Photo Essay: Les Saintes, Guadeloupe Islands

_DSC2850Last November, I seized the opportunity to travel to the Guadeloupe Islands archipelago.

One of the highlights of my visit was a side trip to Les Saintes, a cluster of seven islands, located seven miles south off the coast of mainland Guadeloupe. In essence, an archipelago within an archipelago.

Les Saintes’ idyllic plots—two of which are inhabited Terre-de-Haut and Terre-de-Bas—are accessible only by boat, via a 40-minute ferry ride.

Together, these islands represent what I imagine the Caribbean was decades ago: a place with more bicycles than vehicles, where chain resorts are absent, where going barefoot is a real proposition and not just a marketing gimmick, and where unpaved dirt paths lead to uncrowded, clean beaches.

Throw in a French way of life—think bakeries, leisurely sidewalk lunches, funky French designer beachwear boutiques, French cuisine >> alongside the Creole—and this archipelago is well worth the journey if you find yourself in the eastern Caribbean.

As a follow up to my recent feature on Les Saintes published in New York Magazine, here are images of life across this wonderful, little-known archipelago.


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My visit to Les Saintes was made possible by the Guadeloupe Islands Tourist Board.


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Lebawit Lily Girma

Lebawit Lily Girma has contributed writing and photography to CNN Travel, New York Magazine, AFAR, The Guardian, The Travel Channel, BBC Travel, and more. She is the author of MOON BELIZE, and MOON BELIZE CAYES for Moon Travel Guides. Lily is also currently writing a brand new edition of MOON DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (release Fall 2016). Lily is also AFAR's Jamaica Expert, and author of the AFAR Jamaica Country Guide. A serial expat, she's lived and studied on three continents, including Africa–from her native Ethiopia to Côte d'Ivoire–and Europe, and is fluent in four languages. A former attorney who ditched the office for the road in 2009, she favors all things culture, adventure and storytelling, and escapes Washington DC’s winters every year.

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