This tiny island in Guadeloupe’s Iles des Saintes archipelago is one of the most charming spots in the Caribbean. It’s French Créole, very low key, and extraordinarily beautiful. While the island has an undiscovered feel, sailors venture here, and there are small hotels, mostly populated by French tourists, who visit from the Guadeloupe mainland.
What We Love
The Atmosphere: Authenticity is the watchword on this island, with colorful homes on bougainvillea-lined lanes, a stone church, white sand beaches, folk singers on the streets, small boutiques, and open-air cafés where you can dine on what the local fishermen caught that day.
Walk the Walk: You land right in the picturesque village of Bourg des Saintes. From there you can stroll, head to the beach, or do a 20-minute walk to Fort Napoléon, which was built in the mid 1800s on a bluff with beautiful views overlooking the sea.
Best Known For
Beaches: You can head to the popular Plage de Pompierre or wander and find your own little place to put your feet in the surf. If you don't want to walk, you can rent bikes or mopeds in town.
Diving: The underwater scenery can be as impressive as what’s on shore. Top attractions include Le Sec Pâté, a mountain under the sea where you'll find sea fans and black coral.
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Who It's Best For
Grown-ups: Only visitors traveling on small ships make their way to this little island, and it tends to be a more mature, laid-back crowd.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Très Français: You may encounter shopkeepers, guides (even at the fort), and fellow tourists who don’t have a great command of English or otherwise prefer to speak French. And the Euro is the currency.
It’s a Tender Port: The small island’s docks can’t handle large vessels. You have to take small boats from your ship to get ashore.
Fran Golden is a Cleveland-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for USA Today.