How I manage not to get to the beach in Guadeloupe

What if the best part of a holiday was in the unexpected twists and turns? In France, you have to abandon your plans at times and just enjoy the pleasure of chance surprises. We set off on a whim to Guadeloupe and try out a whole bunch of things – everything except the beach!

We set out on a whim with a group of friends, headed for Basse-Terre, an island in Guadeloupe. We had just one thing on the agenda – to escape the rain and the Sunday evening blues.

Sunday: arrival

We arrive in our gîte late morning. Our hosts invite us to join them for lunch, and that's not the sort of thing you turn down. To be honest, we're only too delighted to sit down and tuck in. What we haven't anticipated is that the meal will last for hours! From the dishes made by the grandmother to the sorbets and garden fruits.... all we can think of is heading to the beach to digest it all. But where on earth is it? In fact we never find out – there's more to Guadeloupe than the beach! Sometimes you just have to go with the flow. And there you have our week in a nutshell...

Monday: kayaking

Today is kayak day! I've never done it before but it can't be that hard. Our hosts recommend the Cousteau Reserve, and I immediately understand why. For starters, it's not a lagoon but the open sea and the kayak is transparent so we can see the seabed passing beneath our eyes. I've never seen so many fish at once. I'm as excited as kid! I even forgot to paddle..."

Tuesday: Paradise

On the way back we meet Sam and Julie, who offer to take us to Paradise. So in the morning, we set out for the Carbet Falls. We walk for a good 45 minutes and when we get there, we are simply astonished to see a natural pool with rainbow reflections - pure nature with not a building in sight. Crystal-clear water and a tremendous sense of calm. And then no-one but us. That's what Paradise is like...

Wednesday: the Britanny of the Antilles

When we wake up, the effects of our sporting endeavours soon make themselves felt... perhaps we'll take things a bit easier today.
It's Wednesday, THE day the spice market is on. There are fruits, flowers, jewels, crafts and rum, more precisely punch and rum mixes. Between two tasting sessions, a local who had visited Lorient tells us about the Saintes and their mix of local and Breton folklore. We definitely don't want to miss that! A boat carries us across for a total sum of 5 euros.

Thursday, the Indians

We head back home tomorrow. For our last day, we're going to visit the Roches Gravées archaeology park in Trois-Rivières. Nearly a hectare of geometrical mystery which has now become a historic moment. A totally unexpected aspect of local culture which gives us plenty of food for thought. Not on the beach, mind you, but on the flight home.

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Getting to Guadeloupe