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Calling All Foodies, Nature Lovers, Athletes, and Music Lovers: Guadeloupe Is for Everyone

by Team Fathom
Guadeloupe Pain de Sucre. All photos courtesy of The Guadeloupe Islands Tourist Board.

Presented in partnership with The Guadeloupe Islands Tourist Board.

You’ve already been convinced about why The Guadeloupe Islands are your favorite new Caribbean destination. And you’re ready to be the first of your friends to go explore the islands — especially now that JetBlue is launching seasonal direct flights from New York’s JFK airport to Pointe-à-Pitre. (American Airlines already flies weekly year-round from Miami.)

And you’ve read about the top five things to do in Guadeloupe. Now you’re ready to go a little deeper and find the trip that’s perfect for the way you like to travel. Whether it’s for the food, wellness and nature, adrenaline, or music, you’ve come to the right place.

Guadeloupe for the Foodie

The islands’ deep ties to France means their already-rich Creole cuisine is enhanced by the best French culinary techniques, resulting in a taste that’s uniquely Guadeloupean.

The first bite of the day will most likely be fresh, oven-crisp baguettes and flaky-as-can-be croissants — the kind you thought you had to cross the Atlantic to savor. Even the coffee is local if your beans come from La Griveliere plantation.

Soup’s on for lunch — literally — in Pointe-à-Pitre at An Chodye’ La (if you want to feel like a local, call it as “Kaz a Soup” — the Soup House), where Jean-Claude Magnat turned his grandmother’s home into a restaurant that exclusively serves soup — freshly made, every day — and quiches from his grandmother’s recipes.

When you’re craving something casual and easy, stop at a food truck (you’ll find them all over) to try bokit, the national sandwich made with fried dough and stuffed with fish, seafood, meat, and vegetables. Everyone serves it with their own twist. When you’re on the beach, quench the mid-afternoon cravings with snacks like coconut sorbet, shaved ice, and chichi, Guadeloupe’s answer to churros.

For excellent local cuisine, head to the far tip of Grande Terre and grab an outdoor table at La Rhumerie du Pirate, a cozy local joint that specializes in local cuisines — from the land and the sea. (In keeping with the pirate theme, kids can order the Peter Pan menu.)

Save room for dessert back in town at Désirs du Palais, where chef Fabienne Youtoutte, winner of the 2019 France Artisan of the Year award, whips up insane ice creams and other confections.

Speaking of sweets, when you’re in Les Saintes, don’t miss tourment d’amour, the local speciality tart made with coconut, banana, or guava that allegedly is what sailors' wives made while waiting for their husbands to return from the sea.

For a more interactive culinary experience, go to Gwakako to make your own chocolate bar, take a cooking class with chef Rudy at Au Widdy’s restaurant in Saint Francois, and schedule a tasting at Distillery Bologne to see what makes Guadeloupe’s rums such award-winners.

If the food is the sole purpose of visit, come down in August for Fête des Cuisinières, the Festival of Female Chefs that sees the islands’ chefs parading in traditional Creole dress, balancing bread baskets on their head, receiving blessings and making offerings at the church. This is no mere nod to a culinary trend: Guadelouepeans have been celebrating this festival for a century.

Guadeloupe for the Nature Lover

When wellness is at the top of the agenda, Guadeloupe delivers, through waters and earth filled with minerals and other healing elements.

The hot springs at Basse-Terre come from La Soufrière volcano, and will wash away the tension in your poor shoulders and neck. The ones to soak in are Source de Thomas in Bouillante, Bains Jaunes in Saint-Claude, and the Dolé hot springs in Gourbeyre. For even more oomph, try the Sofaïa sulphur baths in Sainte-Rose.

The mud baths at Babin beach in Vieux-Bourg on Grande Terre are said to relieve numerous joint, arthritic, and skin ailments — in addition to leaving you with especially soft skin. Bring everyone, as it’s family-friendly here.

For the full spa experience, check into Habitation Tendacayou, a rainforest retreat overlooking the sea. You’ll find Turkish baths prepare for scrubs, wraps made of fresh fruits, in addition to a full menu of treatments for face and body.

Guadeloupe for the Adventurer

Are you ready to tap into the ultimate adrenaline rush? Guadeloupe will take you to extremes — from high in the skies above, along the volcano, down into the canyons, and deep into the sea.

The rivers and waterfalls in the tropical rainforest provide a hotbed of activities: jumping, swimming, rappelling, sliding, and canyoneering. (No need to do it all in one day.) La Pointe des Chateaux is a great destination when you’re hiking the volcano, one of many unforgettable trails.

More aquatic adventures await in the surrounding Atlantic and Caribbean waters. Surf at Capesterre or other breaks on the east coast of Grande-Terre. You can also snorkel and scuba dive — especially at Jacques Cousteau Reserve, a protected underwater natural reserve where divers encounter a sunken statue of Cousteau himself — or go sailing and sea kayaking. If fishing is your sport, May is the month to come for the Mercury Fishing Festival at Marina of Bas-du-Fort in Gosier, Grande Terre.

Aerial thrills await on the zipline at Le Tapeur, and even more so on an Ultra Light: You take off from Saint François private airport and soar high above the archipelago. This is an ideal way to scout the postcard-perfect beaches you’ll hit tomorrow.

Guadeloupe for the Music Lover

There a reason The Guadeloupe Islands are known as the New Orleans of the Caribbean: The locals love a joyful tune. But while the signature NOLA sound are the horns, the beat of Guadeloupe is defined by the Ka drum.

The musical traditions here began with Gwo-Ka, the responsive singing and drumming style that is ranked on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Zouk was born in the late 1970s with the group Kassav’, with contributions and influences from Dominican, Haitian, and French musicians, resulting in a new Latin dance craze. Akoustik Kreyol is a mesmerizing, genre-bending mix of guitar, violin, Ka drums, clarinet, and piano.

Of course, the best way to understand the music is to hear it, feel it, and dance to the beat. Join a Gwo-`Ka crowd in the streets in Pointe-à-Pitre, and impress yourself by taking a Gwo-Ka dance and music class at Akademiduka.

Catch a live performance at La Creole Jazz Club at La Creole Beach Hotel and Spa or New Ti Paris music bar. Or make music the focus of your vacation when you come for the Terre De Blues Festival in Marie-Galante, the All Day In Festival, or — the ultimate — Carnival, when everyone is welcome to join the carnival bands making their merry sound.

Ready to Go? Start by Winning a Trip to The Guadeloupe Islands

To celebrate the new JetBlue direct flights from New York's JFK, Guadeloupe Islands are giving away a trip, with two round-trip tickets to Pointe-à-Pitre and seven nights at ClubMed La Caravelle, a newly-renovated, all-inclusive, four-star, beachfront resort.

Enter now!

Presented in partnership with The Guadeloupe Islands Tourist Board.

We make every effort to ensure the information in our articles is accurate at the time of publication. But the world moves fast, and even we double-check important details before hitting the road.