One week in Guadeloupe

posted in: Guadeloupe, South America | 0
[ultimate_heading main_heading=”About Guadeloupe”][/ultimate_heading]

Guadeloupe is a group of islands consisting of four inhabited islands (Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Marie-Galante, La Désirade) and the two inhabited Îles des Saintes. It is part of France and uses Euro as a currency. The busiest city, where the airport is located, is called Pointe-à-Pitre and it is located on the Grande-Terre Island. The main language spoken is French, but you can also hear some Antillean Creole.

In 1493, Christopher Columbus visited Guadeloupe and gave the island its name. He and his company were the first Europeans to land on Guadeloupe and the Spanish attempted several times to colonize the island during the 16th century. However, they always failed due to attacks from the native people. In 1626, the French took over and expelled the Spanish settlers.

The history of Guadeloupe is marked by wars, revolutions, uprisings and slavery until the French Empire abolished the slave trade in 1848. In 1946, the colony of Guadeloupe became an overseas department of France and in 1974, as a result of an independency movement, Guadeloupe became a French region. In 2000, it was granted even greater autonomy. In Pointe-à-Pitre, you can find a very interesting museum about the history of Guadeloupe and about the slave trade. I highly recommend you take a few hours to visit this museum.

Guadeloupe was formed from multiple volcanoes and Basse-Terre still is a volcanic island. The volcano “La Grande Soufrière” is still active today.

The climate in Guadeloupe is tropical, i.e., very hot and humid. There are two seasons: from January to June the dry season called “lent” and from July to December the wet season called “winter”. There is a lot of beautiful, green vegetation on the island due to the fertile volcanic soils, the heavy rainfall and the warm temperatures. It’s green colors gave the island the nickname “smaragd island”.

There are not many animals on the island, which is a shame. Most have been killed off in the course of the past centuries. Now you can find only some bats and some raccoons. However, there is a huge variety of beautiful, colorful birds on the island.

[ultimate_heading main_heading=”Discovering Guadeloupe”][/ultimate_heading]

My friends – Hannah & Arielle – and I landed in Pointe-à-Pitre on Guadeloupe on Sunday, May 22nd 2023. We had spent the previous week in Curaçao, attending the Conference of America of the Junior Chamber International, and we were looking for one more week of adventures and fun together.

Getting there and to our hostel was a challenge. Arielle wasn’t fully vaccinated and it being still covid time, we were not sure if she could enter the country. The information on the internet about the travel restrictions to Guadeloupe had been a bit fuzzy. Also, we were not travelling together, because Arielle had decided to join us quite late and she hadn’t got a seat in our flight. So, she was getting there with a connection flight via Saint Martin. Hannah and I also had a connection in Saint Martin, but it was the same airplane from Curaçao to Saint Martin also going to Pointe-à-Pitre and so, we didn’t have to leave the plane. It was actually quite funny. Everyone left the plane, except for us. We got to stay and watch the crew get ready for the next flight. Fortunately, Hannah managed to catch the wifi from the airport and tell Arielle that we were waiting in the plane and that she shouldn’t be worried not to see us at the gate. Luckily, Arielle didn’t have any trouble getting to Guadeloupe, neither at the airport in Curaçao, Saint Martin or Pointe-à-Pitre.


We arrived in Point-à-Pitre quite late, at around 7PM. We had expected there to be several car rental agencies at the airport where we could rent a car for the week. Unfortunately, this was not the case. All car rental companies are located a few hundred meters away from the airport and you can only rent a car by calling them. Most companies had no car left that night and, in the end, we were forced to take a car that was quite expensive for the first night. We would book another, cheaper, car later and book it online for the rest of the week. As there were no buses and the taxi one-way would have cost as much as the car, we were glad we still got any car at all.

In the end, it was about 9PM by the time we got to the hostel. We hadn’t had dinner yet and we were starving. So, after a very fast check-in, we went to a small diner around the corner to have dinner. The place looked a bit shabby, but the hostel owner had recommended it and it was actually very good.


For the first two nights, we stayed in Sainte-Rose at the Happy hippies House. This hostel is very cozy and the owner is very friendly. It invites you to be quite creative: there is handicraft everywhere as well as music instruments.

During breakfast, Arielle and I were checking out what we should do during the next couple of days and some nice guy in the hostel gave us some recommendations about what to do and where to go in Guadeloupe. With our plan all set, we left the hostel and walked direction seaside. In the hostel, they had warned us we should be careful when walking around in Guadeloupe; because of covid, many people had lost their job and were now robbing people in the streets to survive. It sounded like any warning a local might give tourists, so we didn’t give it much thought. Later, we met some other people at the beach who also told us be very careful. That’s when we started freaking out a bit. Could it really be that dangerous!?

