The Guadeloupe Islands are not only made up of magnificent, postcard-worthy white sand beaches, but also natural treasures like tropical forests, amazing coastal diversity and a protected marine ecosystem. These Caribbean islands have been classified as a biosphere by UNESCO since 1992, aiming to contribute to the preservation of the bio diversity.
The national park of Guadeloupe covers 3 natural habitats: a tropical forest, a mangrove (sea swamps) and the coastal lands, giving you many opportunities for an array of excursions and discoveries while staying in the Guadeloupe Islands.
We always recommend to travel with a tour guide to truly embrace the full experience, enhanced with the local stories and the sharing of little kept secrets of the islanders.
One of your first excursions should be to La Soufriere Volcano and the tropical forest! A lush tropical forest features hiding waterfalls and a natural jacuzzi that you can discover while walking on a suspended bridge or hiking the wood by foot. You can also get there with a 4-wheel drive for more adventure. One of the best hiking trails is the one leading you to La Soufriere Volcano, also called The Old Lady, by the locals.
Reaching the top of the volcano is a unique and exhilarating adventure. It will take you about 5 hours hiking in the tropical forest to reach the top. There are several trails with different levels of difficulty, so you don’t need to be a pro to go on one of the fun trails. Kids 12 and older can also hike with supervision of their parents. We always recommend to go with a local tour guide in order to get the full experience.
La Créole Beach Hôtel & Spa, who highly recommends this tour, can tell you much more and will connect you with professional local guides they have trusted for years.
Make sure to use comfortable closed shoes that have some sort of traction for the trails (no flip flops or open toe shoes)!
Plan to bring a small backpack with a bottle of water per person, a protein bar, sunscreen, a light raincoat or poncho, as the tropical forest can be very humid, and a light sweater or an extra layer of clothing When you reach the top of the volcano, you may be in the clouds and reach a cooler zone.
One more thing to add to your backpack is a swimsuit, as you will be able to take a bath in the natural hot springs «Bain de Sofaïa» for maximum relaxation after your long hike. This spring is naturally sulfured and warm. It is known to be beneficial for the skin, giving you a natural glow but also curing any kind of skin rash. This spring is also beneficial for the liver.
Along the trail, you will see many waterfalls like the Saut des 3 Cornes and the famous Carbet waterfalls, along with many hot springs, where you will experience the little craters spitting sulfur fumes. It is truly a unique show to remember!
Once you have reached the top, you will have a 360° panoramic view as the volcano is the highest tip of the island, pointing at 4400 feet above sea level. With the luck of a clear sky, you will be able to see all the mountains in Basse Terre, but also the island of Marie Galante, Les Saintes and Dominica.
As you go along this 5 hour trail, you will notice luxuriant tropical flora with numerous orchidea and gigantic ferns that will make you feel like you’re on the set of Jurassic Park. The fauna is extremely rich in this part of the island. You will see the local mangouste, the beautiful hummingbirds and numerous butterflies.
Enjoy every moment and happy hiking!
Have you done this hike? Share your experiences with us in the comments below!