Guest Author - Theresa Springer
Guadeloupe, the island of beautiful waters, is a French governed Caribbean territory full of charm, beauty, and culture. Although French owned, there are also very strong English, African, Oriental, and Indian influences which add to the mystique and allure of the island.
There are actually five islands that make up what is called Guadeloupe. Two of those islands (Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre) are joined by a bridge and the other three (Les Saintes/ Terre-Haute, Marie Galante, La Desirade) are easily reached by a short ferry ride. The French Government and the people on each one stand united to ensure your stay on their combined 629 square miles (1628 square kilometers) is exciting and memorable.
This Is How They Do It
1. La Grande Soufriere is the still slightly active volcano that absolutely must be seen. If you are athletic choose the longer four and a half hour (4 & 1/2hr) route up the 4800 feet (1467 meters)
If less sure of your stamina then take the two and a half hour (2 & 1/2 hr.) way to the top. On your way pause to bath in the warm mineral waters and use some of the mud that are believed to have great medicinal properties
2. Trek through the amazing rain forest – admire the waterfall, plants animals and birds
3. If you raise your hand when they say calling all nature lovers, then you cannot leave Guadeloupe without visiting the botanical gardens ‘Jardin Botanique de Deshaies’. Then find time to stop at the zoo ‘Parc Des Mamelles’. After seeing these sights you will be convinced that Guadeloupe is one of nature’s favorites.
4. Scuba Diving – one of the best spots for this is the Cousteau Reserve where you interact with not only coral reefs, colorful fishes and plant life but you get to see a life like underwater statue of Captain Jacque-Yves Cousteau himself.
Ponti’s Garden – This is a scuba divers’ heaven. Coral reef, various fish, plant life on the ocean bed as pretty as an earth garden asking to be explored
5. If horse- back riding is your thing. Le Harras de Saint Francois will set you up for rides near or even in the ocean
Another Company, Les Atelages Du Comte, specializes in old fashion Horse and Boggy rides
6. A few years ago UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) included Les Saintes bay on its list of most beautiful bays in the entire world
While on Les Saintes take a tour of Fort Napoleon a former prison which is now a state of the art Museum
7. Visit the Slave Route Project. Do not be fooled by the name. This is a huge permanent gallery built compliments of UNESCO. Visualize life on the slave ships, and plantations through the eyes of true artists. The Art work will stimulate your senses of sight and touch and evoke genuine emotion.
8. The International Creole Blues festival is held annually in Marie-Galante (one of the smaller dependent islands). But you don’t have to wait or the festival to enjoy Marie-Galante. Just bask in the sun on the shores of her perfect white sand beaches and cumulate with a cool dip in the pristine turquoise waters.
9. Time your visit with annual Jet Ski World Championship (Karujet Race). Contestants do come from around the globe to compete. Jet Skiers zoom around the island over a four day period.
10. Carnival - Islanders have a thing about celebrating. Celebrations are never just about getting together for a day and enjoying a great meal. Instead they dance, sing, listen to music and welcome everyone as a friend for several days. Every island has a giant annual get together called CARNIVAL.
Guadeloupeans take their Carnival real serious. It lasts from January to early March - two and a half months of letting loose. There are costume competitions, dance competitions and just dance, music competitions, and lots of food and drink. Parties go on till day break. Creativity, fun and laughter are at its peak during this time.
Things to Know
• The currency is the Euro. However, the U.S dollar is always welcome. In addition, the high cost of everyday items may surprise you. This is mainly because most are imported.
• Be sure to tip as generously as you can. Wages are extremely low especially in the hospitality industry
• It is still an island. Some areas may be seem under-developed comparatively speaking
• Postpone visiting the rain forest if it is storming. It is a real RAIN forest. The flooding will ruin the experience
• It is best to use a taxi service on the main but be prepared to do a lot of walking on the smaller islands since there very few cars.
Add Guadeloupe to your list of places to visit. Give yourself a memory that will always bring a smile
Add Guadeloupe to your list of places to visit. Give yourself a memory that will always bring a smile to your face
Disclaimer: No compensation or incentives were received for this article