Les Saintes, Terre-de-Bas

Les Saintes, Terre de Bas
Les Saintes, Terre de Bas – Guadeloupe

Wild and frozen in time

Much less visited than its sister island, Terre-de-Bas is the second inhabited island by size in the Les Saintes archipelago with about 2000 inhabitants, mostly concentrated on 2 villages: bourg of Grande-Anse and bourg of Petite-Anse. Terre-de-Bas, with its mountains peaks and cliff drop looks keeps an overall wild and natural theme that seems to have frozen in time. The main activities in the island are fishing and local handcraft like the famous Salako, a manmade hat from the island that looks like the hats you can find in Vietnam.

Les Saintes, Terre de Bas
Les Saintes, Terre-de-Bas – Guadeloupe

Les colors of Mother Nature

If you love Nature, you will fall in love with Terre-de-Bas! Whether you like to spend time on the beach or rather take a deep in the ocean and snorkel or deep dive, you will find you elements there. For the hikers and people who likes to explore the ground, you will be able to hike many paths into the wild nature of the island. There are for main hiking paths in the island ([the Cliff hike] Trace des Falaises, [hike about the pond] Trace du dessus de l’Etang, [hike at the pond shore] Trace du pied de l’Etang and [the Hill hike] Trace du Morne). All the hiking paths meet at the center of the island where you will be able to have a broad view of the region and get familiar with the area with the large map display at the “Citerne” location. From the top, a unique sightseeing spot overlooking Guadeloupe with a clear view of the islands of Marie Galante, Desirade and Dominica! As you will go through those hiking paths, you will be able to appreciate the wide array of bright colors that Mother Nature displays, from the warm colors of the savanna to the deep intense green of the rain forest balanced with the nuances of blue between the sky and the ocean! Whether you are an avid hiker or it is your first time, you will find the hiking path that will meet your needs. Novice will be able to engage on the 45 minutes hiking path while the expert can walk onto the cliff hiking path for a 3 hour of pure fun!

Neither to say, you will need good comfortable shoes to adventure on those paths along with enough water and a good sunscreen protection.

Grande Anse beach is the famous spot in the island with a ¾ mile of white pristine sand and coconut trees but you will not meet a lot of people there; swimming is not recommended at this location as the beach is facing the ocean with very strong waves but still is a great location to relax on the sand, get a nice tan while listening to the waves breaking up on the shore. Only 10 minutes from the ferry dock, this location is easily reachable.

Plongée sous marine aux Saintes
Diving – Les saintes, Terre-de-Bas 

Unique spot of deep diving!

Grande Anse beach is the famous spot in the island with a ¾ mile of white pristine sand and coconut trees but you will not meet a lot of people there; swimming is not recommended at this location as the beach is facing the ocean with very strong waves but still is a great location to relax on the sand, get a nice tan while listening to the waves breaking up on the shore. Only 10 minutes from the ferry dock, this location is easily reachable.

For the avid divers, Grande bay beach is the way to go! It is a small beach with black sand carved into a lush vegetation. Make sure to get your equipment ready and use fins to be able to keep up with all you will have to see underwater as it has a very rich fauna and flora.

If you are looking for swimming location with quiet waters, you will go for this small black sand beach near by the fisherman wharf. This beach is exposed on the Caribbean Sea side and is an ideal location for a great swim with quiet waters.

Pêcheurs des Saintes
Les pêcheurs de Terre de Bas – Les Saintes

The best fishersmen in Guadeloupe

The fisherman in Terre-de-Bas are known to be the best in their category in the archipelago of Guadeloupe! You will need to be there when they come back from the sea after a long day at large!

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Les Saintes, Terre-de-Haut

Baie des Saintes
La Baie des Saintes, Terre de Haut

La baie des Saintes

2 of the islands are populated: Terre-de-Haut and Terre-de-Bas. It is worth a trip there! Jump onto the ferry leaving from the Capital Point a Pitre, St Francois or Trois Rivieres.

