The 7 must-do things to do in Marie-Galante

Visit Marie-Galante on a holiday in Guadeloupe: what are the best things to see and do on « L’île aux cent moulins »?

A trip to Marie-Galante during your stay in Guadeloupe is one of the archipelago’s must-sees. This little piece of paradise depends on the island of Guadeloupe, located further north, and is therefore a French territory. But a change of scenery is guaranteed on the « Grande galette », Marie-Galante’s nickname for its almost circular shape and distinctive relief! Once almost exclusively devoted to sugar cane plantations, the island boasts an impressive heritage of craftsmanship and history, but is also ideal for enjoying the beauty of its typically tropical landscapes.

In addition to its splendid beaches, stunning mangroves and inviting coves for swimming, there are many different leisure activities on offer, including diving, boating and hiking.

Wondering what to do in Marie-Galante during your stay? Here’s the answer with our 8 must-do’s for visiting Marie-Galante, this unforgettable little piece of paradise!

The Capesterre heights hike

Why we chose it: This is one of the best hikes for those who are willing to walk 2h30 and who appreciate the diversity of Marie-Galante’s landscapes, with the possibility of seeing the island of Dominica on a clear day!

Further afield: for lovers of the great outdoors, and for hiking enthusiasts looking for something to do on Marie-Galante, this is the most economical activity and certainly one of the most interesting. There are 9 sublime signposted itineraries for you to indulge in the joys of hiking.

This is one of the most popular activities on the island, and an illustrated brochure describing each of the trails is available from the moment you arrive at the various visitor arrival areas – airfield or pier. We recommend that you bring plenty of water and set off in the morning to take advantage of the ideal temperature!

Diving the « Petit Cable » spot

Snorkeling

Photo credit: Unsplash – Fezbot2000

Why we chose it: The main diving spot is around Saint-Louis on Marie-Galante. There are more than 10 diving spots close to the town. The « Petit Cable » site allows people with a little diving experience to discover the coral beds of Marie-Galante, with the possibility of seeing many species in addition to corals and sponges, such as barracudas, kingfish, pagres, trevallies, turtles, etc.

Further afield: There are numerous diving sites around Marie-Galante. Around Saint-Louis, you’ll find sites like « trois ilets », « tâche à cat », « vieux fort », « zelingues », etc.

Each dive site offers alternatives by level, with depths ranging from 3 to 35 meters. Plenty of diving for beginners and advanced divers alike.

Snorkeling is a great way to get to know the fabulous fauna that populates the island’s coastline. You’ll discover multicolored fish, rays and sometimes sea turtles, while the more motivated can take various diving certificates at local clubs and acquire recognized scuba diving skills.

See a pulling ox competition

Why we chose it: Spectacular bullock pulling competitions are held all over the island: tracks are set up for this purpose (Morne Lolo, Canada, Vanniers, Bambara, Saint-Michel, etc.) and take place every Sunday. These competitions are an opportunity to showcase the work carried out with the animals throughout the year, and to demonstrate one’s qualities as a breeder. A great opportunity to immerse yourself in Creole culture.

Further afield: from January to July, numerous cultural activities are organized every weekend. In addition to the oxen pulling, don’t miss the cockfights. It’s a cultural attraction that’s sure to enthrall young and old alike, and the perfect opportunity to sample a cod acra and, why not, but always in moderation, local rum cocktails such as « ti-punch », an internationally recognized local specialty!

Mosquito beach

Marie galante

Photo credit: Wikipedia – Smiley

Why we chose it: surely one of the most beautiful beaches in Guadeloupe. A fairly uncrowded beach, with shade and a thin strip of sand that gives it an intimate feel.

And what else can you do on Marie-Galante if you don’t like to do anything? Relax and bask in the sun on the fine sandy beaches fringed by turquoise waters that encircle the island! Don’t miss out:

  • Capesterre beach
  • The lovely coconut trees ofAnse de Mays
  • The beach in Grand-Bourg

The water on these beaches is perfectly pure and free from waste, and the island’s beaches are perfectly maintained. And for those who prefer authenticity, there are a number of small coves dotting the coastline, offering a moment of pure tranquillity.