The beach in the northern part of the island was quite nice and there was a beautiful walking path along the beach. It also took us through some wooded areas which, thankfully, provided some shade protecting us from the warm sun. For lunch we went to some small pizza place called “L’escale pasta pizza” in Sainte-Rose. The owner is very friendly and the pizza is delicious. I can absolutely recommend having lunch there.


When we continued our way, we were warned by some people that somewhere on the beach, there is a group of strange guys. Honestly, all this talk about Guadeloupe not being safe, strange guys at the beach, etc., freaked us out a bit. We continued for a while, but we did not go as far as we had planned. Instead, we returned and we tried to avoid going through the wooded areas. We did not feel very comfortable and we were happy to reach some more touristic place where many people where bathing in the sea. We had a quick swim before heading back to our hostel, but we didn’t stay long.

After showering, we headed back to the airport to exchange our car for the cheaper version which we had booked online the previous night. The same lady was there and she was very nice. She told us, they would give us the same – bigger – car, as a kind gesture. We were very happy about this; so nice! And a bigger car would surely be good on the island. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the light in the car and, after just a few meters, we had to head back again and exchange the car. Fortunately, we got the same car back we had had the night before and all was great.

That night, we went to Deshaies to have dinner at “Le coin des pêcheurs”, a very nice fish restaurant at the beach. The food was excellent!


The next morning, we left the Happy Hippies House destination South: we were going to stay in the “Gites Kas’a Flo” in Trois-Rivières for our 3 last nights on Guadeloupe.

On our way, we first stopped in Deshaies to walk around a bit and discover the town by daylight. There is not much to do or to see there, but it’s a cute town.

Our next stop was the “Jardin Botanique de Deshaies”. This botanical garden was huge and absolutely amazing. We spend a few hours walking around and marvelling at the beautiful fauna.

From the botanical garden, we continued to the “Acomat Falls” where we ate the sandwiches we had prepared for lunch. The falls were very beautiful and the water was very refreshing. There were many other people there and someone gave us a mango to feed the fish with. Numerous small and bigger fish were swimming in the water basin below the waterfall and, apparently, they love eating mango. It was a very funny feeling, all those fish picking at the mango in your hand. We did have a great time there and enjoyed the refreshment.

We then went to the “Maison du Cacao”. The tour was a bit expensive and we only really wanted to buy some roasted cacao beans, but, unfortunately, they didn’t sell any. So, we continued to our last stop for the day: La Bouillante. In this little town, there is a hot spring flowing directly into the sea and when you go swimming there, the mix of cold sea water and hot spring water is very interesting. As the spring is of volcanic origin, there is a very strong sulfuric smell. Hannah couldn’t stand it and she left the beach quite quickly while Arielle and I went for a swim. In some areas, the water is so hot, you almost burn your legs, but a few meters further, the water is very cold. This was fun!

From La Bouillante, we went to Trois-Rivières and check in at our apartment, “Gîtes Kas’a Flo”. The owner was very friendly and helpful in getting us recommendations for things to do and restaurants and the apartment was nice and clean. We were very satisfied, but our car did suffer a lot. The apartment was at the top of the hill and the way to get there was incredibly steep. I had to take a big run-up to get up the hill in second gear.


On Wednesday morning, we left the house quite early and on foot. Our host had recommended we walk down to the port to get the ferry to “Terre-de-Haut”, one the of two islands of “Les Saintes” and we did well to listen to her advice. The port was already buzzing with cars and we would surely have missed our ferry, had we taken the car. Besides, it was a nice and quite short walk down the hill..

On Wednesday morning, we left the house quite early and on foot. Our host had recommended we walk down to the port to get the ferry to “Terre-de-Haut”, one the of two islands of “Les Saintes” and we did well to listen to her advice. The port was already buzzing with cars and we would surely have missed our ferry, had we taken the car. Besides, it was a nice and quite short walk down the hill.

We had booked our ticket in advance – otherwise we would not have got a spot anymore – and it was a beautiful, quick trip to the island. We first walked a bit around the small town and the up the hill to the fort, “Fort Napoléon des Saintes”. We followed the guided tour for a while but then we got hungry and we decided to go back to the town. Our host had recommended we have lunch at “La pause créole” and, indeed, the food was absolutely amazing. We each had a first course and a main course with different kinds of fish and some delicious cocktail to drink. Definitely the best food we had in all our trip.

