Basse-Terre On a BudgetIn Guadeloupe there is Basse Terre the city and Basse-Terre the island - the city is the capital of Guadeloupe, and the island is Guadeloupe's western half of the main island. As a whole, the place is very green, featuring lush vegetation and a mountainous landscape with a sulfuric volcano.
SightsOne of the most sought-after attractions of the Basse Terre island is Guadeloupe National Park. The park lies amidst the island's verdant mountain landscape, encapsulating a 74,100-acre rainforest filled with picturesque walking trails. These trails offer paths of all lengths and difficulties, often taking hikers past beautiful forest foliage, striking waterfalls, and the summit of La Soufrière volcano. There is also a scenic 16-mile road that cuts through the forest; it is called the Route de la Traversee.
Basse Terre the city is a location for historic sightseeing. Fort Delgres, for example, built in the 17th and 18th centuries, was a center of resistance in Guadeloupe to the re-establishment of slavery in 1802. The thick stone building overlooks the sea with a view of the island's Caribbean mountains. There is also plenty of Caribbean architecture to be admired in the city, and a thriving market that takes place in the mornings from Monday to Saturday. For rum enthusiasts, a visit to the Bologne distillery might be in order. The distillery offers guided tours of its plant, as well as a tasting at the end of the tour.
NeighborhoodsAround the island of Basse Terre, visitors can still find numerous fishing villages and banana plantations along the shoreline and inland. The northwest coast, especially between Bouillante and Grande-Anse, is particularly scenic. The road along this route twists and turns up steep hills shaded with thick vegetation and then drops down along beautiful bays and colorful seaside towns. The island is also home to the city of Basse Terre, which is the capital of Guadeloupe as well as the second largest city behind Pointe-a-Pitre (located on Grande Terre). The city itself is an example of quiet charm and historic monuments. Its seafront is home to a renowned covered market selling fruit, vegetables, spices, punch, flavored rums, and other local produce.
ActivitiesThe town of Bouillante, meaning "boiling," comes from its hot springs. These pools offer a popular attraction for visitors to experience, as does the nearby Pigeon Island which has great opportunities for diving and snorkeling. Boats for this kind of excursion leave from Plage de Malendure. There are also plenty of beaches for seaside lounging or swimming, while the national park offers trails of all difficulties for hiking and admiring island scenery.
Other activities include historic sightseeing of the city and surrounding towns on the island, as well as tours of plantations and local distilleries.
Food and DiningLocated in the West French Indies, Basse Terre, like the rest of Guadeloupe, has a mix of culinary influences from France, India, and Africa. As a result, the entire archipelago is especially renowned for Creole delicacies, Caribbean staples, and French classics. Fresh seafood provides many of the main ingredients with items like mahi mahi, conch, land crab, and Caribbean lobster. Also popular is a kind of curry, known as Colombo in the French Antilles. This Creole dish is more reminiscent of a stew than a typical curry and is generally concocted with Colombo powder, a mix of cumin, turmeric, coriander and cloves, all tossed with vegetables and meat or seafood. There are also a number of tasty street foods some of which include bokit and accras. Bokit usually consists of two pieces of deep-fried bread' stuffed with meats, cheeses, and a vinegar-based sauce, while accras are a kind of fried fritter typically filled with cod, lobster, or shrimp. Other specialties include coconut sorbet, fresh-squeezed fruit juices, and a rum-based cocktail called Ti' Punch. Plenty of restaurants and other food vendors can be found in the city of Basse Terre.
TransportationFlying into Basse Terre is probably best done by arranging a flight to Pointe-a-Pitre International Airport (or Le Raizet Airport), located on the island of Grande Terre just adjacent to Basse Terre. It is the main hub for Air Caraibes and Air Antilles Express, and also offers flights from Air France, Air Transat, American Airlines, and Norwegian Air Shuttle, among others.
There is also transportation by boat from many of the neighboring islands, including Martinique, Dominica, and Saint Lucia.
Once arrived, the best way to get around is by rental car or hired taxi. There are some ferries which carry cars from island to island.