Guadeloupe has been the home to ‘Death In Paradise’ for eight seasons, the latest of which is currently airing on the BBC.
But, there’s far more to the Caribbean island than what the TV show offers up.
The French-speaking archipelago, made up of five islands, is located in the heart of the Caribbean with the two biggest isles, fondly referred to as “Le Papillon” (the butterfly), the primary tourist destination to enjoy the colourful fun, beauty and history the region has to offer.
So, if you’re looking at Guadeloupe as your next hot and vibrant place to visit then here are some top tips and recommendations for what to do, see and where to stay on your travels.
Where to stay
The accommodation in Guadeloupe is as diverse as the people with a variety of places to set up camp for your trip.
The Langley Resort Fort Royal is a 3-star beachfront hotel located in Deshaies that is a great place if you want to spend most of your time soaking up the sun.
They have both comfortable rooms and bungalows on offer, though sparse of amenities, and a bar and restaurant offering up buffet meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
If you’re looking for more of a luxurious setting there is La Creole Beach Hotel & Spa in Le Gosier, Grande-Terre.
This 4-star resort offers up deluxe rooms and suites, has both an outdoor pool and beach, a luxury spa, with three restaurants and a bar that offers up an array of live music and events to keep you entertained if you don’t fancy venturing into the town.
The food and the ambiance are wonderful at Le Creole Beach but it is easy to access to some of Grande-Terre’s top tourist destinations and even walking distance to some local bars if you fancy a night out nearby.
What to do
There are several boat trips and excursions you can embark on during your trip, one of which is through Idle who offer catamaran cruises to whisk you across the waters.
Setting sail from Marina of Baie-Manhault, your sea adventure begins by taking in the beauty of the The Grand Cul-de-sac Marin Lagoon, Islet Caret and Islet Fajou Nature reserve before the captain sets down its anchor so you can have lunch and snorkel over the largest coral reef of the Lesser Antilles as well as a sunken ship.
It is one of the most beautiful and relaxing experience you could undertake especially when the sun is out and the sea is calm.
Guadeloupe has a rich local history, from the Caribs who took over the original settlers to the arrival of Christopher Columbus who named the region after Spain’s famous shrine for the Virgin Mary, Santa Maria de Guadalupe de Extramadura.
Of course, like many Caribbean islands, slavery is wrapped in its legacy; you can visit Memorial ACTe which is part of UNESCO’s Slave Route Project, a global initiative to promote the rapprochement of people through the shared legacy of slavery.
At Petit-Canal (Grande-Terre) there is also “Les Marches des Esclaves,” the Slaves’ Steps and Prison cell, which is the oldest commemorative monument of the abolition of slavery in the Guadeloupe Islands.
La Fête des Cuisinières
There are many celebrations that take place on the islands over the calendar year but if you go during the month of August you might want to check out La Fête des Cuisinières.
This feast is held every year in honour of Saint-Laurent and the first Mutual of Cooks since 1916 and begins with a 10 am mass at the Cathedral Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul of Pointe-à-Pitre.
After the ceremony, and dressed in their finest, the men and women descend on the town in a parade handing sweet cakes for onlookers to enjoy and you will certainly enjoy them!
Afterward, you can check out the town and various markets, landmarks and even just the historic architecture that makes you feel like you’re taking a trip into the past.
A short 10-minute walk from the La Creole Beach Hotel & Spa in Le Gosier, Grande-Terre is a nightclub simply called the Le Club.
It sells the most ridiculous cocktails (with a serious amount of rum in them) and plays a mix of hip hop, reggaeton, soca, dancehall and other fun island music for you to dig up the dancefloor to.
It’s not an expat sort of joint rather one frequented by locals so you’re sure to have an authentic clubbing experience away from the more touristy locations.
Where to eat
Guadeloupe might be a French colony but its cuisine is still distinctively Caribbean and there is a rich assortment of restaurants and cafes across the island that shows this off.
The Jardin Botanique de Deshaies is a beautiful botanical garden located in Deshaies that is home to gorgeous wildlife, nature and has even been featured in Death in Paradise.
Le Restaurant Panoramique due Jardin overlooks the Caribbean sea as well as the park’s waterfall, serving up a sumptuous, locally-sourced creole menu.
If you’re looking for a more British bite then you can check out Le Yacht Club, Pointe-a-Pitre, which serves up fish and chips and more gastropub cuisine while overlooking le Quai Lardenoy.
How to get there
They say nothing worth having comes easy, and that might be the case for getting to the island from the UK.
There are no direct flights; we flew from London Heathrow to Charles De Gaulle airport and then got a bus transfer to Orly West airport in order to catch our second flight to at Pointe à Pitre.
It can take anywhere from 11 to 15 hours transit time, depending on your transfer airport, to get to Guadeloupe but once you arrive on tropical shores it totally feels worth it
Yahoo UK was a guest of Visit Guadeloupe for this trip. For more information visit the website.