How about visiting one of the most beautiful bays in the world? It is in the tropics that we meet, located in the south-west of Guadeloupe, that we set off to discover the archipelago of Les Saintes, on the island of Terre-de-Haut for a short getaway on a beautiful sunny day.
For information, the Saintes are the islands located in the Caribbean Sea. There are 9 small islands of which only 2 are inhabited, Terre-de-Haut and Terre-de-Bas. The most extensive, inhabited, and touristic one is Terre-de-Haut and it is precisely there that we drop anchor.
1. How to get to Les Saintes
Several departure points from mainland Guadeloupe are available to get to Les Saintes. We took a ferry from Trois-Rivières, it is the shortest route, about 15-20 minutes by boat to Terre-de-Haut. We booked the tickets from our hotel with the CTM company for 23€ per person round trip. When you arrive at the parking lot of Trois-Rivières to take the ferry another 5€/car for the day. You may have to go through the CTM counter to validate your tickets before going to the boat, I advise you to arrive early, even if the boat should not leave without you.
Otherwise ferries also leave from Saint-François (Grande Terre), but the trip is 1h30 and also from the city of Basse Terre which will take you about 40 minutes, but this ferry is only available 3 times a week.
2. How to get around the island of Terre-de-Haut
When you arrive in the bay des Saintes it is an enchanting setting of great beauty between mountains, colorful houses, and boats. Moreover, it is part of the club of the most beautiful bays in the world and is also classified among the most beautiful by the UNESCO.
The island of Terre-de-Haut is only about 6 square kilometers in area, you can either rent a scooter, an electric or classic bike, or a golf cart. Very few cars are allowed to circulate, only a few locals can have one on the island, which is very pleasant for pedestrians. Otherwise for hikers, the island has a lot of slopes and elevations, for a day visit it would be better to rent a means of transport. For our part, we took a golf cart for 70€ / day, ideal for a family or if you are several (3 or 4) and if you have bags to carry on. The bikes were 20€ for the electric, 10€ for the classic or 35€ for the scooter. You have all these choices to enjoy a beautiful visit on this beautiful island.
3. What to visit on the island of Terre-de-Haut
After picking up our golf cart, we headed to the must-see Fort Napoleon. The Fort is only open from 9 am to 12:30 pm at 7€ per person. It is a former political prison that has been converted into a museum where you will have the choice of following a guide in a group or making the visit yourself. We did not take the guide because the exhibitions and the evolution of the history of Les Saintes were still well presented.
You will already see from driving up to the Fort that the view will be more and more spectacular and arriving at the top you will have a 360 degree view with a very charming garden all around the Fort. The view is really worth it, since we see a very beautiful wild landscape and a nice overview of the different islands around.
We take our cart and visit the island along the colorful houses, the small fishing ports and the beautiful clear water beaches. We then stopped at Pompierre beach with its coconut palms and white sand. Just before it, a few steps away we took something to eat at the Salako Zamour restaurant to have a picnic by the beach. A very nice relaxing break with the sound of the waves.
Then, we swam in the beach of Anse Crawen, a beautiful quiet beach, with a view of other islets and volcanic cliffs, very pleasant to bathe there, we didn’t see the sargassum there when we went. Pay attention to the slope to get there, it is advised to leave your scooter, bicycle, cart at the top of the slope to get there by foot.
After returning our golf cart, we strolled through the town, a nice walk where we pass by the charming town hall, the Notre-Dame de l’Assomption church, the small shops and colorful alleys, to finally finish at the port and take our boat back. In short, a very pleasant day in Les Saintes that I highly recommend for its charm and idyllic landscape.