Bellevue distillery

Why we chose it: When visiting Marie-Galante – and the French West Indies in general – there’s one cultural must: a visit to a distillery. In Marie-Galante, we’d especially like to visit the astonishing Bellevue distillery: inaugurated in 2003, it boasts pure architecture and an astonishing feature: it is the first completely non-polluting distillery in the West Indies.

The distillery boasts a state-of-the-art production unit, which can be visited to learn how this traditional spirit is made. Despite its modern appearance, this distillery was one of the first on the island (1769).

Château Murat

Visiter le Château Murat, Marie-Galante

Photo credit: Shutterstock – avilledorsa

Why we chose it: Marie-Galante’s sugar history is a must-see, and to immerse yourself in the island’s culture, a visit to Château Murat is the best way to understand this cultural aspect.

To go further: Château Murat is first and foremost a former 18th-century sugar mill: in fact, it was the most beautiful on the island, demonstrating the use of the three energy sources typical of traditional distilleries: animal, wind and thermal power. The architecture of the mill is an architectural work of art, built of ashlar and crowned with stone toroids.

The huge building, like the amazing beast mill adjacent to it, is now abandoned, but these sumptuous ruins are an ideal place to discover when you’re looking for something to do on Marie-Galante. They can be visited whatever the season, and are a major tourist attraction for young and old alike!

Gueule Grand Gouffre

Un des plus beaux gouffres du Monde en Guadeloupe

Photo credit: Flickr – Remi

Why we chose it: A veritable open-air abyss and a must-visit spot on Marie-Galante if you like taking beautiful photos, the site belongs to the commune of Saint-Louis and is a must-do if you’re visiting Marie-Galante. La Gueule Grand Gouffre offers majestic views of the Grande-Terre and Désirade coasts, weather permitting.

You’ll also have a breathtaking view of a dark hole and the ocean waves crashing against the rock. Take your cameras with you!

How do I get to Marie-Galante?

If you want to visit Marie-Galante, it’s almost essential to go via Pointe-à-Pitre airport in Guadeloupe. There are flights from France to Pointe-à-Pitre every day. Non-stop, the journey takes between 8.30 and 9.00 hours. Stopovers are usually in Miami or Martinique airport! By the way, you’ll find all our flights at the best prices on our partner Ulysse.

Once there, you can take a boat from the Bergevin ferry terminal on the line to Grand-Bourg (Marie-Galante’s main port). We obviously recommend this option, as the fifty-minute crossing will give you the chance to enjoy a relaxing stroll.

You can also take to the skies, using a small twin-engine plane from Pointe-à-Pitre airport to the Basses aerodrome. Once on the island, a number of car rental companies, located at the Grand-Bourg pier or at the Basses aerodrome, will provide you with a vehicle so you can drive freely along the paved roads that wind their way around this magnificent little island. And not just cars: scooters and bicycles are also available for the more adventurous!

Where to stay in Marie-Galante?

The good thing about visiting Marie-Galante is that you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation: you can choose according to your desires and your budget. What’s more, this French territory allows you to… speak French, which is a considerable advantage for some!

The island has a large number of hotels, scattered all along the coastline, particularly on the south coast. The three main towns, Grand-Bourg, Saint-Louis and Capesterre, are obviously where you’ll find the most establishments, which you can compare by consulting the offers on this hotel comparator. But that’s not all: you can also immerse yourself in Caribbean culture by renting a room in a villa… or even the whole villa, by the week, as many properties are available at any time of year! For more information, read our article « Where to stay in Marie-Galante « !

Now you know how to get the most out of your visit to Marie-Galante, and how to make the most of your stay here. But will you be able to decide what to do in Marie-Galante and… would you prefer to visit during the dry or wet season?

Map of hotels and accommodation – Guadeloupe