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Recreation, Swimming/Pools, Tours, Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

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  • 3.5Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 4.0Atmosphere

The Réserve Cousteau is a protected natural maritime area surrounding the Pigeon Islands. You'll find vibrant coral reefs and gardens, lots of marine life and several wrecks. The reserve is named after Jacques Cousteau, a French naval officer who is best known as a pioneer of marine conservation. He brought international attention to these waters in Guadeloupe after filming a documentary here highlighting its rich marine life. Today, there is a statue of Cousteau resting near the ocean floor.

Recent visitors loved the reef, though many said it can get quite crowded, especially when cruise ships are in town. There are many outfitters on the island that offer boating, snorkeling and dive packages for both beginners and seasoned divers. You can find more information about the reserve on its website (in French).

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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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