Best Beaches in Guadeloupe

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Best Beaches in Guadeloupe

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Guadeloupe is all about the beach. Golden, white, pinkish and black sands running down to the turquoise and emerald waters. There are family-friendly, nudist-friendly, big, secluded, secret – every variety of beach you can imagine. Your hotel will likely be situated right on the beach, but that’s no reason not to explore and pick a new beach to visit each day. The public beaches are generally free, but keep in mind that you can hotel-hop, too. Most hotels welcome nonguests but charge a fee to use the changing rooms, beach chairs and towel service. And remember, topless sunbathing is de rigeur here, particularly at the hotel beaches, and less common at the village beaches.

 

To orient yourself, you’ll want to know that Guadeloupe is comprised of two islands: Basse Terre and Grande Terre. Together, the islands form the shape of a butterfly, with Basse Terre to the west and Grande Terre to the east. Within the Guadeloupe archipelago, you’ll also find Marie-Galante, La Desirade, Les Saintes and the Petite Terre Natural Reserve.

 

The country’s top beaches are bunched between Le Gosier and St-Francois on Grande Terre. Yet, like we mentioned above, branch out and avail yourself of all of the best beaches in Guadeloupe. Here’s our quick guide to the prettiest beaches in Guadeloupe and why we love them.

 

Petit-Havre
This is a fun two-for-one beach option. Drive right up to the sand’s edge and jump out to start enjoying the sand and surf. Too crowded? No problem. There’s a path to the right and if you follow it a short way, you’ll discover a hidden cove where there are almost guaranteed to be no people, or significantly fewer than at the main beach.

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Sainte-Anne
In your mind’s eye, what’s your vision of the perfect Caribbean beach? That’s what you’ll see at the town beach of Sainte-Anne, a blessedly beautiful swatch of sand and crystal-clear water that looks like it jumped off a postcard. Admittedly popular and often packed on weekends, the long, golden beach on Grande Terre’s southern coast is more manageable on weekdays. Stoll beneath the coconut palms and search for seashells, taking refreshing dips in the shallow waters. Being so close to town, the beach is convenient to bars, restaurants, shops and the local market. Don’t miss the famous local ice cream and sorbet by Fabienne Youyoute. There are restrooms with showers available at the beach.

 

Plage de Bois Jolan
As an alternative to the town beach of Sainte-Anne, consider the nearby Plage de Bois Jolan with its warm, clear waters great for families. Grab lunch from one of the many food carts that set up along the beach perimeter. This is a hidden gem for relaxing, hanging a hammock and wiling away the day. Bonus: There’s plenty of parking here.

 

Plage des Raisins Clairs
Looking for ideal swimming conditions? Head to Plage des Raisins Clairs in St-Francois. Set on the outskirts of town, this sandy beach boasts a gradual slope, no dropoff, shallow water and lots of shade. Plus, there are a number of food trucks and small eateries just off the beach – try the island special, the Bokit sandwich, a delightful blend of cod, conch, chicken or pork with lettuce, tomato and hot-pepper sauce, all together in a pillowy, deep-fried roll.

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Pointe des Chateaux
Not a beach for swimming or snorkeling, but certainly Insta-worthy, Pointe des Chateaux is marked by its striking cliffs along the easternmost edge of Grande Terre. Here, the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea intersect, resulting in rough water and winds. You can hike to the top of the cliffs and down to the small beach. On your way there, driving south along N5, you’ll see Le Moule, a former holiday spot for 17th-century sailors and not a popular surfing destination.

 

La Gourde
Off most visitors’ radar, La Gourde is a lovely, protected beach protected from rough ocean currents by a small rock wall. There are perfectly safe areas for the kids, as well as long sandbars where you can spot tropical beach. Several restaurants and a beach bar are just steps away.

 

Port Louis
Want to try your hand at surfing? Head to stunning Port Louis in north Grande Terre. Give it a go all morning, then grab lunch from one of the many food trucks that line up here mid-afternoon.

 

Plage de Babin
Here’s an extraordinary Guadeloupe beach experience for you. Take advantage of the island’s geothermal activity and resulting thermal water pools and healing mud – the ultimate natural spa treatment – at Plage de Babin. Cover your body with mud, soak in its therapeutic nature, then rinse off in the bubbling water pools.

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Grand Anse Beach
Perennially popular and always impressive, Grand Anse Beach consistently ranks as one of the best beaches in Guadeloupe. Depending on the day, you might be jumping big waves or soaking in calm, emerald water at this, the largest beach on the island. The perfectly shaped bay is framed by coconut palms, perfect for a shady nap. Come evening, this beach offers one of the prettiest sunset views on the island. To reach Grand Anse, drive along the N2 north of the village of Deshaies. There’s parking near the entrance. There are no public restrooms or showers, but there are several vendors selling food and drinks. For a quieter option nearby, visit powdery Les Saintes Beach.

 

Plage de Petite Anse
If you’re seeking a picturesque snorkeling spot on Guadeloupe, set your sights on Plage de Petite Anse. Over 300 feet long, the beach is lined on both sides by rocks and shaded by lush tropical foliage. There’s a small cove with calm, turquoise waters just begging you to wade right in with your snorkeling gear and meet the local fish – and sometimes sea turtles! Focus your efforts on the two rocky areas on either side of the beach. Here, the seabed is covered with colorful seaweed and coral and you’ll likely see parrotfish, sergeant major, bluehead wrasse, blue tang and reef squid. The cove’s center has an abundance of seagrass and this is where you may be fortunate enough to see a sea turtle feeding. There is parking behind the beach.

