Guadeloupe tour: itinerary ideas for a week in Guadeloupe

What to do and where to stop for a one-week tour of Guadeloupe? Here’s our itinerary idea!

A French archipelago in the Caribbean Sea, Guadeloupe comprises two main islands – Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre – andsecondary islands – Marie-Galante, the Saintes archipelago and La Désirade. Populated by almost 400,000 people, it has a surface area of 1,628.43 km², but its rich biodiversity, with a high rate of endemism, is threatened by human activity and tourism. Guadeloupe has a tropical climate, with an average annual temperature of 27°C, coconut-fringed beaches bathed in warm turquoise-green waters all year round, and a contrasting archipelago.

Basse-Terre is mountainous, covered by dense tropical jungle and cascading waterfalls and rivers, culminating in La Soufrière at 1,467 meters. Grande-Terre, on the other hand, is separated by the Rivière Salée, is flat and comprises an arid plain, a rugged, jagged coastline to the north and a multitude of seaside resorts and sandy beaches to the south.

Thanks to its many assets, 650,000 tourists visited Guadeloupe in 2017. Are you planning a trip to this archipelago? Discover our itinerary ideas for a week in Guadeloupe!

Day 1: Pointe-à-Pitre

Pointe-à-Pitre is where you’ll be landing. We highly recommend renting a car – pre-booked online in advance on Rentalcars, for example, is even better. Being able to drive on your own means you can tour Guadeloupe in complete freedom, without having to depend on bus schedules.

In downtown Pointe-à-Pitre, visit the historic district and the port, where you’ll find monuments and tourist attractions: the Saint-John Perse Museum, the L’Herminier Museum, the Place de la Victoire, the Darse market, the ACTe Memorial, the Saint-Antoine market (also known as the « spice market »).

Then head south and east to explore Grande-Terre. Does the beach at Bas du Fort already seem sublime? You haven’t seen anything yet! La Datcha beach – with its fine sand and palm trees – and downtown Le Gosier are ideal for evenings and nights out. In the evening, try the rums in the bars – that’s what a tour of Guadeloupe is all about!

Day 2: Gosier islet

Îlet du Gosier

On the second day, we head for the islet of Le Gosier, a paradise for snorkeling and resting after an exhausting first day (travel and sightseeing). The south-east coast of Basse-Terre, between Le Gosier and Saint-François, offers a succession of beaches where you can swim in crystal-clear water.

As far as Pointe des Châteaux, with its end-of-the-world feel, the beaches are all as heavenly as each other (but also very busy): Anse Vinaigri, plage de Saint-Félix, plage de Petit-Havre, Anse Canot, plage Sainte-Anne, plage de la Caravelle, plage de Bois Jolan, Anse à la Barque, Anse des Rochers, plage des Raisins Clairs and Anse à la Gourde.

The beaches, protected by a coral reef, offer safe bathing and a romantic picnic.

Day 3: Port-Louis and the north of the island

For this third day, head for Port-Louis and the north of the island along the east coast!

A picturesque fishing village, Port-Louis is also a former sugar-producing town. Here too, the coastline offers postcard-perfect scenery.

The north coast has its share of must-sees: Plage du Souffleur, Anse-Bertrand, Grande Vigie and the Porte d’Enfer.

To the west, you’ll discover the mangrove swamps and coral reef of Grand-Cul-de-Sac marin, a splendid 15,000-hectare bay. You can reach the island of Basse-Terre in an hour’s drive, from Port-Louis to Petit-Bourg for the second part of the road trip. From now on, it’ll be mountains plunging into the Caribbean Sea, beaches of black or golden sand, and the impression of having changed country.

Day 4: Soufrière

La Soufrière

Photo Credit: Flickr – Alexia Boulot

Now that you’ve had a good rest on the beaches, it’s time to warm up your calves! It’s time to climb the island’s iconic volcano, a must-see when visiting Guadeloupe: La Soufrière, the highest peak in Guadeloupe and the West Indies.

Set off early in the morning to take advantage of the fine weather and explore the slopes of the volcano. The volcano is described as one of the most interesting sites in the Guadeloupe National Park. The summit, named La Découverte, is a lava dome 900 metres in diameter at its base, with mouths from which sulphurous vapours emerge from the bowels of the Earth. Up to 1,100 metres, the volcano is covered by dense tropical vegetation, which changes to humid scrubland after 1,100 metres. At the top, observe the bromeliads that grow there and resist the hostility of the volcano’s gases.