Le tourment d'amour, spécialité des Saintes
Spécialité Saintoise : le tourment d’amour

Le tourment d’amour

A quick boat trip and you will reach the wharf where the Tourment d’Amour is offering you the local delicacy of the island: a cute little pie made of sponge cake with shredded coconut, a pinch of lime zest, a touch of vanilla and a taste of cinnamon sprinkle. The recipe came from the tradition of the fishermen wives preparing daily this delicacy for their husbands coming back from work after a long day of labor at sea, giving them a taste of home, sweet home

Terre-de-Haut island is a paradise where no cars are allowed (except electric cars); you can walk all over the island or rent a bicycle or mini scooter to discover the island.

Vue du Fort Napoléon - Les Saintes
Scenic view onto les Saintes from Fort Napoléon (Napoleon Fortress)

Napoleon Fortress

Napoleon fortress, the only fortress where we ever heard a gun shot! Fort Napoleon was mostly used as a jail then was converted into a museum dedicated to the lifestyle of the islanders. Surrounding the fort, you will be able to walk through the botanical garden following the custom guard path where the vigils were protecting the island and looking for invaders and smugglers.

On the top, a breathtaking view overlooking the island of Cabrit holding the vestige of the Josephine fortress, but also the Guadeloupe islands, Dominica and Marie Galante islands.

Maison bateau d'Adolphe Catan
Maison bateau d’Adolphe Catan

The Boat house d’Adolphe Catan

An interesting construction of a house shaped as a boat that was built by Guadeloupian photographer Adolphe Catan in 1942. The building was donated to the town of Terre-de-Haut as a residence for the doctors in the islands in 1955.

Plage de Pompierre, Les Saintes
Terre de Haut – Plage de Pompierre

Pompierre beach

Probably the best beach in the island. Pompierre beach is naturally protected by a rocky barrier which provides a quiet beach perfect for swimming with family and kids. 1500 feet of white sand beach with shade areas provided by the coconut trees and the Paletuvier trees along the beach. It is also the favorite beach for the local iguanas and they will come to you as they are used to share the beach with humans.

Le Pain de Sucre, Les Saintes
Le Pain de Sure – Les Saintes

The famous sugar loaf

Famous beach fitting perfectly in a postcard moment, this is a landmark in the island! It will take you about 45 minutes walking to reach this famous location unless you rent a boat and reach the beach from the ocean. Ideal location for snorkeling with lots of colored fishes and smashing corals, a lot of local sailors Anker nearby this beach for a day to relax.

Plage de Crawen - Les Saintes
Wild beach – Les Saintes

Wild Crawen bay

Another dream location is Crawen, bay, a little wild beach far away from the town where you will feel like Robin Crusoe on his deserted island. This area is a great spot for snorkeling with a large variety of fishes and magnificent corals. Wait for the sunset before you leave as it is one of the best in the island.

But there is more to Terre-de-Haut with lots of charming little beaches like Anse Rodrigue or Anse du Figuier for example.

Débarcadère de Terre de Haut
Arrivée à Terre de Haut, Les Saintes

Take your time to discover the island

Ideally, you will need 2 days to truly embrace the island life at Terre-de-Haut; it will give you enough time to discover all the magic corners of the island, explore the villages with their colorful architecture, meet with the fisherman and the local market and enjoy the island lifestyle.

 

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Our Top 10 favorite beaches in Grande-Terre, Guadeloupe Islands

Just close your eyes a minute and imagine 180 nuances of sand colors from bright white to deep dark black with a whole palette of beige, rose, pink and gold in between. Now deep your feet in the warm water between 78 degrees in the winter and up to 88 degrees in the summer: you are now in paradise.

