The Caribbean archipelago of Guadeloupe has long been a popular destination for French speaking tourists, but many English speakers are unaware of the butterfly-shaped island chain’s charms. If eating delectable food, hiking up the side of a steaming volcano, and relaxing in the sun on a white sandy beach sound like your idea of the perfect Caribbean getaway, a trip to Guadeloupe is an absolute must.
Guadeloupe is considered an overseas department of France, which means that French is the official language, the Euro is the official currency, and travelers can find delectable French treats such as pastries, cheese, and chocolate at local stores. Brushing up on basic French prior to visiting Guadeloupe will make for a smooth, pleasant trip.
No visit to Guadeloupe is complete without a visit to La Soufriere—a gurgling volcano located on the island of Basse-Terre which last erupted in 1976. Known as vie madanm la—or, “the old lady” in the island’s Creole language—the trail to La Soufriere features natural hot springs, luscious rainforests, and a panoramic view of the striking blue waters of the Caribbean.
En route to the summit of La Soufriere, visitors can soak in Les Bains Jaunes—a mineral-rich hot spring naturally heated by La Soufriere. The hike to summit La Soufriere is moderately taxing, so it is important to wear comfortable shoes, bring plenty of water, and remind yourself that you are scaling the side of an active volcano, which also happens to be the highest point in the Lesser Antilles, so all of that huffing and puffing is worthwhile.
If lounging on the beach sounds infinitely more appealing than hiking up the side of an active volcano, Guadeloupe is home to countless picturesque beaches. Bois Jolan beach on the island of Grand-Terre features shallow water, white sand, and a serene seascape where visitors can relax in the sun and send all of their worries out to sea.
For those who enjoy water recreation, the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve on Basse-Terre is the ideal spot to snorkel and dive. The Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve features a bright coral reef, iridescent schools of fish, and an underwater statue of revered French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau.
Guadeloupe is home to countless natural and cultural wonders that are well worth exploring. A trip to Guadeloupe is guaranteed to be an unforgettable beach vacation where you may stumble upon a tasty local seafood dish or a hidden rainforest at any moment.