But most of all, enjoy a breathtaking 360° view of the mountains north of Basse-Terre. You’ll also see Petit Cul de Sac Marin, Grande Terre, the south of Basse-Terre, the Caribbean Sea, the surrounding islands – Les Saintes, Marie-Galante – and even La Dominique!

Don’t miss the Matouba hot baths at an altitude of 1,067 metres on your descent. Since 2015, these showers have been pouring streams of water at a temperature of 50°C. One idea is to sleep in the village of Goyave, to the east of the volcanic massif: for access to the beaches in the evening in particular!

Good to know

The hike is rated difficult on the Alltrails app (the hiking Bible!): 6.37 km, for around 3 hours’ walking.

Day 5: Carbet Falls

After a well-deserved night’s sleep in Goyave, set off for the Chutes du Carbet! A succession of three waterfalls emptying into the Grand Carbet river in the middle of the Soufrière rainforest, they are a must-see when you choose to visit Guadeloupe.

  • The first, and highest, falls at a height of 115 metres and is reached by a steep path.
  • The second waterfall is accessible via a concrete path (for false hikers…) and is logically the most popular.
  • The third waterfall, located in the commune of Capesterre Belle Eau (outside the Guadeloupe National Park), is accessible via a pleasant forest trail laid out by the ONF.

The east coast of Basse-Terre has several small beaches worth a visit:

  • Viard beach, south of Petit-Bourg, offers a sublime view of Grande-Terre and the Petit cul-de-sac marin.
  • Sainte-Claire beach, a wide strip of volcanic sand equipped with carbets, is pleasantly breezy and ideal for family outings.
  • Roseau beach, considered one of the most beautiful on the eastern coast, is made up of small artificial coves with a shaded shoreline.

After lounging on the beaches, set off again for the island’s southern coast. Pass through the towns of Basse-Terre and Trois-Rivières – where the Banana Museum is a must-see – and sample Guadeloupe’s culinary specialties. It would be a shame not to sample the local dishes on your Guadeloupe tour.

Good to know

– Please note: with almost 400,000 visitors a year (or 1,095 visitors a day), it’s one of the island’s busiest sites.

– When resting in the shade of a tree on the beach, always watch out for coconut palms. Don’t get caught in the path of a falling coconut!

Day 6: Basse-Terre

In the area for your penultimate day, make the most of the island’s southern and western coasts. Start with an in-depth visit to the town of Basse-Terre.

  • Visit the monuments in the city center

Like Notre-Dame-de-Guadeloupe Cathedral, Champ d’Arbaud, Square Pichon, and Basse-Terre’s former largest sugar refinery: Distillerie Bologne (closes at 1:30 p.m.).

A listed 17th-century fort, it was the scene of the Franco-English wars for sovereignty over the island.

Created in 1820, it is a permanent exhibition on « island biodiversity », offering you a green setting in the city.

On your way northwest, don’t miss the Réserve Cousteau, a protected marine area between Bouillante and Pointe-Noire, between Malendure beach and the îlets Pigeon. Discovered in 1959 by the Captain of La Calypso, it is a marine reserve designed to protect species from fishing (corals, gorgonians, Neptune’s brains, sponges, tropical fish, lobsters, sea turtles). Today, it’s one of the most beautiful dive sites in Guadeloupe. You can observe the underwater life here by kayak, snorkeling or boat.

Day 7: Deshaies and Sainte-Rose

Grande-Anse en Guadeloupe

Photo Credit: Flickr – Romain Decker

Unfortunately, it’s the last day of the Guadeloupe tour, but there’s still plenty to do!

In Deshaies and Sainte-Rose, on the way back to Pointe-à-Pitre, enjoy the many heavenly beaches:

  • Grande-Anse, a kilometre-long stretch of sand in a circular arc, lined with coconut palms.
  • La Perle (next to Pointe Rifflet) and its breathtaking view of the island of Montserrat.
  • The Amandiers beach and its calm waters make for idyllic bathing.
  • L’Anse Vinty, only accessible on foot.

If you still have time before your flight, this may be the perfect opportunity to visit the Musée du Rhum – the Reimonenq Distillery – in Sainte-Rose. A visit to the distillery reveals the distillation columns, the cellars and the brand’s emblematic bottles, made by the distillery and stamped Reimonenq. The museum attracts thousands of visitors every year.

And that’s it, your Guadeloupe tour is over (our program is ambitious, but indicative), and all that’s left to do is get back on the road to Pointe-à-Pitre international airport (26 kilometers from Sainte-Rose) to return your rental car!