Diving#10 in Best Things To Do in Guadeloupe
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Guadeloupe features calm waters ideal for aquatic enthusiasts. Some of the most popular dive sites lay in the bay of Petit Cul-de-Sac Marin, located just south of Rivière Salée (the channel that parts each wing of Guadeloupe). More standout diving areas fringe Les-Saintes. Diving spots surrounding Fort Napoleon on Terre-de-Haut are some of the area's finest. However, none of these can compare to the unique environment of Cousteau Underwater Reserve in Bouillante, Basse-Terre. The sheltered reefs brim with magnificent fish and other subsea splendors, such as star coral.
You don't have to dive deep below the surface to catch sight of Guadeloupe's rich diversity of aquatic life. One TripAdvisor user recalls, "We snorkeled along the shores with clear views to 10 meters and saw fantastic underwater scenery with corals, fish and turtles, including swimming within reach of beautiful parrotfish."
Numerous tour companies offer a variety of dive types, which range from night dives to daytime underwater explorations. Two trusted diving companies are Heures Saines and Plasir Plongee Karukera. Prices vary depending on skill level and chosen diving destination. First-time dives (which include training and equipment) cost around €50 EUR (roughly $64 USD). For current schedules and pricing information, consult Heurus Saines official website (written in French).
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#1 Parc National de la Guadeloupe (Guadeloupe National Park)
Tucked amid Basse-Terre's verdant mountain landscape sits the Parc National de la Guadeloupe (Guadeloupe National Park), a 74,100-acre rainforest filled with picturesque traces (walking trails). The park's trails brush past lush forest foliage, magnificent waterfalls, and the summit of La Soufrière volcano. The trails range from short- to long-distance routes that vary in difficulty. Before you strap on your hiking gear, you'll want to pick up a Guide to the National Park brochure from the Guadeloupe tourism office (located in St. Claude, Basse-Terre) to map out your journey. If you would prefer to admire the park's natural splendors from behind the wheel, drive along the route de la Traversée, a scenic 16-mile road that cuts through the forest.
Recent travelers recommend packing bug spray and snacks for the trip. One TripAdvisor user notes, "The area is kept very natural and the hiking trails are well-marked [...] Remember to bring proper foot wear as the trails can be muddy if it has been raining."
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