A butterfly-shaped archipelago on the eastern edge of the Caribbean, French-speaking Guadeloupe is a collection of islands known for its rich culture and stunning natural beauty. There are five main islands that make up Guadeloupe: Bassa-Terre, Grande-Terre, Marie-Galante, Les Saintes and La Desirade. Basse-Terre and Grand-Terre are the two largest, connected only by a couple of bridges. Besides its jaw-droppingly beautiful beaches – which hug both the main islands and the uninhabited ones – there’s a Unesco-listed biosphere reserve to explore, a volcanic hike to do, natural hot springs to bathe in and delicious food to dine on. Here’s why Guadeloupe should leap to the top of your bucket list.
Enjoy the warm weather in Guadeloupe
The best time to visit Guadeloupe is between December and May as this is when the weather is at its most temperate and dry. Temperatures during these months sit around 26ºC, so it’s an ideal destination to visit if you’re after some of that famed Caribbean winter sun. This is also the time of year when the waters are warm and calm. Read: perfect diving and snorkelling conditions.
Go sailing around Guadeloupe
Pack your snorkel and flippers as you’ll want to discover the beautiful sea life at each stop. Staying on a yacht is the best way to island-hop between the main islands of Guadeloupe and its uninhabited ones – the latter is peppered with secret bays and beaches to discover.
Bask in the natural landscape in Guadeloupe
If you’re looking for a Caribbean island that has it all, look no further than Guadeloupe. Here, beaches line the coast of all of its islands, there’s mountainous – and volcanic – terrain which harbours stunning hiking trails, rolling green fields to marvel at and a rich and varied underwater world. You’ll need at least a week here to take it all in, but try to stretch it even longer if you can.
Sunbathe on the beautiful beaches in Guadeloupe
Whichever island you decide to base yourself on, you’re bound to find a beautiful beach just around the corner. Plage de Pompierre on Les Saintes is one of the best beaches in the archipelago, while the black sand Plage de Malendure on Basse-Terre is a water sports haven. Plage de la Datcha in Grand-Terre is a favourite among locals and those in the know, head to the uninhabited islands like Terre-de-Bas for deserted patches of sand to call their own.
Discover more about the history of Guadeloupe
To fully understand Guadeloupe’s history, you need to visit the island itself. Specifically, visitors should head to Memorial ACTe in Grand-Terre’s Pointe-à-Pitre to learn about the history of the slave trade in Guadeloupe and more about the island’s indigenous Arawaks population. The museum is a Unesco Slave Route Project and it details how Guadeloupe ended up under French rule in the 1600s.
Try Creole and French cuisine in Guadeloupe
No visit to Guadeloupe is complete without sampling some of the archipelago’s specialties like calalou, stuffed crab, fish cooked in lime juice and féroce d’avocat. There are over 200 restaurants spread across the islands so you’re guaranteed to find a place to dine on local fare – all washed down with rum, of course. For Francophiles, there are also boulangeries where you can pick up baguettes and freshly made pastries.
Go hiking in Guadeloupe
Parc National de la Guadeloupe on Basse-Terre is the biggest draw for hikers. One of the most popular trails in the park is La Soufriere, a volcanic peak that marks the highest point in the Eastern Caribbean islands – so expect excellent vistas. For novice hikers, take the trail through the park to Bassin Paradis for stunning waterfall views or to the Le Chutes Carbet to see the three cascades of the Carbet River. Read more about the trail before you set off as some paths are best taken with a guide.
Explore the Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin Natural Reserve
Set between the northern shores of Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre, the Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin Natural Reserve is a 37,065-acres (15,000ha) reserve filled with mangroves, coral reefs, mudflats, lagoons and a rich variety of wildlife. Together with the national park on Basse-Terre, it forms the Unesco-listed Guadeloupe Archipelago Biosphere Reserve and it’s best discovered on an organised boat tour.
Soak in volcanic thermal water in Guadeloupe
Due to its volcanic landscape, Guadeloupe is home to natural hot springs, sulphur and mud baths – the perfect combination for a nature-made spa day. Benefits – such as detoxifying, cell oxygenation and relaxing sore muscles and joints – can be reaped at any one of the five main islands in Guadeloupe or by booking into one of the spa retreats in the archipelago.
Go snorkelling and scuba diving in Guadeloupe
French marine explorer and scuba pioneer, Jacques Cousteau has been known to say that, “Pigeon Island in Guadeloupe is one of the world’s best diving spots” – so much so that this island is now surrounded by the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve. Just off the coast of Basse-Terre, this spot is primed for both snorkellers and divers who want to get up close with tropical fish, dolphins, barracudas and turtles.
Explore more beautiful spots in the Caribbean by going on a sailing adventure in the Bahamas or British Virgin Islands.
Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.