(Day 1): After enjoying some snorkeling and some bokit at Plage de Malend, we drove north up to Plage De Perle to relax on the beach. If you’re a fan of the British detective show “Death In Paradise,” you will notice that many scenes were filmed in this location. We spent some time working on our tan (or more like sunburn–make sure you apply your sunscreen everywhere, unlike us!).
- La Soufriere Volcano(Day 2): We decided to go for a hike up the tallest mountain/volcano in Guadeloupe called La Soufrière. On the southern end of Basse-Terre, I’d recommend getting there early so you can find parking. We ended up going a little later than planned (~11am) and ended up having to park along the road about 2km away from the trailhead. Make no mistake, this is a relatively challenging hike, but it’s doable with a little bit of perseverance. There is a bit of rock scrambling near the end but it’s not too bad. Just make sure you have some good shoes and are well prepared for rapid weather changes (could be hot/rainy/cool). When we reached the top we got lucky and got a few seconds of an amazing view of the coastline. It’s usually almost always cloudy up there! You can also walk around the volcano and enjoy the sights and the smells.
Eat & Drink
- Quai Ouest: This was highly recommended by our Airbnb host. It is right next to the harbor with all the yachts. We sat right next the harbor and enjoyed our first dinner in Guadeloupe. The restaurant serves fusion food. We shared a salad, seared white fish and asian duck.
- Bokit Hut in Plage De Malend: Our first foray into enjoying a bokit — basically a fried dough sandwich with some kind of meat and some veggies in the middle. We grabbed a chicken bokit from this shack. Keep in mind that everything runs at islander speed here, it took about 20 minutes for the hostess to make 3 sandwiches. They also don’t speak a single word of English here, you will almost definitely need to use French. This sandwich was good to enjoy on the beach along with a few beers, but the actual bokits in Le Gosier ended up being a lot better.
- Au Petit Creux: We found this hidden gem while looking for a pizza place. This THE place for locals to hang out. Don’t be intimidated by the line. It moves faster than you think as you can browse the French menus and practice your French while you are at it. We ended it up eating here two days in a row and missing it when we came back home.
- Airbnb in Le Gosier: This place ended up being awesome, huge apartment with a balcony overlooking the ocean for a very reasonable price. Parking is also included for free.
- 03/05/2016 – 03/06/2016