Tag Archives: visiting Les Saintes

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 >> Continue reading »

15 Reasons to Visit Guadeloupe Islands

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At the end of my week in “Gwada”—as Guadeloupeans affectionately call their home—I was staring at my calendar to figure out when I could return.

From day two of my visit, I had a burning desire to hop into my own rental car and navigate along the endless and winding coastline, stretching from the Caribbean to the Atlantic, hike the towering hills and explore each colorful market. Hang out with Guadeloupeans and immerse.

Every scene remains vivid in my mind—the dominating landscape of deep greens and blues, the friendly smiles and the sound of gwo ka drums on the beach, vibrating into the night.

In over a decade of solo exploration, I’ve experienced this intense feeling only twice in the Caribbean region: Jamaica and Belize.

There’s something about Guadeloupe.

It is proud of its African roots. Yes, French is spoken here—there are patisseries and pharmacies, and everyone says bonjour. But I never felt anywhere else but the West Indies. There’s an Afro-Caribbean essence that permeates every day life.  Gwada is a place effortlessly hanging on to ancestral traditions yet sophisticated; a place where the old and the new happily coexist, one complementing the other. There’s no desire to be like the rest of the region. Unpretentious and raw, yet refined—Guadeloupe is a land >> Continue reading »