Credit

Courtesy of Oliver Hoffmann/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Free Things To Do in Guadeloupe

If you have extra time, Marie-Galante is worthwhile.
  • #1
    Parc National de la Guadeloupe (Guadeloupe National Park)
    View all Photos
    #1 in Guadeloupe
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    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.

    ...Read More »
  • #2
    Les Saintes
    View all Photos
    #2 in Guadeloupe
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Les Saintes consists of eight islands skirting Guadeloupe's southern coast. The picturesque cluster gets its name from explorer Christopher Columbus who, after discovering them in the 15th century, named them Los Santos (translated to Les Saintes in French). Terre-de-Haut, the main island—and the biggest of the bunch—features a variety of bistros, shops, and sunny beaches. If you don't mind stripping off layers, head to Anse Crawen, a tranquil beach on Terre-de-Haut often overlooked by tourists.

    ...Read More »
  • #3
    Marie-Galante
    View all Photos
    #3 in Guadeloupe
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Ever since Christopher Columbus caught sight of Marie-Galante and named the island after his ship, the Maria Galanda, visitors have been captivated by this enchanting isle. Today, Marie-Galante's unspoiled scenery can be found everywhere, from its quaint chateaus to its isolated sands. And its rolling hills—frosted with powdery sands, sugar plantations, and 19th-century windmills—add to its rustic ambiance.

    ...Read More »
  • #4
    La Désirade
    View all Photos
    #4 in Guadeloupe
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    It's no wonder Christopher Columbus and his crews were awestruck by the unspoiled beauty of La Désirade (meaning "The Desired One" in French). Legend has it Columbus caught sight of the island after days without fresh drinking water, and hence named the island after his desire to behold landfall (and clean water). On the island, you'll find cacti, coco-palms, and sea grape trees dotting La Désirade's sunny beaches, like Souffleur and Baie Mahault. When you need a break from soaking up the rays, pick up a scooter to explore the winding, main road that stretches up to Grande Montagne, the island's tiny village. From Grand Montagne, you'll behold spectacular panoramic views.

    ...Read More »
  • #5
    Plantation and Distillery Tours
    View all Photos
    #5 in Guadeloupe
    Sightseeing, Wineries/Breweries, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Wineries/Breweries, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    For your chocolate, coffee, and rum fixes all in one, you will want to devote some time to touring the islands' plantations and distilleries. You'll find centuries-old plantations peppering the rolling hills of Marie-Galante and the hillsides of Basse-Terre. Among the three distilleries found near Grand-Bourg (Marie-Galante's main town), Distillerie Bielle stands apart as one of the finest. One TripAdvisor user raves, "Bielle is a high quality rum and they produce a variety of white rum […] and old rum (rhum vieux). Possibly the best rum in Guadeloupe and […] the Caribbean." Make sure to call ahead to confirm hours of operation (590/97-93-62).

    ...Read More »
  • #6
    Pointe-à-Pitre
    View all Photos
    #6 in Guadeloupe
    Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Shoppers looking for discounted French wares—including perfumes, scarves, and cosmetics—should head straight to Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe's fashion hub and Grande-Terre's largest city. The streets are narrow and almost always jam-packed during the day, so you'll want to arrive early to beat the rush of fellow shoppers. Apart from perusing the eclectic array of stores lining the waterfront, you'll also want to stop by the Marché Couvert, a vibrant marketplace surrounded by rue Frebault, rue St-John Perse, rue Schoelcher, and rue Dublessis. The colorful market stalls sell everything from aromatic spices, to fresh papaya to locally woven fabrics.

    ...Read More »
  • #7
    Plage Caravelle
    View all Photos
    #7 in Guadeloupe
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    On Grande-Terre's southern edge, just southwest of the quaint town of Ste-Anne, you'll find Plage Caravelle's long, sunny stretch. A preferred spot for snorkelers (the reef-protected waters are typically calm), this lovely beach features brilliant turquoise waves and blindingly white sand fit for lounging. When you need a break from the lazing along Caravelle's sparkling sands, check out the nearby Club Med resort, which offers day passes for non-guests who wish to take advantage of the resort's water equipment and restaurant.

    ...Read More »
  • #8
    Pointe des Châteaux
    View all Photos
    #8 in Guadeloupe
    Natural Wonders, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Natural Wonders, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Pointe des Châteaux's striking cliff formations define Grande-Terre's easternmost edge, marking where the Atlantic Ocean collides with the Caribbean Sea. You'll notice a cluster of hollowed limestone coves, sculpted over time by turbulent winds and rough waves. Once you've hiked to the top to admire the eye-catching cliffs, retreat to Pointe des Châteaux's small beach or visit one of the sandy stretches lining the island's southern shoreline. Plage Tarare is another popular sunning spot for those who like sporting minimal swimwear and sprawling across heaps of white sand. You'll find Plage Tarare on Pointe des Châteaux's northern side.

    ...Read More »
  • #9
    La Grande-Anse
    View all Photos
    #9 in Guadeloupe
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    For a slice of the French Riviera without a long overseas flight, head straight to La Grande-Anse. Draped in soft, khaki-colored sands and tall, swaying palm trees, La Grande-Anse stands as one of Guadeloupe's finest beaches. Though the beach lacks facilities, you'll be content with its calm azure waves and its unspoiled mountain scenery. The beach fills up quickly during the weekends, so arrive early if you're hoping to snag a primo sunning spot. If you would rather lay your towel on more isolated sands, head to the powdery shores skirting Les Saintes.

    ...Read More »

Explore More of Guadeloupe

Recommended

The 20 Best Michigan State Parks

Two peninsulas, four Great Lakes and innumerable natural highlights elevate Michigan's state parks.

Zach WatsonApril 18, 2019

50 Awesome Vacation Ideas for Every Type of Traveler

Consider these vacation ideas for your next getaway.

Holly JohnsonApril 11, 2019

The 13 Best National Parks in California

You won't regret adding one of these national parks to your California itinerary.

Rachel CenterApril 10, 2019

10 Beautiful Places to Visit in the South of France

Plan a getaway to these special destinations to soak up culture, cuisine and quaint atmospheres.

Gwen PratesiApril 8, 2019

Best Carry-on Luggage of 2019

U.S. News rated the best carry-on luggage, considering recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerApril 3, 2019

The 11 Best Utah National Parks and Monuments to Visit

From birding to bouldering to boating, Utah's national parks have it all.

Zach WatsonApril 2, 2019

The 30 Best Zoos in the U.S.

Get an up-close look at wild creatures in natural settings at America's top animal parks.

Kyle McCarthyMarch 28, 2019

15 Scenic Train Rides to Add to Your Bucket List

Climb aboard these locomotives for jaw-dropping views.

Christine SmithMarch 26, 2019

13 Top Places to Visit in Tuscany, Italy

Ditch the crowded streets of Rome or Milan and head to Italy's picturesque countryside.

Lyn MettlerMarch 25, 2019

10 Excellent Educational Vacations for Families

Make sure your next getaway is both enjoyable and informative.

Holly JohnsonMarch 14, 2019