24 Hours in Les Saintes
A heavenly day in Les Saintes—Guadeloupe's picture-perfect archipelago
Guadeloupe is made of five different islands, with five distinct flavors. And you’re going to want to visit each of the islands, so budget your time wisely. Arguably the most scenic of them all is Les Saintes. Although you should try to stay longer, if you only have a day, here’s how you should spend your time.
1. Eat a Tourment d'Amour for Breakfast
Start off your day with a pastry called Tourment d'Amour. Translated to the “Agony of Love,” the traditional pastry is filled with coconut, banana or guava. According to local legend, the pastry got its name from the wives of sailors who baked these treats while anxiously awaiting their husbands’ return.
By the ferry docks, look for older women lugging around madras-lined baskets. These lifelong bakers sell packs of four pies for less than $3.
2. Hike to Fort Fort Napoleon
From the dock, take the steep, paved road to the top of Fort Napoleon, which should take you about an hour to complete. While Fort Napoleon was never in battle, it served as a jail and a detention center for political prisoners during WWII. Today, it’s a museum that’s dedicated to the natural environment of Les Saintes and the history of the fort.
3. Take a Selfie in Front of Les Saintes Bay
The reward for hiking to the top of Fort Napoleon is a stunning view of Les Saintes Bay. The harbor is designated by UNESCO as the third most beautiful bay in the world, but from way up here, her beauty is second to none.
4. Lunch at a Beachside Restaurant
If you’re not going to dine on the beach, then why did you come to Guadeloupe in the first place? On Les Saintes, you can take a dip in the ocean between courses. The food tastes better that way.
I dined at Ti Kaz La restaurant in Terre-de-Haut, which offers everything from locally-caught spiny lobster and beef carpaccio covered with parmesan shavings to mango soufflé.
5. Relax at Pain de Sucre
Laze the rest of the day away at Pain de Sucre beach. Named after Rio de Janeiro’s Sugarloaf Beach, this secluded cove is hidden away by vegetation and a favorite among locals. Bring your snorkel to get a better look at coral formations, butterflyfish, damselfish and Atlantic blue tang.
6. Overnight at LoBleu Hotel
The beachfront LoBleu Hotel offers 10 spacious rooms, some with views of the island of Cabrit. Overlooking the bay of Terre de Haut, the boutique property offers complementary breakfast in a picturesque setting. Expect to see fisherman hauling in their daily catches, colorful boats and pelicans diving for food.
My trip to Guadeloupe was made possible by Atout France. Views expressed are my own.