Pointe-à-Pitre: The Eye of the Butterfly
Located in the centre of the butterfly-shaped island of Guadeloupe, French-influenced Pointe-à-Pitre offers excellent shopping, including a covered market where the personalities of the vendors are often more colourful than the vibrant fruits and spices they sell.
Guadeloupe National Park has winding hiking trails that take visitors through beautiful rainforests and mangroves, home to many birds and animals. Lucky visitors may catch a glimpse of the endangered agouti, a shy rodent similar to a guinea pig. Carbet Falls is the most visited attraction on the island, and for good reason. At 1,467 metres, La Soufrière is the highest point in the Antilles and can either be hiked, or viewed from many vantage points in the park.
Adventure-seekers can charter a boat and guide to go deep-sea fishing in the azure waters of the Caribbean in the hopes of landing a marlin, tuna or wahoo.
Fashion-forward visitors can find Chanel, Dior and Hermès products at unbeatable prices in Point-à-Pitre’s many designer shops. And no trip is complete without a stop at Phoenicia for authentic French perfume. Stores generally close in the early afternoon, but reopen around 3:00 pm, so plan accordingly.
Technically part of France, Guadeloupe embraces French culture and marries it with a Caribbean touch. Restaurants are a good way to experience this interesting fusion and nowhere more so than the charming La Canne à Sucre, which also offers great views from its dining area. A peek into the shops of Pointe-à-Pitre shows visitors French fashions and couture from across the Atlantic.