There’s no shortage of things to do in Guadeloupe, which is made up of the five vibrant, unique inhabited islands of Grande-Terre, Basse-Terre, Marie-Galante, La Désirade, and Les Saintes. With some of the most abundant marine life in the Caribbean, Guadeloupe is an absolute must-visit destination for those who enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving.
But beyond that, the islands have a myriad of activities to delve into, from exploring an active volcano to soaking up the local culture and cuisine. There certainly is no shortage of things to do in Guadeloupe.
Visit Popular Guadeloupe Beaches
With miles of pristine, white sandy coastline and turquoise waters, the beaches of Guadeloupe are one of the biggest and most obvious tourist attractions of the archipelago. On the southern coast of Grande-Terre in Le Gosier, you’ll find the Plage Petit Havre beach, which is an excellent spot for swimming and snorkeling that the whole family can enjoy. Copious palm trees provide shade from the sun and if you’re lucky you might even spot one of the iguanas known to frequent the beach.
Plage des Amandiers, on the other hand, which is located on the northernmost tip of Basse-Terre, is typically less crowded than other popular beaches due to its less touristy location. But those who make the journey will be rewarded with a relaxing beach setting with calm waters, dotted with almond and coconut trees. Make a day out of it by getting there early enough to score one of the shaded picnic areas.
Zoos, National Parks and Aquariums
Guadeloupe is home to countless species of wildlife and marine life, many of which can be seen in the various parks and zoos across the archipelago. Zoo de Guadeloupe au Parc des Mamelles is beautifully landscaped in a rainforest setting, where visitors can explore by walking along wooden paths and suspension bridges while admiring the lush vegetation. Or take in the sights with a guided tour at the Parc Archeologique des Roches Gravees archaeological park on southern Basse-Terre.
The Aquarium de la Guadeloupe near Point-A-Pitre is a great way to stay dry while observing nearly 300 different species of aquatic life, such as sharks and sea turtles. For those who want to get up close and personal with the various sea creatures, visitors can take a guided snorkeling tour to learn all about the nature and environment of the island.
Seek Out the Best Local Cuisine
If you’re ever in doubt about what to do in Guadeloupe, start with the food. Foodies will certainly love traveling to Guadeloupe, which features over 200 restaurants across its five islands boasting fresh seafood along with a rich, creole culinary heritage. Whether dining at five-star restaurants within one of the resorts or stopping in at local roadside establishments slinging cheap eats, your tastebuds will certainly be in for a treat. Make sure to try Porc Colombo, the National Dish of Guadeloupe that consists of seasoned pork is stewed with peppers, onion, garlic, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.
Restaurant highlights include Goune’s Food, the number one rated restaurant of Sainte-Anne serving up casual French delicacies, or hit up La Playa on Marie Galante for fresh lobster dishes. La Table du Pere Labat, also on Marie Galante, is known for being the top French bakery in Grand Bourg. For something different, try Orchidea, a gastronomic restaurant looking over the St. François golf course on Saine-Anne. There’s something for everyone in Guadeloupe!
Like many countries in the Carribean, Guadeloupe is a destination for agro-tourism, as the archipelago produces a number of products such as rum, sugar, coffee, vanilla, and chocolate. Take a tour of one of the five rum distilleries located across the islands—which is made from fresh-pressed sugar cane juice as opposed to fermented molasses found in traditional rum—to sample the products and learn how they’re made. Just make sure you’re not driving as rhum makers can be liberal with their samples!
Tourists can also visit the Habitation La Grivelière coffee plantation in Vieux-Habitants on Basse-Terre; La Maison du Cacao chocolatier, also on Basse-Terre; or take a tour of the Gardel Factory—which is the only only sugar-processing unit in continental Guadeloupe. The facility boasts a sugar cane growing area of nearly 1,000 hectares (2470 acres) and an industrial factory that produces approximately 70,000 metric tons of sugar each year.
La Grande Soufrière Volcano
Named one of the top things to do in Saint-Claude, La Grande Soufrière is an active volcano located on the southern end of Basse-Terre, which boasts the highest mountain peak in the Lesser Antilles. Those who brave the hike can expect it to take about two hours to get to the top of the mountain, give or take, where you’ll be met with breathtaking views of the rainforest in addition to all the foliage and wildlife to take in along the way.
According to past travelers, it comes highly recommended for anyone planning to explore La Grande Soufrière start out early in the morning, as the trails will become packed with hikers throughout the day. It’s also suggested to take a look at the weather forecast before jaunting up to the top, as poor weather conditions can hinder views from the top as well as make it a pretty uncomfortable hike along the way. And most importantly, be sure to wear comfortable hiking boots and bring plenty of water and snacks for the journey.