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Key Info

Marie-Galante

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

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 beaches. 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 Chateau Murat, a famed 19th-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. When it's time for a meal, treat yourself to the seafood dishes at La Playa – a restaurant favored for its French-Caribbean menu.

Recent visitors suggested carving out a day or two (at least) to explore Marie-Galante.

Marie-Galante is just an hourlong ferry-ride from Pointe-a-Pitre. Consult our guide to Getting Around Guadeloupe for additional information.

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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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