Terre-de-Haut On a BudgetLes Saintes (also known as Iles des Saintes) is a small archipelago of Guadeloupe, a French overseas territory in the Caribbean. The islands here are best known for their tropical beauty, untouched beaches, and bayside villages. Only two of the nine are inhabited.
Terre-de-Haut of Les Saintes is the most popular island to visit. It is known for the Pain de Sucre, a small bay lined with coconut trees and an ideal location for snorkeling, in addition to white sandy beaches like the Plage de Pompierre. There is also a nineteenth-century fort which can be reached on foot for striking views of the surrounding area.
SightsToday, the fort houses a museum dedicated to the history and traditions of Les Saintes and the Anglo-French naval battles to which its coastline bears witness. The grounds of the fort also feature an exotic garden that showcases the diversity of flora found in Les Saints, including a cactus collection where iguanas often roam. Visitors can experience even more impressive panoramic views from the summit of Chameau where there is an ancient watchtower, called Morel Tower. It is the most elevated point of the Les Saintes archipelago. The village itself also has a certain charm, well-preserved with wooden houses and a church constructed from local volcanic stone.
By a short ferry ride, visitors can also spend a day on Terre-de-Bas. As a whole, it is a quiet fishing island with just a few restaurants and sleeping options. Petite-Anse, located on the south side of the island, is the main hub with an atmosphere of a traditional fishing village. The main port is located on the east side, and is about a 30 minute walk (or 10 minute drive) from the island's only beach, Grande-Anse.
NeighborhoodsLes Saintes is formed by nine beautiful islands, only two of which are inhabited: Terre-de-Haut and Terre-de-Bas. Terre-de-Haut is the most easterly island of Les Saintes, featuring wonderful beaches, breathtaking bays, historical sites, and a charming bay village with unique shops, galleries, and restaurants. The oldest settlements still remaining here are the villages of Mouillage and Fond-du cure. The other inhabited island, Terre-de-bas, is also worth a visit, especially to experience the golden sand of Grande-Anse beach. There are also a few villages here, the most important being Petite-Anse. The remaining seven uninhabited islands are Îlet a Cabrit, Grand-Ilet, la Coche, les Augustins, la Redonde, le Pate, les Roches Percees.
ActivitiesA visit to Les Saintes is for those seeking a quiet getaway far from the bustle of more popular tourist destinations. While there are a few places of historical significance, most people visit for the peaceful beaches and gorgeous tropic scenery. The archipelago also attracts divers, especially for sites such as Le Pate-Sec, one of the flagship dive spots in the Caribbean. It features an underwater marine mountain that is 185 meters high, as well as underwater canyons and faults, which are brimming with marine life.
Food and DiningLocated in the West French Indies, Les Saintes, 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.
TransportationTerre-de-Haut of Les Sainte is reachable by ferry or air from many of the main islands of Guadeloupe. Most people visiting the French island group as a whole fly into Pointe-a-Pitre International Airport (or Le Raizet Airport), located on Grande-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, amongst others. Other airports include Marie-Galante Airport (or Les Bases Airport) on the island of Marie-Galante, and Saint-Francois Airport also on Grande Terre.
Terre-de-Haut and Terre-de-Bas of Les Saintes are also connected by ferry, which takes about 15 minutes to cross.