La Désirade picture
sybarite48/Flickr

Key Info

La Désirade

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.5scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Food Scene
  • 4.5Atmosphere

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.

According to many travelers, La Désirade serves as an excellent place to unwind. "This island is very quiet with friendly people. We felt that the day and a half spent there was appropriate. Overall, we were quite pleased with our visit," comments one TripAdvisor user.

You'll find La Désirade just off of Guadeloupe's southern coast. The island sits just five miles from Pointe des Châteaux. Ferries depart daily from St-François (about 25 miles east of Pointe-à-Pitre) to La Désirade. Call 590/20-05-03 for a current schedule and pricing information. 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 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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