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Nature’s majesty, botanical gardens, uninhabited islets
When you arrive on an
MSC Caribbean and Antilles cruise
in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, you will discover a French gem in the Southern Caribbean, or as native islanders called it, “Karukera,” the “island of beautiful waters.” Guadeloupe’s Creole culture and cuisine are a melange of many influences, including French, African, Indian and East Asian.
Take a scenic
Guadeloupe National Park
, designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Located in the south of Basse-Terre, the park has one of the most beautiful forests in the Caribbean and the highest peak on the island, the
volcano. Make your way to the
three gorgeous waterfalls of Carbet
on the lower slopes of La Soufrière. The second waterfall, about 360 feet in height, can be admired from a suspended bridge. Beautiful as they are, the waterfalls are among the most visited sites on Guadeloupe.
Valombreuse botanical garden is a must-see for those who love gardens, and with 500 species in its collection, not many other gardens in the world can claim to be its equal. Tucked in between the mountains and the sea, it is a riot of tropical plants and flowers and home to many birds, including flower-loving hummingbirds and peacocks.
Head along the southern coast of Grande Terre on a sightseeing
to St. Anne, a lovely fishing village with seafront promenade, then continue to visit the much-photographed
Pointe des Châteaux
, an incredible rock formation sculpted by the wind, followed by a stop in Morne-à-L’Eau, a town noted for its artistic cemetery with black-and-white checkerboard tombs.
You can also slip away on a
from Pointe-à-Pitre to the uninhabited islet of
, a tiny gem calling out to you with its lush foliage, white sandy shores, a charming diminutive lighthouse and the intense blue of the sea.