It is after some time on the spot that we measure the size and power of Guadeloupe. The senses slowly take root in his landscapes with intricate drawings and saturated colors. Nature then demonstrates its ardor, in a diffuse spell. In the early morning, the fauna is already dressed in its finery. A flight of birds as solemn as it is furtive, in front of the immensity of the blue of the sea, is offered to the sight of those who know how to see the sublime. Grace, in short. As in a dream, these are the elements that dictate the mood here and connect us to this land, gravely, blowing the idea that the protection of nature is decidedly our duty. In this month of May, the tropical heat is interspersed with heavy rains that come without warning and retreat us into our dark mines. But when the sun returns, beyond the postcard, it is the bubbling joy of a deeply generous, multifaceted archipelago that awakens passion in us. This piece of France with a thousand nuances knows how to resolutely marry serenity with strength.
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Far from the mass - and often low cost - tourism of their neighbors, the islands of Guadeloupe now want to promote slow tourism. It is a question of taking your time and feeling, off the beaten track, the atmosphere of the place, contemplating what is most precious: namely its biodiversity. Mangroves, tropical forests that roam the archipelago between land and sea, are home to a rich ecosystem. Connected to life, imbued with a mystical character, they have fueled many religious beliefs since Native American times. Guadeloupe remains indeed a land of syncretism. From the flora, we know how to extract here unsuspected benefits. Plants whose medicinal reputations are transmitted orally in tales and legends. Even today, in Creole gardens, tropical plants are cultivated for their supposed medicinal virtues. Journey to discover a bewitching nature, infinite source of well-being.
Mountain biking of the Creole seas and gardens
Discovery of the Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin with Bel Mangrove
It is easy to live a day rich in knowledge at Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin, the largest lagoon in the Lesser Antilles, famous for its coral reef. Departure with Bel Mangrove and its naturalist guide, to the rhythm of a mountain bike of the Seas, for a day shared between educational discovery, swimming and bird watching. At noon, a hearty meal of grilled meats, punches and other local dishes will be served. You will discover the secrets of the mangrove and its mangrove beds that are home to an entire ecosystem and many species of birds that come to nest there. Your day will end in a memorable sunset. Sailing in these waters is equivalent to experiencing absolute calm, which is perfect for families.
More info about Bel Mangrove.
Discovering the Creole gardens in Marie-Galante
Creole garden by Richard Chelza. Foufougong Marie-Galante.
Going to Marie-Galante is like taking a trip back in time, as this island seems out of time. With its almost 100 mills and remains of sugar factories, it preserves a singular identity. Marie-Galante is the cradle of Guadeloupean grandmothers' remedies, who know how to take advantage of its endemic vegetation. In Creole gardens grow all kinds of plants with supposed medicinal virtues. These subsistence plots, once cultivated by slaves, bring together a wide variety of crops. At Richard Chelza, there are many fruit trees and a multitude of legumes brought from Africa or Asia such as pigeon peas, cane peas or curly peas. These plants grown without fertilizers or pesticides offer an excellent yield. And each fruit has its virtue: the jujube would be a good remedy against cough, the zeb z'aiguille would cure sore throats and the gooseberry "péyi" would have the reputation of fighting against hypertension.
You can get there with the receptive My Otantik Travel, a local agency that offers tailor-made activities throughout the archipelago. More info about Marie Galante.
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The garden of Valombreuse
One of the most beautiful gardens in Guadeloupe: more than 1000 species of flowers and plants grow here: orchids, ferns, hoyas, anthuriums, porcelain roses... And more than 150 varieties of palm trees. Japanese ponds and streams offer visitors a cool break in the heart of this lush Garden of Eden, home to several flamingos, hummingbirds and other parrots. Walk along the flowered trails on foot or aboard the electric train, where the visit will be told by Magguy Chaulet, the founder of this first floral park in Guadeloupe. Allow at least 1h15.
More info on the garden of Valombreuse.
Massages and cocoa
The Cocoa House
The establishment is an old factory. Once brown gold of the Aztecs and Mayans, chocolate has become too expensive to produce, but remains very present in Guadeloupe from a cultural point of view. Cocoa is a typical plant of Creole gardens, many locals make their own chocolate. We propose here to walk in the cocoa farm and follow an educational path. At the end of the visit, you can see the chocolate making made in the laboratory, with commentary accompanied by a tasting. Average duration of the visit: one hour. Perfect for families with young children.