 

Anse de La Perle (Pearl Beach)
This gorgeous, golden-sand beach on Basse Terre is a tropical oasis. It’s rarely crowded, feels wild and natural and is an amazing spot for a snorkel or swim. A couple of local restaurants are nearby, serving fresh fish and French-Creole specialties.

 

Illet Pigeon
Illet Pigeon (Pigeon Islands) off the coast of Basse Terre is also known as the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve and prevails as one of Guadeloupe’s top dive spots. There’s actually a statue of Cousteau resting beneath the surface of the water. Dive shops in Bouillante can take you out for excursions, whether you’re a newbie or expert. Snorkeling is a great start if you want to explore the shallow water and look for coral, sea turtles and tropical fish. Don’t want to get in the water to see all its treasures? Hop in a kayak instead.

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Datcha Beach, Le Gosier
Picture-perfect Datcha Beach has all the makings of a tropical dream-come-true. Sugary white sand, turquoise water, swaying coconut palms – even a red-and-white lighthouse in the distance on Gosier Island. Rent a kayak or windsurfing equipment and head out into the waves. Later, pick up a refreshing sorbet coco or snowball from one of the many beach vendors. A boat shuttle is available to take you to Gosier Island if you get the urge to explore.

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Plage Malendure
This striking black-sand beach on Basse Terre is a favorite of avid scuba divers. It’s typically the start of an excusive to the Cousteau Reserve and Pigeon Islands. Grab a fresh coconut or tropical juice to start your day off right. If you’re not headed out diving, stick around for snorkeling and kayaking right from Malendure Beach. Be advised that the wind can really pick up and the waves can get mighty, so swimming is not always the best option.

 

Les Saintes
This archipelago of islands off Guadeloupe’s southern coast is mainly uninhabited, providing a delicious deserted island vibe. Another island grouping named by Christopher Columbus, Los Santos (which was translated to Les Saintes in French) is marked by its largest island, Terre-de-Haut. You’ll find shops, restaurants and sunny beaches there, as well as the nudist-friendly Anse Crawen. It’s definitely worth a daytrip – hop on a ferry from Grande Terre or Basse Terre.

 

Petite Anse du Pain de Sucre
Hoping for a secret beach experience? Shhh, the place to go is Petite Anse du Pain de Sucre (Sugarloaf Beach) on the island of Terre-de-Haut. There’s a very steep path down to the water, which keeps the crowds away, but if you brave it, you’ll be greeted with a fine-sand beach and emerald waters. It’s considered the most romantic beach in Les Saintes.

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Plage Caravelle
Tucked away on the southern edge of Grande Terre, southwest of Sainte-Anne, Plage Caravelle offers a long, sunny, white-sand beach that’s fun for kids and snorkelers, thanks to its calm, reef-protected waters. Bonus: The nearby Club Med La Caravelle offers day passes to nonguests so you can use the resort’s watersports equipment and eat at the restaurant.

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Anse du Souffleur Beach
Swim, snorkel and sunbathe, then grab a coconut sorbet or a tasty Bokit sandwich from one of the food trucks set up near Anse du Souffleur Beach in Port-Louis on Grande Terre. With its white sand and clear, calm, shallow water, framed by sea grape trees and coconut palm trees, this is a family beach day in the making! Take the time to explore Port-Louis while you’re here, famous for its traditional, colorful wooden houses and the 19th-century Our Lady of Good Aid with its notable Carrara marble altar. Grab lunch or dinner from the food trucks selling Creole food and refreshing beverages.

 

Caret Islet
Venture out for a day trip from Pointe-a-Pitre to this white-sand islet in Le Grand-Cul de Sac Marin Natural Reserve. You’ll pass through a mangrove swamp, then spot the little island in the distance. You’re likely to have it all to yourself!

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La Desirade
Fun fact: “The Forgotten” or La Desirade is the oldest island in the Lesser Antilles. Christopher Columbus and his crew were so enamored of its unspoilt beauty – discovered after days without fresh drinking water – that they named it after the French word for “desire.” Head this way for superb white-sand beaches like Souffleur Beach and Fifi Beach that attract snorkelers and swimmers. The tiny village of Grande Montage is worth exploring. The pristine Petite Terre Islands are nearby. Both La Desirade and the Petite Terre Islands are listed as Natural Reserves. To reach La Desirade, take one of the daily ferries from Saint-Francois.

 

Marie-Galante Island
Known lovingly as the Big Pancakes by those who live there, the round, flat island of Marie Galante is revered for its beautiful beaches. Check out the powdery soft band and turquoise waters of Feuillere Beach and Anse Canot. Off the beach, try to make time for visiting Chateau Murat, the biggest sugar plantation in Guadeloupe back in the mid-19th century. Check out the restored colonial mansion, windmill tower and medicinal garden.

How Do I Visit All of Guadeloupe’s Beaches?

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So, we told you at the beginning that you’ll want to visit as many of Guadeloupe’s beautiful beaches as possible. It’s easy to hop from one island to the next in the archipelago and its five islands. And nothing says “dream tropical vacation” more than spending the day bopping between one beautiful isle to the next.

 

The five main islands of Guadeloupe are all just 20 to 45 minutes away from each other, so island-hopping is a dream. Modern roadways connect the two larger islands, Basse Terre and Grande Terre. Ferry service from Point-a-Pitre, Trois Rivieres, Sainte Anne and Saint Francois connects the outer islands of Marie-Galante, Les Saintes, La Desirade and the Petite Terre Natural Reserve. Try to pack as many as you can into one glorious Guadeloupe getaway.

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