Guadeloupe: the Caribbean’s French butterfly
Each “wing” of butterfly shaped Guadeloupe offers tourists a different experience. Grande-Terre is a relaxation lover’s beach paradise, while Basse-Terre, with its volcano and hiking trails, is perfect for adventurers. Flights into central Pointe-à-Pitre allow visitors to head east or west for their preferred vacation.
With nary a hotel development in sight, Grande Anse is a spectacularly pristine beach near Deshaies that makes visitors feel as though they’ve been deposited onto the white sands of a tropical paradise.
Jacques Cousteau once declared Pigeon Islands one of the world’s best dive sites. Now a protected park, Réserve Cousteau is teeming with tropical fish, turtles and coral reefs, and even boasts an underwater statue dedicated to the intrepid explorer. Aquarium and Japanese Garden are best suited to beginners, while more experienced divers head to Pointe Barracuda and the hot water outlets.
La Grande Soufrière Volcano is the highest peak in the Lesser Antilles at 1,467 metres. The adventurous can hike all the way to the top, while others can admire it from one of the many lookout points in Guadeloupe National Park.
For those looking to add a bit of enlightenment to their Caribbean vacation, the Musée St. John Perse is a sort of one-two culture punch. Housed in a 19th-century colonial building, it offers a glimpse of a period Creole home in addition to its displays on the life and works of Nobel laureate and island son, poet Alexis Léger, whose alias is St. John Perse.
The cuisine in Guadeloupe is a reflection of the island’s history, blending the traditions and flavours of France, the Caribbean, Africa and South Asia. Popular classics include Ti-nain morue, a dish made with dried cod, green plantains and spices, and Tourment d’Amour, a delectable Les Saintes pastry flavoured with coconut and tropical fruit.
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