Ask Uncommon Caribbean: What are The Top Must-Do’s in Guadeloupe?
Geren Lockhart is one very lucky lady.
A self-styled fashion entrepreneur, creative director, and global citizen, she’s parlayed a love of the bohemian art scene that defined her early upbringing in New York’s Soho district and Northern California’s Bay Area into an exciting life and career traveling the world in search of new experiences, people, places, and things to inspire her work.
All that’s nice, of course, but the thing that makes her really lucky in my eyes is the destination she’s heading off to in a couple weeks: Guadeloupe, the sultry multi-island French Caribbean archipelago I’ve been longing to re-visit for the better part of the past 25+ years.
Indeed, my first (and so far only) trip to Guadeloupe during my teenage years was very memorable, but when Geren reached out to us via Twitter for some tips on things to do there, we were at a bit of a loss.
Enter my new friend Sandra Venite, a native of Guadeloupe with more than a few ideas on what to see, do, and eat there. Here are just a few of her suggestions…
What to eat
Our cuisine is rich with traditions and flavors from France, Africa, the Caribbean and Southern Asian, reflecting the history of the islands. Be sure to try the Ti-nain morue, a popular dish that includes dried cod, green plantains, and spices. If you get out to Les Saintes, a Tourment d’amour is a must! This pastry, unique to Les Saintes, looks like a height-challenged cupcake. It’s flavored with coconut or other tropical fruits and is absolutely addictive!
Where to party
Our music, Zouk, literally means “to party.” When you hear it, you just have to get up and move! Local clubs also feature European dance music, salsa, reggae, soca, and American pop music. The most popular hot spots are DB9 and Five O’Clock in Gosier. In Marie-Galante, Touloulou and Le Sombrero are also quite good.
Off Pigeon Island at the Cousteau Reserve, you’ll find one of the best diving sites in the world! The experience is radiant with the explosion of colors from the dense population of coral and marine creatures. In Marie-Galante, with its unspoiled beaches, you can enjoy an equally enchanting snorkeling experience in a less crowded setting. Anse-Canot beach on the west coast is a small inlet between two hills, perfectly secluded and off the beaten path. Grand-Bourg and Plage de la Feuillère, both protected by coral reefs, are also great for snorkeling enthusiasts, though Anse Taliseronde is generally seen as the best.
At 4,800 feet, Guadeloupe’s La Soufriere volcano is the highest peak in the Eastern Antilles. You can hike all the way to the top, or admire the summit from afar from the many great look-out points throughout the Guadeloupe National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Basse-Terre. Another option, the island of La Desirade, is a limestone plateau in the shape of an upturned boat that can be explored by foot, bicycle or scooter along its single road. Then there’s the Grand-Savane trail, a 75-minute off-the-beaten-path trek leading to La Pointe du Grand-Abaque and Le Morne du Souffleur with beautiful views of La Desirade, the ocean, and Grande-Terre.
That’s already a lot of great info, but it only scratches the surface on everything Sandra shared with me! Look out for a follow-up post next week on a few of the choicest spots to eat in Guadeloupe, as well as recommendations on must-buys to bring back home to ensure you never forget this very special place.
Lead photo credit: ©Philippe Giraud – Comité du Tourisme des îles de Guadeloupe