When a friend of mine called from the Caribbean, where he was visiting family, the last thing I expected was an invite to join. He had found a cheap flight (not common!) and wanted some company to explore the island with. At first I said no. I mean how can you just drop everything and hop on a plane to a tropical island? But the more I thought about it, the simpler the decision was becoming.
His family lives on the French island of Guadeloupe. It’s a beautiful, butterfly shaped island in the Caribbean. I have been to this place a couple times before and the opportunity to return again at such a deal seemed silly to pass up. I reminded myself how short life is and that I would probably come to regret not jumping on the plane.
Now getting cheap deals does come at a price. Just not financially. My trip there would take a few stops along the way. I had a stop in Phoenix and a long layover in Boston, where I managed to get a few winks in. Then I flew down the east coast of the United States and watched the sun rise, with nothing but sea meeting sky. It was pretty beautiful.
In Guadeloupe it is common for people to stay in apartment rentals as opposed to hotels. They are called Gites. For the first couple days of my stay we stayed in the gite Couleur Soleil. It’s in a beautiful house right next to a river. It tends to stay slightly cooler, which makes for easier sleeping, and the bugs don’t seem to be as bad there either. Which is a huge plus!
Top priority was hitting the beach. So after stripping off the layers of winter clothes, I threw on a swim suit and some flip flops, and we headed out. We brought Curtis’ parents dog along, and because dogs at the beach are frowned upon, we chose a beach, plage thomas, that is a bit of a walk to get to and generally pretty quiet.
There were some people there but no one really seemed to mind the dog and we were able to swim, and explore some of the abandoned buildings.
We stuck around for the sunset, relaxed and got goofy.
The snorkeling in Guadeloupe is amazing! So we packed up the gear (left the dog at home) and headed to plage malendure. There is a lot of sea grass in this area so the likelihood of seeing turtles is pretty good. And boy we were not disappointed! Within minutes we spotted a big turtle with three suckers hanging out on its back.
We also spent some time following around another turtle. I’m pretty sure this was the prettiest turtle I have ever seen. The teal blues and rich browns were beautiful! The photos just don’t do it justice.
We spent a day heading over to the east side of the island. It’s a peninsula that extends out into the Atlantic called La Pointe des Chateaux. There is a hike up to a clifftop where a large cross stands. The view is breath taking and the big waves crashing below your feet are impressive to say the least.
We had a good lunch at a beach restaurant and sipped on punch coco’s (which are amazing!!) The menu sign was really funky and helped with ordering.
On the way back we stopped at a cemetery in Sainte-Anne. I always enjoy tomb style cemeteries. I suppose it’s because we don’t deal with our dead that way here at home and I love the art, tradition and ceremony involved with tombs. We explored around and took some photos and got out just as a funeral procession was coming down the road. We sat back and watched and listened to the mourning. As tragic as it was I still found it beautiful.
Another spot I wanted to check out was Sainte Rose. It’s on the north west side of Guadeloupe. The pelicans hang out where all the fishermen come in and I love those birds! Their old eyes and the way they waddle around, and watching them fly and dive for fish. They make for good subjects to photograph so we drove over around lunch time to see the birds.
On the way back we stopped where we felt like, wandered and explored, found critters and just had fun. Ah holidays.
On a previous visit, we hiked to the top of an active volcano, La Soufriere, and it was completely socked in. You could hardly see your hand in front of your face, let alone smoke from the volcano or a view of the island. So this visit we gave it another try. And luck was with us!
The hike begins with a nice rocky path, some stairs and pops you out into an open area where you can get a glimpse of the volcano you’re about to climb. Then it gets a little harder. It’s a rocky ascent, sometimes quite steep, that takes a little over an hour to do. It’s well worth the work and you get to look forward to the climb down. The photos can speak for themselves.
To beat the heat we would go and hang out in the river next to Couleur Soleil, letting the fish nibble our toes.
We had family time, ate good food, drank good rum, explored the island and played in the water.
Saying goodbye is hard. I feel so at home in this place. Andre and Steffani at Couleur Soleil and Gerard and Joan at Les Balisiers make the visit one of a kind. I’ve left in the past feeling like a permanent goodbye was being exchanged but somehow I make it back. Now I feel like it’s not “Goodbye Guadeloupe”.
So it’s back to a wintry Canada until I find myself sitting on a plane destined for this tropical paradise again. Until next time Guadeloupe! Thank you for having me!