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Cruise Diva Goes Ashore in the Caribbean
Sights to see & things to do

Guadeloupe

Spread out on the sea like a butterfly, Guadeloupe’s twin islands are divided by the Rivière Salée, a narrow mangrove channel. To the east, Grande-Terre has gently rolling hills and flat plains, while Basse-Terre on the west is dominated by rugged hills and mountains covered in a dense rainforest. Much of the interior of Basse-Terre has been set aside as the Caribbean’s most impressive nature preserve.

Diversions

Guadeloupe is generally recognized as the center of French and Creole culture in the Caribbean and English is rarely spoken outside tourist shops and restaurants. Pointe-à-Pitre is the commercial port city and, although Guadeloupe has a good bus system that operates with frequency on main routes and taxis are plentiful (but expensive), shore excursions are recommended. For the more independent, or those who speak a bit of French, renting a car is a good way to get around Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre. For a slower pace try renting a scooter. Taxis are available, but on the pricey side.

Reminiscent of New Orleans, the Creole architecture is charming, but it’s the Parc National with its dense rainforest, the highest waterfalls in the eastern Caribbean, and the smoldering volcanic, La Soufrière that is the main attraction.

Shopping

The open-air market on Pointe-à-Pitre’s harbor front is a good spot to buy island handicrafts, including straw dolls, hats, and woodcarvings. Look for locally grown coffee and the island’s most popular souvenir—Guadeloupean rum.

Beaches

While Guadeloupe has many fine beaches, be aware that some are clothing-optional. Closest to Pointe-à-Pitre are the white-sand beaches in the resort areas of Gosier, Sainte-Anne, and Saint-François. Ilet du Gosier, which can be reached by boat from Gosier, is a snorkeling paradise, with abundant fish, sponges, sea fans, and colorful corals.


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