Marie-Galante#4 in Best Things To Do in Guadeloupe
- 4.0Food Scene
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.
Your first stop should be Grand-Bourg, the island's main settlement (located at the southwestern tip of the island) where you'll find a helpful visitor center. From there, head south to tour the Château Murat, a famed 18th-century plantation that features an exhibit detailing the island's history of sugar cane cultivation and rum-making. The chateau welcomes visitors from around 9:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and admission is free. From here, continue south to Petite-Anse, a golden beach sheltered by sea-grape trees and Le Touloulou, a favored Creole restaurant.
Some visitors suggest carving out a day or two (at least) to explore Marie-Galante. "A half-day (8:00 am to 4:00 pm on the island) is doable to see the main highlights but an overnight stay is recommended […] Life is slower and quieter on this island!" raves one TripAdvisor user.
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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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