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 is an award-winning, Ethiopian-American travel writer, photographer and author of several Caribbean guidebooks for Moon Travel Guides, including Moon Belize, Moon Belize Cayes, and Moon Dominican Republic (October 2016). Her work focuses on Caribbean culture and adventure, and has been published in AFAR, CNN Travel, BBC, Delta Sky, The Guardian, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, and Every Day With Rachael Ray, among many others. Lily is also the 2016 recipient of the Marcia Vickery Wallace Award for Excellence in Travel Journalism for her Caribbean coverage, from the Caribbean Tourism Organization. Lily calls herself a “culture-holic”–she speaks four languages fluently and has lived in Cote d’Ivoire, England, Jamaica, Belize, the Dominican Republic and traveled to some 30+ countries around the world. Last but not least, she is a former corporate attorney who ditched her Washington DC office for the road in 2009 to pursue her dream of becoming a storyteller. Lily holds a Bachelor of Arts in French and Spanish (summa cum laude) from the University of Maryland at College Park, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law.

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