La Grande Soufrière
La Grande Soufrière / / jlazouphoto
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La Caravelle Beach
La Caravelle Beach / / SlidePix
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Carbet Falls
Carbet Falls / / italiansight
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Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe

Our Review
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

A laid-back alternative to St. Barts, the islands of Guadeloupe have Gallic touches as well as uncrowded beaches and rain forests for spectacular hikes. Cruise ships dock in Pointe-à-Pitre, the capital and largest city. Its central location makes it a fine base for exploring, especially since the two main islands are close enough to be connected by a bridge.

What We Love

La Soufrière: This mildly active volcano is a beautiful, doable hike that can be done in about two hours. Stop at the mineral-rich Yellow Baths and cool off in the waterfalls at Le Bassin Bleu.

Les Saintes: The French influence is stronger (as seen in the food) on these islands, a 20-minute ferry ride from the main islands. Les Saintes Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Best Known For

Colorful Beaches: The black-sand Plage de Bananier is popular with boogie boarders, the chalk-white Plage Vieux Port and Plage de la Feuillère are all but uninhabited, and the golden sand of Plage de Grande Anse stretches around a long crescent.

Small-Screen Fame: 
The islands are every bit as gorgeous in person as on the BBC/PBS drama “Death in Guadeloupe.” The series was filmed in Deshaies, a laid-back beach town on the western coast.

Who It's Best For

Nature Lovers: The archipelago is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve thanks to the rain forests and a vibrant underwater world (the Cousteau Reserve is a draw for divers).

Street Food Fans: Bokit is the beloved local sandwich — soft, flaky deep-fried flour filled with meats (from ham to conch to merguez), sauces, and vegetables. Grab one from a food truck when you disembark in Pointe-à-Pitre.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

Parlez-Vous Français?: If you don’t speak French, join an excursion, hire an English-speaking guide, or download a good translation app.

Priced Accordingly: Since Guadeloupe is a department of France (like a state), it operates in Euros — and import fees drive up prices.