Although it’s not quite as famous as its neighbors, Guadeloupe makes a truly beautiful laid-back destination offering everything from stunning beaches to jungle-lined mountains.
The group of over twelve sun-soaked islands reside in the southern Caribbean Sea but officially belongs to France. The two largest islands are Grande-Terre Island which is home to gorgeous long beaches and sugarcane fields and Basse-Terre Island which has some wonderful beauty spots as well as an active volcano.
Here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in Guadeloupe…
1. St Anne Beach – a lively and attractive tourist enclave
A beach with white sand and crystal clear water, this beach could be described as paradise. The beach is very popular with both tourists and residents which can see it crowded at times.
There are plenty of shops, bars, and restaurants for visitors and for those visiting the beach, there are toilets and rinsing showers available too to get cleaned off afterwards.
There is plenty of beautiful architecture in the area and stunning palm trees on the beach. If you love participating in ocean activities, there are plenty to do on the island including surfing and swimming, among other things.
2. Les Saintes – known for its coral-rich waters and palm-lined beaches
Les Saintes is formed up of nine unspoiled islands. Two of these islands are inhabited and are havens for visitors with bistros galore. It is a volcanic archipelago and is surrounded by shallow reefs.
Some of the islands strictly forbid visitors whereas some forbid fishing (or strictly regulate it) and boating. Others are hard to visit as they are hard to berth in.
The islands are immediately south of Guadeloupe and are characterized by a long coast and rocky and sandy shores. There is plenty of gorgeous fauna and fascinating marine life to be seen on and around the islands.
3. Anse Champagne beach – a gorgeous beach with beautiful sunsets
One of the most beautiful beaches to explore in Guadeloupe, this gorgeous spot is the exotic tropical beach of Saint anse francois, and is home to swaying palm trees, coconut palms, a sailing ship at the champagne lagoon and some truly wonderful sunsets.
4. Terre de Haut – a commune and a popular beauty spot to explore in Guadeloupe
Terre de Haut is very popular with divers, thanks to its healthy reefs. However, it also has a big international sailing scene too! The municipality is incredibly tourist-friendly with many bars and hotels.
Definitely visit Fort Napoléon when visiting the island, a museum dedicated to the history, culture, and environment of the Saintes. It was built as a fort before being destroyed by British forces in the 1800s and then rebuilt and turned into a penitentiary.
With gorgeous beaches and French-Creole shops aplenty, this municipality is well worth a visit as one of the most beautiful places in Guadeloupe.
5. Plage de Grande Anse – one of the most beautiful beaches in Guadeloupe
A public beach in Deshaies, it is considered one of the most majestic beaches of Guadeloupe and is very picturesque. It is the longest beach of the Guadeloupe archipelago and has clear blue waters, clean white sands, and beautiful coconut palm trees.
Expect to take in incredible views when visiting this beach with it being especially amazing at sunset. The area is great for snorkeling and other beach or ocean activities, but it is important to be aware of the current as it can sometimes be a bit strong.
There are many bars and eateries for visitors to the beach.
6. Pointe-à-Pitre – a city filled with 19th-century buildings
The largest city of Guadeloupe is made up of eleven different communes. The city gets many visitors and is the main port for cargo too.
It is a beautiful city and there are plenty of things to do in the area – there are a number of landmarks and museums that are a must-visit for tourists. The city also has a number of stunning churches and cathedrals too.
The city is charming and has plenty of character, with many places for tourists to stay and plenty of fine eateries for visitors to check out and try some delicious food.
7. Plage de Bois Jolan – the perfect white sand Caribbean beach experience
A beautiful and secluded beach in Sainte-Anne, the waters are clear blue and are incredibly inviting. Easily accessed from both Saint Francois or Saint Anne, the sandy beaches are clean and unspoilt, and the beach offers plenty of shade under its impressive palm trees.
The beach is long and offers plenty of space for visitors with picnic areas available so you can take time to eat. The perfect beach to relax on, whether in the sunshine or in the shade, it is charming and quiet too.
The waters are still, thanks to the bank of coral just off the coast.
8. Porte d Enfer – a little corner of heaven to visit on Guadeloupe
A long narrow lagoon that is sometimes known as ‘Hell’s Gate’, this place offers very impressive views. Visitors say it is a must-see and very pretty, even when the waves are crashing.
When the ocean is calm, it is even more spectacular, and you can apparently see fish up close!
With a small beach and even a trekking route so you can hike around it, the Porte d Enfer lagoon truly is a must-see and can be accessed by driving around the north. Don’t forget to relax on the banks for lunch if the weather is calm enough.
9. La Datcha Beach – a popular beach with tourists and locals
Located in the village of Gosier, on the south of Grande Terre island, this is a popular spot with both locals and tourists. It has quite a buzz with a strip of fine sand, turquoise waters and is very close to local eateries and parking too.
10. La Désirade – a tiny unspoiled island to explore
This island is full of breathtaking surprises, thanks to the beautiful plants found there and the range of animals, including some really rare species.
