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Key Info

La Désirade

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Free, Neighborhood/Area, Sightseeing Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Food Scene
  • 4.5Atmosphere

It's no wonder Christopher Columbus and his crews were awestruck by the unspoiled beauty of La Desirade (meaning "the desire" in French). Legend has it that 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, coconut palms and sea grape trees dotting La Desirade's sunny beaches, like Souffleur and Fifi Beach. 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.

According to many travelers, La Desirade serves as an excellent place to unwind and its beauty is soothing.

You'll find La Desirade just off of Guadeloupe's southern coast. The island sits just 5 miles east of Pointe des Chateaux. Ferries depart daily from Saint-Francois (about 25 miles east of Pointe-a-Pitre) to La Desirade. For additional details, consult our guide to Getting Around Guadeloupe.

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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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