Guadeloupe ranks #2 in Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean
There’s no doubt Guadeloupe possesses a certain je ne sais quoi—a spark that separates its sun-washed coasts from other Caribbean getaways. Sparkling white- and black-sand beaches extend into calm, cerulean waters, and verdant forests border the imposing La Soufrière volcano. And just a few miles south, quaint villages welcome visitors to centuries-old distilleries and remote sugar plantations. Put simply, Guadeloupe features an unspoiled natural setting with rustic charms. But that’s not all this picturesque cluster of islands has to offer. Where else can you savor the sweet aroma of sugar and rum wafting through the air, taste tantalizing French-Creole flavors, and lay your towel down along untouched stretches of sandy bliss?
But before you soak up Guadeloupe’s sun and splendor, you’ll need to get oriented. Guadeloupe’s “mainland” constitutes two distinct islands: Basse-Terre (which is also the name of the region’s capital city) and Grande-Terre (the islands’ luxurious resort haven), which together form the shape of a butterfly. Basse-Terre comprises the western wing; Grande-Terre makes up the eastern wing. Marie-Galante, La Désirade, and Les Saintes form a cluster of outer islands surrounding Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre. Each isle is secluded, enchanting, and worthy of a day trip. But if you’re only visiting for a few days, don’t miss your chance to indulge in a zesty lambi (conch) dish or sail around the islands’ arresting archipelago.
The U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on analysis of expert and user opinions. Read more about how we rank vacation destinations.