The island has a beautiful little village as its main settlement called Beauséjour which has plenty of amenities. The church is a must-see with a stunning altar carved from locally grown pear tree wood.
The island also has a gorgeous cove called Anse de Galets which is found at the westernmost tip of the island.
With a stunning beach and plenty of places to get great views, this island is one to add to the list.
11. La Soufriere Volcano – the highest mountain peak in the Lesser Antilles
This active stratovolcano is the highest mountain peak in the Lesser Antilles and is incredibly impressive. The last magmatic eruption occurred in 1580 however there have been phreatic eruptions in recent years.
The headline attraction in Guadeloupe National Park, it is worth taking a hike around and, on this volcano, if you are brave enough!
With spectacular views of not only the valley but surrounding islands, you can also take a dup in the baths of warm water or come across some interesting wildlife. You could even take a walk through the luscious green forest. There is plenty to do.
12. Petite Terre – two small picturesque uninhabited islands
The Petitie Terre islands are surrounded by a gorgeous coral reef, and they are home to some amazing sights. Visitors can expect to see floral delights such as agave or sea violets whilst also finding wildlife such as sea turtles and hermit crabs.
Both of the islands are incredibly beautiful and have an unspoilt heritage which can be explored in more detail at the Terre-de-Bas lighthouse and its fauna and flora museum.
Tourists often rave about the excursions they take here and the sights they get to see. There truly is so much to explore and see across the islands
13. Ilet Caret – a tiny, remote island with a protected coral reef
A beautiful place to experience relaxation and bliss, Ilet Caret is a small island surrounded by crystal blue waters. The protected coral reef is full of marine life and the fine white sand on the island is made out of dead coral.
Visitors to the island love spending time observing the wildlife or going snorkeling.
Many birds can be seen on Ilet Caret including gulls and egrets which makes it a must-visit for any keen bird watcher.
Excursions often let visitors enjoy some drinks and a barbecue of local produce such as freshly caught fish, which is always popular.
14. Carbet Falls – one of the most beautiful places to visit in Guadeloupe
A breathtaking site, the Carbet Falls are a series of waterfalls on the Carbet River. There are three cascades which are all set amid the rainforests on the lower slopes of the La Soufriere stratovolcano.
The first and highest has a drop of more than 125m – however, the second is more accessible so tends to receive more visitors.
These waterfalls are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Guadeloupe. You can also find some hot springs nearby which are often well worth a visit too. If you are looking for something spectacular to see, these falls are worth it.
15. Jardin Botanique de Deshaies – a stunning tourist attraction and one of the best places to visit in Guadeloupe
This botanical garden, located in Deshaies, is 7 hectares and has plant species from all over the world. It truly is a stunning garden with more than 1,000 different species housed within it. Take a look at the man-made waterfall or check out the koi carp.
These gardens are wonderful for the whole family and are easily accessible. They were designed by a well-known landscape designer, Michel Gaillard, and are considered one of the most beautiful gardens on the island.
With plenty of amazing flowers and different types of birds to see, you would be a fool not to visit.
16. Ilet du Gosier – a charming and scenic small islet to explore in Guadeloupe
Ilet du Gosier is a charming little islet, this is a wonderful place to go snorkeling and discover some tropical fish. The islet is uninhabited and offers amazing views such as the lighthouse as well as the gorgeous golden sand and clear blue waters.
The beaches are absolutely beautiful and the waves clear and tranquil.
This is the perfect place to visit for some relaxation but be aware that there are no toilet facilities available on the island. There are plenty of opportunities to see animals on the island with chickens and ducks roaming around as well as some iguanas.
17. National Park of Guadeloupe – a must-visit attraction to explore
The National Park is located on the island of Basse-Terre and was established in 1989. The park features some of the most beautiful natural sites including the Soufriere volcano and the beautiful Carbet Falls.
There are plenty of trails for visitors to use and explore the park and there is plenty of amazing local wildlife to be seen too.
Covering nearly 22,000 hectares (with 17,300 of those being tropical forest), the aim of the park is to preserve the nature of the Antilles and its fauna and flora. It is a must-visit attraction on the island with three different ecosystem types.
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Scott Balaam – writer and photographer
Scott started his travelling life back in 1999, when he headed off on a solo jaunt to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia with just a backpack, a camera and a spirit for adventure. After that, the travel bug bit hard and now he is always seeking to head off somewhere new. Over the years he has lived in Italy, Qatar, Australia, Ireland, UK and the USA but his spiritual home will always be Rome as this is the city which most satisfies his unrelenting thirst for culture, good food and great football. In his spare time Scott loves nothing better than to be behind the camera and also runs his own blog and Instagram page. He also counts Melbourne, the rest of Italy, Amsterdam, USA, Athens, Cape Town and Tel Aviv among his favourite places. Find Scott on Linkedin, Instagram, or Twitter.