Floating like a butterfly in the midst of the Leeward Islands, Guadeloupe’s duo of main islets – Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre – stretch out like two fluttering wings.
But oh how different they are! In the west, Basse rises to mist-topped, waterfall-doused peaks that belch plumes of sulphuric volcanic ash into the humid airs.
In the east, the rocky edges of flat Grande cascade down to gorgeous beaches like Plage Caravelle, spotted with sunbathers and stylish resort hotels.
This makes Guadeloupe a place (which also made it to our best islands to visit in the Caribbean) that’s suited to a whole host of different travelers, drawing everyone from intrepid explorers with the promise of the Carbet Cataracts and hiking routes through primeval rainforests, to shoppers with the market stalls of Pointe-a-Pitre, and relaxation lovers with pretty Marie-Galante and the Iles des Saintes.
But it doesn’t end there either, because there’s legendary seafood, potent rum and more to taste, along with a rich history of colonialism, French rule, plantation ownership and more to uncover…
Let’s have a look at the best things to do in Guadeloupe:
1. Take in the drama on the Pointe des Chateaux
Jutting its way out dramatically from the extreme eastern edge of the island of Guadeloupe, this craggy headland of rock and salt-washed stone is unquestionably one of the natural must-sees here.
Likened by many a visitor to a shipwreck, the small, sculpted peninsula displays cliffs and geological protrusions aplenty.
The spot is also famed for the blustery trade winds that buffet it all year long, which draw in crowds of kite fliers and makes for some seriously dramatic wave crashes against the shore.
Surfers, meanwhile, will hit the white-capped swells of Grandes Salines, and walkers will look for the tiny islet of La Desirade, which can be made out across the Caribbean on clear days.