Guadeloupe is a cluster of Islands located in the Caribbean Sea. Christopher Columbus was the first European to find the area in 1493. He named it Santa Maria de Guadeloupe, in honor of the Virgin Mary located in the Spanish town of Guadeloupe. During the 1700’s and early 1800’s, the area was alternately controlled by the French and the British, who both wanted access to Guadeloupe’s prosperous sugar crops. The British only had control for very brief periods, and France gained permanent control in 1815 with the signing of the treaty of Vienna. Guadeloupe became an overseas department of France in 1946.
Guadeloupe is am archipelago made up of 9 islands, including Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, La Desirade, Marie-Galante, Iles des Saintes (which is two small islands), Iles de la Petite Terre, Saint-Barthelemy, and Saint-Martin. Basse-Terre has a stark volcanic beauty along with forests and farmland. Grande-Terre is made up of hills and green plains. These two islands make up the main area of Guadeloupe, and are laid out like a butterfly spreading its wings. The other islands are very small and thinly populated, but still have plenty of natural beauty and lots of interesting places to visit.
One of the great attractions of Guadeloupe is that it’s like a little taste of France in the middle of the Caribbean. French Culture and architecture are contrasted with beautiful Caribbean geographical treasures. Basse-Terre is known for the volcano at its center called “La Soufrière”. The volcano is active, and the whole area around it has been designated as a national park with hiking trails perfect for exploring the mountainous terrain.
If you’re looking for a more restive vacation, Guadeloupe has several beautiful beaches, both on the main islands, and on the smaller Islands. There are beaches for any kind of taste, from heavily populated beaches for those that are looking to socialize, to quieter and more secluded areas for those who want to get away from it all.
Guadeloupe is a place of contrasts. It is heavily developed and rural at the same time. There is plenty to do, and lots to see, but you can also find a quiet beach and forget about civilization for a while. It’s a wonderful place to visit, and highly recommended as a tourist destination, particularly if you’re fond of France.
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