Road Tripping Through the Scenic Islands of Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe is a bit off the radar—and that's a good thing

Guadeloupe—located in in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles—is known by the French as the “Pearl of the French Caribbean.” But for most Americans, Guadeloupe isn’t quite on the radar yet … and that’s a good thing. That means Guadeloupe’s white-sand beaches are less-crowded by its Caribbean counterparts and that the French overseas region isn’t diluted with American business chains (take a hike, Starbucks).  

 Guadeloupe has a selection of quiet white-sand beaches. Image courtesy of Guadeloupe Islands Tourist Board

Guadeloupe has a selection of quiet white-sand beaches. Image courtesy of Guadeloupe Islands Tourist Board

During a weeklong road trip through this Caribbean nation, my friends and I got a taste of what life might be like on Guadeloupe. We hiked La Soufrière Volcano and rewarded ourselves with a dip in its geothermal pool. We drank rum for breakfast at the Domaine de Bellevue distillery and visited penitentiary-turned-museum Fort Napoleon. While there, we also had an incredible vantage point of Les Saintes Bay—designated by UNESCO as one of 10 most beautiful bays in the world.

 The view of Les Saintes Bay. Image courtesy of Guadeloupe Islands Tourist Board

The view of Les Saintes Bay. Image courtesy of Guadeloupe Islands Tourist Board

Locals were friendly and showed us how to bring our meals of fresh fish and conch to the next level with a dash of “dog sauce.” Just about every restaurant has its own version of the garlicky goodness (just ask your server to bring some out). It’s typically made with diced peppers, onions, garlic, herbs, white vinegar and olive oil. 

“In hotels and tourist shops, we call dog sauce ‘Creole sauce’ so as not to scare tourists who might thing the sauce is either made for dogs or made of dogs,” said Sandra Venite, the USA director of the Guadeloupe Islands Tourist Board. “We call it dog sauce for a reason though. When dogs like something, they drool. This sauce is so good that it makes you drool like a dog.” 

When I wasn’t drowning my food in dog sauce, I was stuffing my face with street food, including greasy bokits. How can you go wrong with a sandwich of fried bread, melted cheese, a fried egg and grilled peppers?

The islands of Guadeloupe are also home to lush rainforests, ample scuba diving sites and one of the oldest coffee plantations in the Americas, the Plantation La Grivelière.

In this his video, see highlights from our road trip through the islands and get a sense of Guadeloupe’s je ne sais quoi—that intangible quality that grabs you and never quite lets go.

 Thanks for checking out my blog! Follow me on Snapchat (JoanJetsetter) for more travel tips and a special kind of randomness.

Thanks for checking out my blog! Follow me on Snapchat (JoanJetsetter) for more travel tips and a special kind of randomness.

My trip to the islands of Guadeloupe was made possible by Atout France. Views expressed are my own.