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.


Lebawit Lily Girma

Lebawit Lily Girma is an award-winning travel journalist, photographer, and guidebook author specializing in the Caribbean region. Her work has been published in major travel publications, including CNN, AFAR, Delta Sky, Lonely Planet, Shermans Travel, and BBC, among others. A self-professed "culture-holic," Lily left her native Ethiopia at age one, fast developing a passion for the expat Caribbean life. In 2008, she ditched her US corporate law career for the road and created Sunshine and Stilettos—a travel photography blog showcasing authentic ways to experience the Caribbean, through culture and nature. Lily has since partnered with Caribbean tourism boards and travel brands on major content projects. She also authors print guidebooks on three destinations, including Belize, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. Read more on her site,

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