Datcha beach

Across from Gosier island, this beach is easily accessible from the village of Le Gosier. It is an easy swim on that beach and experimented swimmers can even swim all away to the Gosier island; just make sure not to swim alone if you plan to swim to the island. Part of the beach is lighted at night for those who like the midnight swim. The beach is also equipped with showers after a great day at the beach

Ste Anne beach


Very popular, this is the type of beach you see only in a postcard with turquoise crystal  clear waters. With fame comes often the crowd and this beach can be crowded at time and a bit noisy. People like it because it is the perfect beach for children with very low waves as the bay is protected by the natural coral reef. Be aware of the urchins who love to stand on the coral barrier. If you are lucky, you will see an iguana; they are used to the human population and will not hesitate to come to you in quest of a treat. Many restaurants along the beach with different taste of the local food and at very reasonable prices. You will also meet with the sorbet vendors along the beach; the coconut sorbet is a must to try.

Caravelle beach


A very large beach that could be easily viewed as 2 different sections. One side is really windy and the perfect spot for kite surfing, surf boards and speed sailing. The other side is more quiet and perfect for family with children as the beach is naturally protected from the winds. Water is very shallow which is perfect for young children. This section has also a lot of shades which is a great add on for the hot sunny days. For a few euros, you can rent a beach chair so you can travel light. It is not always easy to find a parking spot so you will have better luck to park a bit away and walk to the beach. It is a great spot for snorkeling so don’t forget to bring your equipment.

Bois Jolan beach


a ¾ mile long wild white sand beach bordered with coconut trees and turquoise waters. Good beach for children but please make sure to wear shoes because urchins live there. During the week days, this beach is very quiet but if you like local music and animated beach, make sure to go there on the weekend where barbecues and live music is often the scene. It is also a great spot for scuba diving.

Anse des Châteaux (Castle Bay)


wild and beautiful but also can be dangerous due to strong waves and currents. However, this beach gives you the impression to have reached the end of the world. You can take the natural path that will guide you to la Pointe des chateaux: a great sightseeing spot   from where you can see the other islands at the horizon like La Desirade island while enjoying the refreshing breeze.

Les Salines beach

Often windy, it is a large beach with coarse white sand spreading between the ocean and the swamp, a unique protected eco-system. You still can swim as the bay is protected by the coral reef. By strong winds, the waves are crashing onto the coral reef ending on the shore with strength. The coral reef is a bit eroded but has a multitude of bright colored fishes. This beach has very little shade and it is a great beach in a hot day as the constant breeze keeps you refreshed.

The Blower beach

More protected from the winds than the castle beach, the blower beach is a beautiful white sand beach that you will find on a postcard, nearby St Louis! On the north of the beach, take the hiking path to the mangrove area where you will find a few great sightseeing spots. A bit further away is a boat cemetery with boar wrecks and a few tombs decorated with shells. The beach is well organized and perfect for children. If you want to avoid the mosquitoes, make sure to leave the beach before 5pm as they take over the sport at that time. Don’t forget to taste the famous coconut sorbet that the local are selling along the beach: a local delicacy!

The door of hell beach


Despite the scary name, this is a great small beach enclaved in between the cliffs. Be aware of the strong currents at the entrance though! We recommend you to wear good shoes in order to reach that beach; you will have to climb on and in between sharp rocks! as you arrive at the end of the path, you will the legendary « trou mam koko » » A legend telling that Madame Koko would have sold her soul to the devil in exchange of good fortune. But as she decides not to follow the contract she signed up with the devil, the devil takes her away to the ocean. Since then, several sailors and fishermen have seen a woman walking with an umbrella on the water with a sinister horseman walking on her side before disappearing onto the deep waters.

The clear raisins beach


Located nearby St François, this beach is planted with numerous raisin trees. This is a white sand beach with clear water and protected by a coral reef, At the horizon, sitting comfortably under the shade of the trees you will see the Saintes and La Desirade islands.  This beach is busy on the weekend and you will be able to have a taste of the local delicacy: the famous Bokit guadeloupéen, a delicious sandwich sold on the beach…

The beach of the other side (La Plage de L’Autre Bord)

Golden sand and coconut trees, the perfect cocktail for a great day on the beach! Very well-organized beach with showers and public toilets along with a few huts on the shade. The water is great and the beach has quiet waters. Nearby, there is an aquatic park with a swimming pool and a famous 150 feet water slide, a plus for kids.

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