Guadeloupe, an island group in the Southern Caribbean Sea and part of the French territory is my new favorite island in the Caribbean. It’s French, it’s chic and it is Oh La La-Gorgeous. Just the fact that the two main islands together resemble a butterfly should be enough a reason to visit. The group consists of the two larger islands, Basse Terre and Grande Terre and smaller islands Marie Galante and La Désirade as well as some smaller formations off the coast. But for the sake of easy writing (and also because I did not get to explore the smaller islands on this trip) I will refer to the two main islands when speaking of Guadeloupe or “Gwada” like the locals call it.
My husband and I were in desperate need of a getaway. If you’ve been following my blog you know I have been traveling to several different places lately but I honestly cannot remember the last time I went on vacation with my one and only.
So when Air Caraïbes announced their sale we jumped on the opportunity and booked two tickets to Guadeloupe for some much needed R&R.
We both fell in love with Guadeloupe and are already talking about returning. It was 4 days of exploring, eating and enjoying each other’s company as well as all that this French isle has to offer.
8 things that made us fall head over heels with Guadeloupe:
I am relentless when it comes to looking for the perfect accommodation for any trip and I spent quite some time researching several internet sites in search of a place that could offer all that we were looking for. In this case the main criteria were quiet, privacy, space, cleanliness.
Fleurs de Canne offered all and more.
You would think that after 14 years together my husband would finally learn to trust my choices but, oh nooooo. He bitched and he moaned about the “long” drive from the airport to the “hotel” (seriously, it was a 40 minute drive) but he quickly changed his tune when we arrived and he saw the little bungalow we would be calling home for the next 4 days.
Fleurs de Canne or Cane Flowers is located on a private property in the middle of farm land and sugar cane plantations, right in between Le Moule and the fishing village of Saint Francois on the North Eastern side of Guadeloupe. There are 4 bungalows on the property, each with a bedroom, large bathroom, fully equipped kitchen, a small deck with a hammock, lounge chairs and a dining table, and for the “coup de gras” our own little plunge pool.
So the internet is super slow (less than 1MB) but with your own plunge pool and ample island rum, who cares?
It was really tough every morning to decide between going out to explore the island or staying in.
I was not paid to say the following, neither did I receive anything other than a pitcher of fresh Passion Fruit juice from the owner Hervé, but all I can say is that I highly recommend Fleurs de Canne.
Hervé lives on property and was an amazing host and concierge. You can see he has an immense pride in his bungalows and keeps things tidy and organized.
Hervé was not the only amazing local we met. I would say that in general the people of Guadeloupe were friendly and gracious, always at a ready to help with directions and information, even if that means struggling with the English language.
Wow! Where to begin? This was certainly the highlight of the trip for me. Driving through Guadeloupe means you will be in the middle of sugar cane fields one minute, beaches the next and be surrounded by forest trees a short drive later. Guadeloupe’s nature is interesting, beautiful and truly amazing.
A visit to Guadeloupe is not complete without a drive through la Route de la Traversée, the only road connecting east to west through the mountains of Basse Terre. It’s a long road cutting straight through Le Parc National. A stop at the Cascade aux Ecrevisses is a must to take a quick dip in the refreshing water of this small waterfall. Other attractions in the National Park are the Carbet Falls, the Souffrière Volcano, a zoo, picnic areas and several hiking trails.
The drive alone is mesmerizing. At one point we heard this strange sound and thought it was coming from the car, so we quickly turned down the radio only to realize it was the buzzing of the thousands of insects, birds and other animals that inhabit the tropical forest. Just beautiful. We did not get to stop at any other attraction along the route but we did nevertheless got to truly enjoy the nature the mountains had to offer.
The street art
From nature exploration to a more urban exploration as we visited the more concrete jungles of Guadeloupe. You have already seen my blog post totally devoted to the street art of Gwada but allow me to just emphasis on it a bit more: The street art in Guadeloupe is insane. So much talent, so many colors, so little time to see it all.
La Route de la Traversée ends on the Western coast where there are several cute little towns to discover but also some incredible beaches. What you need to know is that Guadeloupe has dozens and dozens of amazing beaches, each one a little more different than the next.
Let me be clear, we have gorgeous beaches back home so we did not put a priority on beaches on this trip and wanted to explore other things we don’t get to experience often, like the rock formations at Pointe des Châteaux, the waterfalls and the street art. But we could not help falling for the beaches we did get to see and enjoy and have made a vow to discover the rest upon our return to the butterfly shaped island.
It is impossible to get lost in Guadeloupe. I have never seen such a well organized island in a very long time. All beaches have their very own sign on the main road and there are signs to the different towns and villages on the main roads as well as the back roads. It was very interesting to see how well everything was appointed.
There are several different rum distilleries on the island, there’s even a rum museum and if you are familiar with the T-Punch you will understand why rum is such an important thing on Guadeloupe. We visited only the Damoiseau distillery to purchase a bottle of rum for our rum selection at our bar, which has become something of a tradition whenever we travel within the Caribbean.
Flavored rum is especially big here and it is evident by the many stalls at the many markets selling an array of different flavored rums like passion fruit and pineapple, or ginger and guava or coconut and cinnamon. The concoctions are endless. Our one big regret is not bringing a bigger bag so that we could fill it with the different rums we encountered.
Make a stop at the market on the beach in St. Anne and try the flavored rums there. Yummmm.
I left the best for last.
What do you get when you mix French, Caribbean and African cuisine? Perfection! Oh My Lord, the food in Guadeloupe is to die for. While I like to explore the nature at any destination, my husband prefers to sample his way through it by visiting as many restaurants and small eateries as he can find. Thankfully I don’t shy away from good food and I love my belly just like the next Caribbean woman. We sampled , tasted and finger licked our way through Guadeloupe, searching for the best in creole cuisine like Akras, Poulet et Fritte and Colombo dishes. Take it from me, the Guadeloupe cuisine never disappoints.
There is so much more to say and so many more photos to share of our experience in this group of islands, but I don’t want to take up too much of your time. I will leave you with this though: Should you be planning a visit to the West Indies soon, make sure to consider Guadeloupe and let me know if I can help you plan an itinerary. I swear I was put on this earth to serve as a travel guide, so ask away in the below comment section or contact me for a more personal one on one. You can also subscribe to my newsletter to stay informed of upcoming blog posts and specials and be the first to see the Guadeloupe short video by subscribing to my YouTube channel.
I will leave you with this quick recipe for the perfect T-Punch as a bonus.
- 2 ounces rum — make sure rum is from Guadeloupe or Martinique
- 1/2 lime
- cane syrup
Mix the rum with half a lime (squeezed) and add the cane syrup to taste in a small tumbler. Stir until the syrup is dissolved and add 1 or 2 ice cubes, if you’re going to sip it. Note that you will be called chicken or a wuss if you drink it with ice cubes. This dink is not for the weak.
What we learned while in Gwada is that you can substitute the cane syrup with brown sugar, honey or molasses. My preferred choice is molasses.Try it and let me know what you think.
Remember to always Live, Laugh and Travel.
Until the next Blog Post.Much <3,
Riselle a.k.a. The Traveling Island Girl