After lunch, we were very full and quite happy, so we decided to go for another walk and head to “Anse du Pain de Sucre” beach. The beach was quite small and there was no shade, which was a bit annoying as it was very hot that day. Still, we did some snorkelling and saw some beautiful fish and corals.

Fortunately, the way back was mostly down-hill, but it was still exhausting after the long day in the sun and a lot of walking.

The next morning, we did the hike up to volcano “La Grande Soufrière”. The hike was very nice and not too exhausting. The weather was not great, but, apparently, it usually rains up on the volcano and it was no surprise we did not have any sun. So, we did get quite drenched and I would recommend, if you do this beautiful hike, to bring rain clothes and good shoes.

On the bottom of the volcano, there is a hot spring and so, after the wet hike, we enjoyed our time in the spring, having some sandwiches for lunch and relaxing.

After getting back to the apartment and having a shower, we went to Basse-Terre. Arielle had wanted to buy some souvenirs, but it was a national holiday and everything was closed. So, we only stayed a few minutes and continued to Vieux-Fort. In this place, there is an old lighthouse from which you can jump into the sea. We were very hungry and wanted to have an early dinner at the nearby restaurant. Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed in the afternoon and would only open at 6PM. As we did not really have any other option – it being a national holiday and everything being closed – we waited at the lighthouse. I did go swimming and I did some snorkelling.

We were very happy when we finally were able to enter the restaurant and got some well deserved salty crèpes. The food in the restaurant is delicious and the cocktails looked great. We didn’t have any because I still had to drive 30 minutes back to our apartment. Just be aware if you go there, the card reader might not work and you should bring cash if you don’t want to have to drive back to the nearest town to get some cash.

On our last day, we checked out and we went to do some last small hike. We wanted to discover the jungle and discover the “chutes du Carbet”. There are 3 waterfalls on this hike and you’re supposed to be able to hike all the way from one to the other. We wanted to start at the third waterfall and we went by car to the nearby parking. The road to get there was quite narrow and not very good, but we made it. The hike to the waterfall was very muddy, but the trail was absolutely beautiful. The landscape with its huge green trees and colorful flowers was astonishing. It seemed like we were in a different universe and it felt quite strange that there were no dangerous animals around. It seemed like around any corner we should encounter huge, poisonous snakes, or groups of monkeys. But there was nothing. A bit sad. Unfortunately, the rain had caused part of the way to crumble and the waterfall was only accessible by climbing and so, we didn’t go all the way to the waterfall.

We went back and went to the first “Chute du Carbet” by car, about 15 minutes away. That one is much more touristic and you have to pay an entrance fee to see the waterfall. It is beautiful and very high, but, in my opinion, the wilder, less visited one, was more interesting.

From here on, it seemed very simple: get back to Europcar, give back the car, get a ride by shuttle back to the airport. Unfortunately, it was not this easy. As we had booked the cleaning service of Europcar, we didn’t wash the car before giving it back. With the mud and dust from the roads, you could see that there were some scratches on the plastic front part of the car. We had not noted them before and I was not sure if they had been there before (you can’t really see them when the car is clean) or if we made them. Arielle and Hannah were sure, they had been there before, but we had not documented them before taking the car. They made a huge deal out of it and told us we had to pay 79€ for opening the incidence dossier and that we would hear back from their insurance. This was super annoying, but what can you do!? We swore that, from now on, we will always properly document the state of the car before taking it. Actually, 2 months later, we got a bill for 700€ from them. The damage would never have been that expensive and so I contacted them back to get the insurance report and the bill of the repair shop. In the end, they told us that they realized the scratches had been there before we took the car and that we wouldn’t have to pay anything – we would even get the 79€ for the dossier back. What a scam! They just tried to rip us off and when they realized we weren’t that easy to rip off, they took their claim back. Stupid. I’m not renting a car from Europcar anymore.

After our short hike, we went back to the sea side and we had a late lunch at “Le Rivage” restaurant at Pointe des Bananiers. The food was quite good, but not exceptional.

Our last stop before going to the airport was the Memorial ACTe in Pointe-à-Pitre. This is the biggest, most interesting museum about slavery I have ever been too. It does not only have the history of slave trade on Guadeloupe, but all over the world. We only had one hour left before giving back our car. This was unfortunate as you could spend an entire day in this museum. I highly recommend you go there and you plan a couple of hours there.

Anyway, that was our trip to Guadeloupe. It’s a beautiful, very green island. I can recommend you go there and discover the island for yourself, but bring rain clothes and good shoes. 😉

Follow Bianca Mertens:

Latest posts from

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *