A Caribbean paradise with a lot to offer

Olivier-Bernard Michel from Guadeloupe’s Tourist Office tells Richard Humphreys about what the archipelago has to offer cruise passengers

A Caribbean paradise with a lot to offer
Cruise passengers can enjoy beaches, hiking and rum in Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe is an archipelago of more than 12 islands situated in the southern Caribbean, near to Antigua and Barbuda. The archipelago’s five main islands can accommodate all kinds of ships, offering visitors the chance to enjoy stunning beaches, spectacular waterfalls, and the opportunity to hike mountains and a volcano.

The beauty of the islands is the unique selling point for the tourist board. “Guadeloupe’s waterfalls and the amazing fauna and flora will captivate cruise guests,” says Olivier-Bernard Michel, director of development at Guadeloupe’s Tourist Office, who is also head of market development, welcoming, cruise and nautical activities.

Hikers will also find that they are very much catered for. “The volcano, La Grande Soufrière, is 120,000 years old and reaches an altitude of 1,467 metres,” says Michel. “A footpath allows the most adventurous and nature-loving visitors to ascend the volcano. They can easily explore the three waterfalls that tumble down the side of the Soufrière.”

For those who prefer to relax, there are plenty of beach options. “The soothing and magnificent white or black sand beaches will dazzle visitors,” says Michel. “They will also be able to visit the mangrove, which is a natural reserve protected and supervised by the National Park of Guadeloupe.”

In addition, cruise travellers can visit the island of Marie-Galante, which is distinctive in the Caribbean because it has about 100 mills as well as three rum distilleries. Michel says: “Visiting the rum distilleries will enable cruise guests to discover the sugar cane culture and the history of the mythical ‘rum road’. Meanwhile, the rhythm of dance and traditional music of the island, the gwoka, will take them on a journey through time. Music and food play an important role in life on the islands.”

According to Michel, Guadeloupe has much more to offer for cruise visitors, such as the island of Les Saintes with its picturesque houses and boats and La Désirade, where there are many semi-precious stones to be discovered including radiolites, chalcedonies and prehnites.

This article was first published in the 2020 issue of Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

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Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys
29 January 2021