Fort Napoléon des Saintes#21 in Best Things To Do in Guadeloupe
Overlooking the bay of Les Saintes nearly 400 feet above sea level, this 18th-century fort offers incredible views. Comissioned by King Louis XVI as a military fort, it was never used for defense purposes. However, it was later used as a military jail and then transformed into a museum showcasing the history of Les Saintes. Also of note is are the botanical gardens surrounding the fort, which are famous for their collection of cacti species and resident iguanas.
Recent visitors appreciated the views and the well-preserved fort, but warned that it is a steep climb if you are walking. Some suggested renting an electric scooter or electric bike to get up the hill. Others were also disappointed that many of the informational placards within the museum are only displayed in French. If you are more interested in the museum displays than the views, reviewers suggested hiring a guide to help you translate.
The fort is about a 30-minute uphill walk from the village, but once there, the views of the bay and neighboring islands are spectacular, according to past visitors. Admission costs 5 euros (about $6) for adults; entrance costs half-price for children ages 6 to 10. The fort is open daily from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (last admission is at noon). Visit the fort's website (in French) for more information.
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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 Soufriere 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 Traversee, a scenic 16-mile road that cuts through the forest.
Recent travelers recommended packing bug spray and snacks for the trip and said there is plenty to see and do in the park. Reviewers also warn that the park is muddy – plan to wear shoes with good traction.
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