More info about the Maison du Cacao.
For a wellness break, Laôrey offers massages in an idyllic setting: river, forests, luxurious villas or seaside. Let yourself go to a relaxing break in the expert hands of the professional masseurs Leila's team, who favor the essential oils of peppermint, lime and Ravensara, mixed with two neutral oils. To practice alone, as a couple or in a group of up to 10 people. Possibility to have an acoustic musician to accompany you in this moment of letting go. The service can be accompanied by a snack: brunch, afternoon tea or breakfast. From 160€ for an hour of massage.
More info about Laôrey massage and Karedetoi massage oil.
The Garden of the Desert on the island of Désirade
Desert Garden Botanical Park. Press photo
Renowned for its coral reef, the wild island of Désirade, 11 km long to travel in 4x4, will also surprise you for its many iguanas in freedom. Managed by the Antilles Cartophiles Association, the Desert Garden is the largest botanical park of its kind in the Caribbean. It is home to more than 800 different species of cacti and other succulents from all continents. The members of the association work to safeguard and reintroduce into its natural environment a cactus called "tête à l'anglais", endemic to the island and unfortunately endangered. The garden offers educational and awareness tours. Open and lit at night until 20pm. Entrance at 10 €, count about 2 hours.
More info about the Desert Botanical Garden. Rental vehicle at Désirade Location Pioche.
Turtles and colonial house
Educational exploration on the coast of North Grande-Terre
Visit of North Grande-Terre with the association Plus. Press photo
Go on an excursion along the coast of North Grande-Terre, with the guides of the association Plus. Starting from the beach of Souffleurs towards the tip of Antigua, on a path marked by the National Forestry Office, the association offers educational excursions on the history of Guadeloupe, its horticultural heritage or the landscape identity of North Grande-Terre, its mills, its sugar houses but also the mangroves. Meetings with farmers are thus proposed, as well as the observation of turtles during the laying period.
More info on the association PLUS.
Visit the Colonial House of Zévallos
A visit of this old colonial house and its garden is proposed. A guide traces the history of Guadeloupe, crops and plantations.
More info about the house Zévallos.
Where to sleep
Hotel Les Galets Rouges lodge & spa
This recent boutique and boutique hotel with a tropical chic spirit offers suites with sea views. High-end services, massages and therapeutic activities are offered here. Possibility to book a floating breakfast directly in the private pool adjoining the room. Located on the beach, the beachfront restaurant Galets Beach offers a very refined Creole menu.
More info about Les Galets Rouges.
Recently renovated, this small colonial-style hotel offers each of its 14 rooms a terrace and a 180° panorama of the ocean and the nearby islands. It is located in lush greenery overlooking Anse à la Barque and has a panoramic swimming pool.
More info about Hotel Amaudo.
Where to have lunch
Restaurant Le Colombo in Saint-François. DR
A real institution in Saint-François, this family business is one of the must-sees of Guadeloupe, very frequented by locals and tourists, fond of their excellent and generous Caribbean meals.
More info about Colombo.
For lovers of Creole bistronomy, this restaurant is located in the direct vicinity of the garden of Valombreuse. We love cod acras, coconut milk ouassous and the mythical exotic tiramisu.
More info about La Badiane.
Lagranlag will make you discover the charm of the "désiradienne" cuisine, one of the best Creole cuisines, where you can taste freshly caught seafood. Short broth, conch fricasse, lobsters or a fabulous gratin of local vegetables.
More info about Lagranlag.
The Poetry of Dishes
The poetry of dishes, Marie-Galantaise institution offers the bébélé, typical and traditional dish of the island, whose recipe is transmitted from mother to daughter. It consists of breadfruit, green bananas, wheat flour and tripe, all simmered with spices and lime. Delicious.
More info on La Poésie des Plats.
Overlooking the beach of Anse Laborde, come, relax alone or with your family. Meals, cocktails, tapas, shisha dishes.
More info about Laborde Beach.
To get there.
17 weekly flights to Pointe-à-Pitre with Air Caraïbes from Paris Orly. Call price at 490€ return ticket. Possibility to book a flight with a departure/return train from/to your region under the same ticket thanks to the Train+Air offer. More information on aircaraïbes.com