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Discovering the 5 islands of Guadeloupe

Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre, wings of the butterfly island

Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre constitute the wings of the butterfly forming the two main islands of Guadeloupe. Grande-Terre being the east wing and Basse-Terre being the west wing, both are separated by a narrow arm of the sea called the Rivière Salée. This duo of islands invites to two different atmospheres and attracts the great majority of tourists coming to Guadeloupe.

Basse-Terre, a lush nature

The west wing is characterized as a volcanic, mountainous and wild island and attracts mainly visitors eager for nature and hiking. Basse-Terre is the largest island of Guadeloupe and is home to the highest mountain range of the Lesser Antilles. It is home to the National Park, the first French overseas national park. It is in this park that the Soufrière volcano rises, culminating at 1467 meters.

Hiking trails cross the rainforest to reach the peaks of the island with on the way, many waterfalls such as the Chutes du Carbet, hot springs or other waterways that delight hikers. Basse-Terre also allows you to indulge in more relaxing activities, the coasts of the island are lined with black sand beaches offering a landscape as wild as seductive which is really worth the detour.

Grande-Terre, a postcard landscape

The east wing offers many paradise islands with turquoise waters and coconut trees lining the white sand beaches. Grande Terre is the most populated island and the most touristic because of its numerous restaurants, hotels, casinos and discotheques. It is certainly the most animated part of the archipelago.

The most curious will not be left out thanks to the cultural heritage and the colorful markets which make the fame of Grande-Terre. The ACTe Memorial, a museum with a modern architecture, which traces the history of slavery, is a strong symbol both informative and educational.

Maritime explorers will be delighted by the island's coastline which is protected by a superb coral reef. This one is covered with a rich mangrove that can be explored by boat or by scuba diving.

Les Saintes, a traditional and dazzling charm

Located in the southwest of Guadeloupe, Les Saintes are composed of two inhabited lands, Terre-de-Haut and Terre-de-Bas, and some deserted islets. Home to fishing villages, the Saintes archipelago combines history and green landscape. Among the places not to be missed on the island is Fort Napoleon, which dominates the entrance to the Baie des Saintes.

To enjoy a breathtaking 360° view of the island, travelers can take the Camel road, the highest point of Terre-de-Haut. The Baie des Saintes is considered one of the most beautiful bays in the world and attracts many travelers. While Terre-de-Haut is the most visited island of the Saintes, Terre-de-Bas is considered as the "forgotten island" but prides itself on having preserved the authenticity of the Saintes.

Getting to the Saintes : A ferry from Trois Rivière provides a 20-minute crossing to Terre-de-Haut.

Marie-Galante, land of authenticity

Also called "la grande galette" because of its quasi-circular shape or "l'île aux cent moulins" because of the presence of numerous mills on the island. Marie-Galante is located 30 km from the coast of Guadeloupe. The archipelago cultivates an impressive artisanal and historical heritage.

The inhabitants of the archipelago are friendly and do not hesitate to share their art of living. Sportsmen and culture lovers will be seduced by Marie-Galante. The white sand and the translucent waters promise a lazy day on the beach and the numerous hiking trails that wind around the island will delight the walking enthusiasts. Finally, the agricultural culture is an integral part of the life of the island within particular the omnipresence of the sugar cane.

Moreover, sugar cane rhymes with rhum, and three world-renowned distilleries are present on the island: Bellevue, Bielle, and Poisson. If you are interested in Guadeloupe rum, please read our article dedicated to it.

Getting to Marie-Galante: to get to the archipelago, it is essential to go through the airport of Pointe-à-Pitre.

La Désirade, a haven of peace

La Désirade is 11 km long and 2 km wide. Spared from mass tourism, it is certainly the most peaceful island of Guadeloupe where nature has kept all its rights. Only one road crosses the island and only the south coast is inhabited, the north coast being wilder.

Swept by the oceanic winds, the walks on the island of Désirade are pleasant and many beaches encourage relaxation. By taking the "Route de la Montagne" from Beauséjour, travelers can reach the Chapelle du Calvaire and enjoy breathtaking views.

Getting to Désirade: The most popular and least expensive way to get to the island is by boat from the Saint-François ferry terminal.

Do you want to discover other incredible activities to do in Guadeloupe during your stay? Check out our articles now :

Explore the islands of Guadeloupe with Europcar and book your car rental now !

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