Guadeloupe Sailing Itinerary
The French overseas region of Guadeloupe is a stunningly beautiful haven featuring rainforests, picturesque beaches, coral reefs, an active stratovolcano, and banana, pineapple, and sugar plantations. Made up of two more populated islands connected by the Rivière Salée, this butterfly shaped gem has an abundance of cloistered anchorages and is within hopping distance of several more islands making this archipelago an ideal sailing destination.
Depending on your inclination and your schedule, there are several options that will allow you to make use of the northeasterly trade winds to see as much of this island nation as you desire. Most charters begin in Pointe-à-Pitre, designated as a City of Art and History by the French Ministry of Culture. There is much to see and do in this Creole inspired city on Grande Terre Island that you should plan a day on the front or back end of your cruise to enjoy the sites, sounds, and smells of this city including the Cascade aux Ecrevisses waterfall.
Day One: Depending on when you can cast off, how far you would like to travel, and how much time you have to savor Guadeloupe, your first sail could be a short jaunt to Ilet a Gosier, just 3 nm from Pointe-à-Pitre. The anchorage off of this petite île is protected by reefs and overlooks a palm tree lined sandy beach complete with a quaint beach bar. Another option for your first sail is to head 14 nm west to Sainte Anne, a bustling town with some of Guadeloupe’s more festive beaches.
Day Two: Some options for your second day out are to continue east along the southern coast of Grande Terre to Pointe des Châteaux which is 14 nm from Sainte Anne, a rocky point with scenic cliffs and beautiful aquamarine water where the Caribbean and Atlantic meet. If you opt for a longer sail, just 7 nm farther is Petit Terre, made up of two small uninhabited islands Terre de-Bas and Terre-de-Haut, and is classified as a nature reserve. Only Terre-de Bas is open to the public where you can visit a museum of the local plants and animals located in a lighthouse.
Day Three: Today you will have a longer sail across more open waters to Marie Galante, 19 nm from Petit Terre and about 26 nm from Pointe des Châteaux. This island is one of the largest in the archipelago with a coast ranging from rocky cliffs in the east, to white sand beaches on the western end where the pleasant Saint Louis anchorage is located. This island is home to superb snorkeling and scuba diving, an abundance of windmills, and the Caribbean town of Grand Bourg, where you can shop, dine and taste fine rum at one of the best distilleries in the region. There is much to do both ashore and on the water at this beautiful island stop-over.
Days Four and Five: From Marie Galante, head west about 16 nm to Les Saintes, a collection of nine islands including the vibrant Terre-de-Haute (not to be confused with the uninhabited Terre-de-Haute from day two), and two additional uninhabited islets. Visit Fort Napoléon, rent a scooter or golf cart and explore the arts and crafts shops, bakeries, markets, and restaurants. Spend the next day exploring the more remote islands of this archipelago including Grand-Îlet, Les Roches Percées, Îlet à Cabrit, La Redonde, La Coche, Les Augustins, and Le Pâté.
Day Six: From Les Saintes, continue about 6 nm to Basse-Terre and enjoy the national heritage sites as you pass Trois Rivères. Anchor here and head inland to visit La Soufriere Volcano and with advanced reservations, delve deeper by touring the Observatoire Volcanologique le Houëlmont. For underwater adventures, head northwest to Bouillante to scuba dive in the underwater reserve at Cousteau Marine Park and anchor off Anse à la Barque. An alternative is to sail northeast toward Goyaver and check out Les Chutes du Moreau.
Day Seven: After a magnificent cruise around this amazing island nation, take a short sail across Le Petit Cul-de-sac Marin to return to Pointe-à-Pitre and enjoy all this culturally inspired city has to offer.
If you are fortunate enough to have more time to explore Guadeloupe, you could visit all of the options included in this itinerary or linger at any of these destinations and enjoy the abundance of activities on land and water. Additionally, If you would like to hop to another Caribbean country, Portsmouth, Dominica is just a 25 nm crossing from Marie Galante. This excursion would provide a taste of one of the best kept secrets in the Caribbean and perhaps inspire another charter.