Basse Terre vs Grande Terre: Where You Should Stay in Guadeloupe
Thanks to Norwegian, I was lucky enough to grab a flight deal for $300 round trip to Guadeloupe (and my friend who came along even luckier to grab the same flight for $248, major sideeye) . Having heard the name of the country but not knowing much about it, I booked (on a whim) and then checked Wikipedia for information on the little french island (or should I say islands, the country is made of two islands crossed with bridges.)
Weeks before my trip I sat down to book accommodations and it wasn't as easy as planned because:
1. Most of the reviews were in french.
2. It's not a popular tourist island for English speakers, so there aren't as many resorts/ hotels.
3. Lastly, I had no clue which side of the island to stay on, Basse Terre or Grande Terre.
This is why I decided to do a post on this. To save someone else from my headache!
Before choosing a location the best thing to do is decide what type of vacation experience you would like to have. As an avid traveler, I wanted to see and do it all, from nature tours to nightlife to finding the perfect beach within the 7 days of my visit. With this information, I then decided to go on Homeaway and check for amenities and activities I would be interested in and choose a location based on it's proximity to them. For Guadeloupe, I recommend booking a Homeaway or Airbnb since hotels/resorts are limited and tend to be costly.
(I also love trip advisor's list of best things to do in Guadeloupe. It made me figure out what was worth seeing based on my likes and what may be a great tourist location but not necessarily my cup of tea.)
After searching on Homeaway I learned a bit about the area Le Moule and surf town in Grande Terre. Le Moule is a town of locals; and surfers from around the world come there to catch the biggest waves. (I don't surf but it was a beauty to watch.) Le Moule neighbors a few other towns, St.Francois, St.Anne and Le Goiser which are all great for vacationing too!
St. Francois- Home of Pointe Des Chateaux (#1 site to see in Guadeloupe) and La Plage de Clair Raisins.
St.Anne- Home of the St. Anne Marketplace and La Plage De Caravelle (by far my favorite beach).
Le Gosier- Great for dining and Nightlife, Popular bar: Le Zoo Rock Cafe
As much as I loved staying on this part of the country there are tons of adventures on Basse Terre, the neighboring island of Guadeloupe. Basse Terre is also extremely different from Grande Terre geographically. Most of the west Coast is rocky and many of the drives snake along the tops of towering sea cliffs.
Here are some notable mentions of the Basse Terre:
Trois Rivieres (Three Rivers) - Home to a beautiful black sand beach Grande Anse beach, also the drive to get to the beach along the coast is beautiful. From this view you can see far out into the ocean and even neighboring islands!
Deshaies- In the northern region, this is the perfect place to stay if you are looking to get away from it all or be one with nature! Also, its not as long as a drive to the National Park compared to Le Moule! Deshaies is home to Jardin Botanique de Deshaies the must see botanic garden, not only is it filled with pretty plants and flowers but it is also full of exotic birds and animals.
Guadeloupe is a country with so much to do its hard to really choose between both sides of the island. My one regret is not being able to see more of the Basse Terre. Upon arriving in Guadeloupe my Homeaway host mentioned it is very common for visitors to stay on both islands, spending half of their time in the Basse Terre and the other half in the Grande Terre! That is my recommendation! I would also recommend going for more than a week but of course not too long, next thing you know you are calling it home!
Things You Should Know Before You Go:
- Guadeloupe is a french island and uses the EURO as their currency.
- Driving is mandatory and you must get a rental car. I advise booking one beforehand since it can be difficult to get one once you arrive. (Oh, and the cars do not have GPS, so that's a dub. Luckily, its pretty easy to get around when you are driving.)
- Do not drive at night, the roads are barely lit and not recommended for novice drivers!
- Dinner is served at 7pm and many restaurants do not serve food before then. Food is served until 2pm and then not served again until 7pm! ( I love to eat but my friend Farah almost died when she found out at 5pm no one was serving food until 7pm! Lol)
- Singing frogs come out at night and sing all night! Be prepared for a lullaby before bed! (I have a funny story involving a frog during this trip but I'll save it for another time. )
- I highly recommend going to Plage De La Caravelle, its the most westernized beach and its on the club Med resort, there is a little bar where you can get food and drink and there are tons of good eats from locals on the beach as well!
- It was extremely hard purchasing a hotspot or internet service here (outside the accommodation) and if you need WiFi I suggest you purchase it at the airport or speak with your phone service provider before leaving the country.
If you have any questions/thoughts please feel free to ask and I would love to tell you more about the trip!