Your Guide To Sailing Guadeloupe
If you read my post on vacation essentials, you'll know I took some time away from blogging to go on vacation with my husband and his family to the French islands of Guadeloupe. We had an awesome time sailing around the butterfly shaped islands on a catamaran and I wanted to share with you some of the fun places we visited in case you ever find yourself traveling to Guadeloupe! For this trip we flew into Pointe-à-Pitre where we met with our Captain Dave and his wife Emily, our First Mate. Brian's family rented the catamaran through Tradewinds Luxury Charters; this was our second trip using Tradewinds (our first being the British Virgin Islands) and it was nothing less than fantastic! We had beautiful fruit platters with breakfast every morning, delicious lunches and gourmet dinners each night as well as a ton of activities like snorkeling with sea turtles, kayaking, and hiking. Here are some of the islands/places I would recommend visiting in Guadeloupe:
Îles des Saintes
Îles des Saintes was so beautiful and had a lot of history. We got to explore this island for a couple days and it was so much fun! Îles des Saintes is an archipelago which includes Terre-de-Haut and Terre-de-Bas islands. The first picture is of Notre Dame de l'Assomption, a Roman Catholic church on the island. It was such a gorgeous building I had to snap a pic! We did not go inside since a service was going on, but if you find yourself there you are more than welcome to see the inside and even attend a service. The second picture was is actually taken on Îlet à Cabrit in Îles des Saintes. When we visited, it was Guadeloupe's low season so we did have some cloudy days/evenings but we got lucky and had a couple nights with amazing sunsets! They were definitely worth the wait as you can see!
As mentioned above, Terre-de-Haut Island is on Îles des Saintes. Terre-de-Haut had some restaurants, shops, and a market to explore and visit. We had dinner on Terre-de-Haut at Au Bon Vivre (the top picture is of their little courtyard. How cute is that!?). The food was absolutely amazing and the atmosphere was so cozy with dim lighting, open air dining, and stone interior. A large black and white photo of Louis Armstrong greets you when you walk inside. I had the duck for dinner and it was so yummy. But the dessert was what really blew me away! A couple of us ordered the dessert brownie with vanilla ice cream on top drizzled in a homemade caramel sauce. Let me just say the caramel was the best I've ever had. It's one of the things I always mention about our trip to Guadeloupe! lol So if you travel to Terre-de-Haut, definitely plan to visit Au Bon Vivre. You won't regret it!
Îlet à Cabrit
Îlet à Cabrit was one of my absolute favorite spots in Guadeloupe. This literally translates to goat island and there were plenty of goats to be seen! They are even friendly enough to let you feed them leaves! I am a big animal lover so it was so awesome being able to feed wild goats. I was literally squealing with excitement... lol To get to the goats, you have to take a short hike to The Ruins of Fort Josephine. Napoleon brought the goats from France and left them in case he ever returned to Fort Josephine and that is how there are so many goats there today. The ruins are very cool to explore and there are even two single cell prisons still somewhat intact... We got to look inside and they were pretty creepy but it was really cool to see the history. The view from the top of Fort Josephine was so beautiful as you can see in the pictures.
Marie-Galante was a quieter island. It was supposedly discovered by Columbus in 1493 and named after one of his ships. While there is not as much to do in regards to shopping, there are sugar cane fields you can see as well as the rum distilleries. While at Marie-Galante we kayaked, snorkeled, and did a lot of relaxing! Even though we mostly stayed on the catamaran in Marie-Galante, I would recommend making a trip to the sugar cane fields and the beautiful white sand beaches. While you're relaxing be sure to try some of the local beers. These are two of our favorites in the Caribbean. Personally, I preferred the Presidente but Brian liked the Gwada. Either way, these are a must try for any beer lovers out there!
Marina Du Gosier
The Marina Du Gosier is where we moored on the first and last nights of our trip. It was really cool to see all of the catamarans lined up and we were able to visit with some of the other travelers. While on Le Gosier we ate at the restaurant Quai Ouest. They had good food and the open air dining was refreshing, as they had fans and light misters to help keep you cool. If you go to Quai Ouest be sure to order their boozy ti' punch. It's got quite the kick...
Basse-terre is one of two large islands that make up Guadeloupe; the other half, separated by a narrow channel, is called Grande-terre. Despite it's name, Grande-terre is smaller in size. Basse-terre has more of a rain forest terrain with a lot of trees and waterfalls and plenty to explore. We did not go on Grande-terre because it consists mostly of farmland and there isn't as much to see in comparison. We explored Basse-terre on the last day of our trip when we had some time to kill before our flight back home. We went on a hike through the rain forest to get to Carbet Falls which is a really pretty area with a waterfall and you can swim and cool down from the heat. The hike was around a mile or so and very shaded so it actually felt cooler being in the rain forest which was nice as it was very hot that day. Carbet Falls is picturesque and definitely worth the visit if you find yourself on Basse-terre island. There is also a spice market on Basse-terre which is worth visiting and is only a short car ride away from the waterfalls.
Feel free to leave me a comment if you've ever been to Guadeloupe and what was your favorite part about the trip! Or have you been to any really awesome places in the Caribbean? I'd love to hear about it! :D