Stephanie De Courtemanche, USA Director Assistant at the Guadeloupe Islands Tourist Board, reveals all the insider tips about her archipelago…
Atout France: Describe your favorite scenic place in the Guadeloupe Islands
Stephanie De Courtemanche: My favorite scenic place in the Guadeloupe Islands is definitely the top of the gently active Soufriere Volcano. It is the highest mountain peak in the Lesser Antilles and it rises 4,813ft high. In order to access this breathtaking view, you will have to take a 3-hour hike through the National Park. This rainforest is classified as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and it is a true paradise for eco-tourists. Once you reach the top of La Soufriere, you can enjoy a wonderful panorama of the Guadeloupean Archipelago.
To the east is Grande Terre, the most populated island, where you find most of the hotels and restaurants, and where you can taste the French "savoir-faire". Farther east, the forgotten La Desirade seems like it's on the the other side of the world, but a quick ferry ride will take you to this unique band of land where you will find secluded beaches.
To the south east, the island Marie Galante, nicknamed the “pancake”, is a farmland, featuring some of the best rum distilleries in the Caribbean, and famous for the turquoise surrounding waters surrounding it.
And finally, to the south, Les Saintes is the jewel of the archipelago. It features one of the most beautiful bays in the world and the charming village, Terre de Haut, will make you instantly fall in love…
AF: If you only had 24 hours in the Guadeloupe Islands, where would you eat and drink?
SC: For breakfast I strongly recommend getting some locally grown fruits from the St Anne market: banana, mango, coconut, pineapple, papaya, etc. For someone who living in New York as I do, it’s like rediscovering the real taste of nature.
For lunch I would get a famous Bokit, a 100% Guadeloupean delicacy of deep fried, naan-like bread, stuffed with meat, vegetable or fish. You can find the best Bokit in Le Gosier at Le Petit Creux. In the afternoon I would get a Tourment d’Amour, the famous sweet treat from Les Saintes. It is sort of like a small tart, tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside, and is made with coconut, banana or guava filling. History tells us that the Les Saintes sailors’wives made these little treats while anxiously awaiting the return of their husbands gone to sea.
At some point, you have to try our local cocktail, the Ti’Punch! While visiting the Pere Labat rum distillery in Marie Galante would be the perfect time! Finally, for dinner I suggest trying the celebrated Auberge de la Vieille Tour restaurant in Grande Terre. Guadeloupean cuisine is AMAZING, it is a mix between classic French cuisine and Creole flavors, and it also features a lot of fresh local products from the sea.
AF: What is your favorite season in the Guadeloupe Islands and why?
SC: The weather is beautiful and the water is warm all year round! However the Carnival takes place every Sunday from January 6th until March 9th. This spectacular and colorful event is the perfect occasion to discover the Guadeloupean culture!
For more information, please contact:
Stephanie De Courtemanche
Tel : (212) 745 09 75Fax : (212) 838 78 55
Get Certified with the Guadeloupe Islands Specialist Program:http://edu.recommend.com/courses/16/guadeloupe-islands-specialist