Islands of mountains and mangroves

written 05/07/06

Although normally referred to as one island, Guadeloupe actually is two islands of very different character, divided in the middle by the Salee River. On the chart they look like a butterfly. The naming is a bit confusing: Basse Terre (low land) is the mountaneous one with the mysterious Soufriere Volcano, while Haute Terre (high land) consists mostly of vast plains used for sugar cane plantations. We stayed for 6 weeks, Klaus had to undergo surgery in the local hospital and needed time for recovery. For convenience we spent most of the time in the marina of Pointe a Pitre. We went round the islands via rental car, bus or (Gabriele) by bike. Klaus simply wasn't fit enough for more adventurous hiking. Well, next time...

La Pointe des Chateaux, the easterly cape of Grande Terre, endless beaches made out of dreams.

Pointe a Pitre, capital of the islands, colourful, kept its colonial charme and successfully combined it with all the amenities of our modern times.

Basse Terre with its tropical rain forest, waterfalls everywhere and a huge National Park. Gabriele tried to climb up the Soufriere but finally had to give up in pouring rain and clouds with zero visibility.

Endless discussions about where to go next. Finally we went round Basse Terre along the coast and skipped the Salee River. The 2 bridges connecting the islands open only once a day, at 4 o'clock in the morning... Even the sun is still fast asleep at that time of the day. Not to mention all those hungry moskitoes...
Last anchorage Des Haies, we loved it there. A bit sleepy, very French and the Botanical Garden is a must. Clearing out of the country was a little difficult, hard to find those officers.

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