Marie Galante, Les Saintes & Guadeloupe

Our title is a bit misleading as Marie Galante and Les Saintes are dependencies of Guadeloupe administratively. They are however very distinct islands and each worth a visit. 

We sailed to Marie Galante from Dominica and anchored in Saint Louis, a lovely bay in front of one of the three towns on Marie’s Galante, Saint Louis, Grand Bourg and Capesterre. Nicknamed “la grande galette” for its roundish and very squat shape, Marie Galante is small enough to explore in a day. Like most places, one could stay in each bay or area and explore a lot more but we really enjoyed our one day drive around this very green agricultural island full of sugarcane fields and home to three rum distilleries.  We toured one of the three working distillery ‘Habitation Bellevue’, had a delicious lunch at Dantana Cafe in front of the beautiful Capesterre beach and visited ‘Habitation Murat’ a former sugar plantation turned into an  Arts and Popular Traditions ecomuseum which brings together three centuries of Guadeloupe sugar history during colonial times. 

Highlights from Marie Galante

Lots of Bromeliads growing on trees in Marie Galante.

Habitation Murat - Outdoor Medicinal Garden - Note the garden itself is poorly kept but the sign was very interesting.

Seth next to a wood scooter. Toys have come a long way.

Dantana Cafe

Seth donated to the school fundraiser for a trip to neighborhing island Dominica

Farm worker just unloaded his load of sugarcane at distillery Bellevue - his tractor is still on the scale (see below) and the empty weight is on the upper right corner of the picture above. A couple sugar canes from his load were pressed to be tested for sweetness . Based on the quality the price per lbs will be set. He is waiting to be paid.

Pressing a sample of sugarcane below.

Checking the vats

School safety! Slow down!

Le trou du Diable (above) and a sugracane field (below)

Our next stop was ‘Les Saintes’, a real ‘coup de cœur’, probably one of our favorite stops this winter. Unlike its flat neighbor there are lots of small peaks and valleys and magnificent views and vegetation. Goats and roosters roam everywhere and you can hear them all day! Valent and Epiphany joined in the fun exploration of Fort Josephine (ruins) , Fort Napoleon (great museum) and the hike to the highest point, Le Chameau. We spent several nights there, initially on a mooring in front of town and then in the little bay by the ‘pain de sucre’ which was more protected for the conditions.

Sunrise in Les Saintes

Spectalular View of the Island from 'Le Chameau'

Hiking with Happy Kids from Saltair, Valent and Epiphany after the rain stopped

Cute baby goats at Le Chameau, the highest point on the island - 309m/1004ft

Views (above and below) from Fort Napoleon

Beach landing at the base of the trail to Fort Josephine

We reluctantly left Les Saintes to make our way North. A one night stop in Point A Pitre was plenty of time to do a little shopping. Adam found a guitar and we replenished our fresh produce at the colorful outdoor market.

We also visited ‘Memorial ACTe’, a Contemporary museum offering historical exhibits on the Caribbean's slave trade & indigenous people. The visit is guided by an audio tour and interspersed with contemporary art. Devices and photos are discouraged to allow for a focused experience. Highly recommended.

Our next stops were along the western coast of the island, one night in Bouillante with a quick swim in the ‘hot spring river’, followed by a few nights at Maladendure Beach near the underwater Cousteau Reserve at Pigeon Island. Fantastic snorkeling, great sundowner on the beach with a family kids of similar age to Seth and a delicious meal at Cht'i Gwada with the Valent crew. The food was excellent and we enjoyed chatting with the owner, a Frenchman who had spent 10 years in London before opening his own place.

Our last stop in Guadeloupe was Deshaies, a beautiful sheltered bay. Unfortunately (or maybe not) the anchorage was extremely crowded and for the first time we could not find a good spot for us. We ventured to the next bay north, Grande Anse, a long white sand beach with palm trees and turquoise waters…it was completely deserted and we anchored in this beautiful setting right off the beach. From there it was about a 10 min dinghy ride to Deshaies. The highlight for us were the botanical gardens tough many visitors come to see it as it is the filming location of the British show ‘Death in Paradise’

Lorikeet Parrots.

Next Stop: Antigua.