Oh Guadeloupe, my sweet birth island!
Daring an "Unusual" Destination
Come on Folks, it's only fair that my blog's first post makes reference to my First Long-Term Solo Adventure: leaving Guadeloupe, my native island, to start a new chapter of my life in a foreign country, Trinidad & Tobago.
I believe most people thought I would come home running Back to my mummy, lol. It's a fact that, back then, most people my age who would leave their nest, would land either in Continental France or in another French Overseas Region or Collectivity (Martinique, Saint Martin, French Guyana, St Barts). Our job market is indeed tiny (450,000 inhabitants only)! But Hey, To each his/her own!
Being fluent in 4 languages, it didn't seem appealing to me at the time to go the "usual/normal" route. I obviously didn't care (and still don't) to be different and doing my own thing, so off i went! I thank my oldest brother who set a good precedent, for being the first to leave the nest to other "unusual" destinations, lol!
Anyway, I had previously been to Trinidad (3 times) for short durations each time (twice for internships). I thought opportunities on its job market would make more sense to me. So when I was through with my education, I flew across and got the kind of job I was hoping for! Awesome!
Things have changed since...in a good way. In recent years, Trinidad has become a popular destination for my fellow French students, seeking unpaid Internships within the framework of their studies.
Welcome To Guadeloupe!
Over the years, I have visited Guadeloupe, on numerous occasions, but I must say that, venturing into new (for me anyway) outdoors activities during my most recent trips and exploring various tourist sites, has made me appreciate my native island and life on a deeper level.
A few months ago, I was pleased to see that Guadeloupe has ranked #2, on the list of The 2017 Best Vacation in the Caribbean, according to the US News & World Report. Hurrah!
Awesome sights & Yummy delights!
I really hope you get to visit Guadeloupe, which is a vibrant land, full of colorful wonders:
- the Food: think of a fusion of Creole, French, European cuisines! Don't get me started on this subject! Bon Appétit!
- the Culture: Zouk music, Gwo-Ka (African drums), Traditional dances & Carnival parades, in addition to many festivals year round.
- its Natural wonders: Volcano, Rivers, Lush Forest, Thermal pools, Waterfalls, Botanical gardens, protected parks and of course Beaches (white, pink or black sand to choose from) and beautiful reefs.
- its Museums: while several museums are dedicated to the island's history, others are about coffee, cocoa, rum, slavery and so many other things. You can Test your French skills here, if you wish, lol!
If you're looking for large chains of resort hotels, you won't find it here. Instead, you will find a large choice of smaller, but more authentic and colorful hotels, villas and guest houses. A lot of them are beach front properties, but those which are inland have their own charm too, especially the eco-friendly ones.
So many activities!
Outdoors activities are plentiful: surfing, kayaking, scuba diving, sailing, fishing, zip-lining, paragliding, golfing, horse riding, paddle boarding (SUP), hiking (through forests or to the volcano, "La Soufrière").
The festival which I believe brings the largest crowd of tourists in Guadeloupe at once is called "La Route Du Rhum". It's a Transatlantic boat race which starts in continental France and arrives in Guadeloupe. Skippers from Guadeloupe, mainland France and European countries partake in this one of a kind sailing event. Many cultural events take place around that time. This race takes place every 4 years, and in 2018, the exciting race will gather its crowds all over again!
Guadeloupe: A "4 for 1" Special!
Of course, I should absolutely mention that Guadeloupe is an archipelago, which means you get to experience different facets of this gem by exploring more than just the mainland. The islands which are part of the archipelago are more quiet and have a slower pace than on the mainland. They are as following:
- Les Saintes: UNESCO has named its Bay, One of the Best in the World! Its Bay is indeed a member of The Club of the Most Beautiful Bays of the World. Tens of thousands of boats/yachts, hundreds of cruise ships and thousands other types of visitors stop by each year. Click here to read my tips for Les Saintes.
- Marie Galante: called The Island of the Hundred Windmills, it's gaining popularity in recent years thanks to an annual Music Festival, Terre de Blues.
- La Desirade: the least known of the lot, which would be ideal if you wish to be a bit isolated and able to relax away from the tourist crowds.
These smaller islands are easily accessible from mainland Guadeloupe by Ferry, though you also have the option to fly to Marie Galante.
Sounds like Guadeloupe is a good deal, huh. It's like a "4 for 1 Special", lol! And no, I am not talking "Happy Hour" kind of Special, though alcohol is never in short supply on any of those islands! We're French after all!!
When I was growing up though, the islands of Saint Barthelemy (St Barts, in English) and Saint Martin (French side) were also part of the Guadeloupean Archipelago, but in recent years they have obtained a different status (Territorial Collectivity, which gives them a bit more autonomy). There are ferries heading to these islands from mainland Guadeloupe. However, there are many domestic, regional and international flights available as well to get there. Many Hollywood celebrities go to St Barts on holidays.
So Folks, i could go on some more about my sweet Guadeloupe 🙂 Instead, i choose to let you explore all these links. Hopefully, this post has broadened your knowledge on this archipelago and inspired you to consider this gem for your next holiday!
That being said, I do believe that each Caribbean Island has its own charm and is worth exploring. There is a wide Misconception that all Caribbean islands are the same. I truly hope people don't take my word (or others') for it and fly across to see for themselves!
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Bon Voyage & Bon Appétit!