Amazing Day Trips to Take from Guadeloupe by Boat
From fantastic French cuisine to rolling countryside views, boat trips around Guadeloupe are truly exceptional | © Blickwinkel / Alamy Stock Photo
The two main islands of Guadeloupe – Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre – unfurl across the Caribbean sea like open butterfly wings. With rolling hillsides of sugarcane, bays of crystal-clear turquoise water flanked by soft-sand beaches, broad anchorages, fine French restaurants and cafés, this French overseas territory is a fantastic yachting destination. From the anchorages at Pointe-à-Pitre, motorboats can make it to the outer islands of Marie-Galante, Le Saintes, Petite Terre and La Désirade – and back – in a day. Although the islands are tantalisingly close and very much worth a visit, those on sailboats may want to spend the night.
Pointe-à-Pitre and Rivière Salée
© Van Der Meer Marica / Alamy Stock Photo
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore Pointe-à-Pitre. Admire the architecture and discover the wonders of La Darse market – where tables overflow with heaped bags of freshly-ground spices, bright red spiny lobsters, fresh fruits and vegetables and bottles of punches and liqueurs. When you’ve had enough of the city, kayak or dinghy up the winding, mangrove-lined Rivière Salée – where kingfishers and herons dart between the trees and snakes curl up in the crooks of branches.
Îlet du Gosier
© Jon G Fuller / Alamy Stock Photo
Just 3mi (4.8km) from Pointé-a-Pitre is the coastal town and small offshore island of Gosier. Head ashore for a local Creole lunch inland, or stick to the beach – Casa Datcha is a popular spot, with bean bags and beach blankets to lounge on while enjoying a frozé or four. Zip across to the small, bushy offshore island to explore the reef, or check out the quaint, traditional lighthouse among the footpaths.
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For a quiet day of relaxing on the water, beachcombing, sunbathing and snorkelling, visit Petit-Havre – just along the coast from Gosier. This long, shallow bay has a beach at each end – the eastern one is backed by a small town and is popular on weekends, while the western is much more secluded. Snorkel amongst the seagrass beds in the bay or, if it’s calm, explore the reef out around the rocky offshore island.
© Peter Schickert / Alamy Stock Photo
Sainte-Anne is a lively holiday area where children frolic in the calm water of the stone breakwaters, windsurfers glide along the horizon and visitors mull through vibrant beachfront shops, market vendors and restaurants. When the heat of the day hits, visit Fabienne Youyoutte’s pâtisserie, Désirs du Palais, for homemade sorbet, ice cream and other sweet treats. Savour multiple local flavours including tamarind, mango and coconut.
Petite Terre Islands
© Iris Kürschner / Alamy Stock Photo
This spectacular national park consists of two low-lying islands: a channel of seemingly endless bright blue water stretches between them, with a shallow protected bay where rays, juvenile – and harmless – nurse sharks, and tropical fish take refuge. Pack up a lunch and spend the day snorkelling in the bay and exploring the paths ashore, where iguanas sun themselves on the warm rocks.
© Iris Kürschner / Alamy Stock Photo
The largest offshore island of Guadeloupe is a popular weekend getaway with well-preserved 18th-century ruins, charming seaside villages and long stretches of idyllic palm-lined beaches. Pass the main anchorage of Saint-Louis and anchor just north, among the quiet Anse Canot beaches. For some history, head around to the southeast and visit L’habitation Murât. Set against the backdrop of the ocean, this beautifully restored sugar cane plantation and distillery is now a museum of colonial history.
© Blickwinkel / Alamy Stock Photo
This series of mountainous islands are a pleasure to explore – where emerald green hillsides contrast with the deep blues of the water, broken only by the reds and browns of sheer cliff faces. Stop in the only major town, Bourg des Saintes, with its narrow, picturesque streets lined with boutiques and restaurants and take the short walk to Fort Napoleon for a commanding view of the bay. When it’s time to rest, sail over to the neighbouring islands of Îlet à Cabrit or Terre-de-Bas for some peace.
© Brusini Aurélien / Alamy Stock Photo
Far off the tourist track, this windswept island off the eastern point of Guadeloupe has a single, humble town – and is a place of quiet and unpretentious beauty. To best experience it, rent a scooter in town and take the central ridge road across the length of the island to the nature reserve – with breathtaking vistas of the coastline far below. Take the coastal road back, stopping for lunch at one of the many local Creole restaurants: try Rose-Ita or Lagranlag.
See as much of Guadeloupe’s sights as you can, when you hire a boat with SamBoat.