Guadeloupe is one of my fave Caribbean islands, there’s no denying it. Brightly coloured buildings, a relaxed but carnivalesque vibe, and some of the most glorious beaches I’ve ever laid eyes on; it’s frankly just downright marvellous. There are GOOD TIMES to be had here! I visited St Anne on my last day in Guadeloupe, after three months docking regularly there, and although it was one of the more developed places we visited on the French Caribbean island (ie, resort central station, please mind the gap), this made a great day trip from Pointe-a-Pitre, allowing us to chill out and appreciate the Caribbean lifestyle in a truly relaxed and peaceful fashion.
Rain, rain and hurricanes
We set off in a taxi from Pointe-a-Pitre port, loving life and very much excited for what the day had to bring. Goats and chickens wandered up and down the roads, thick forests of palm trees swayed in the breeze, and the peeling roadside billboards announced their slogans pretty much exclusively in French, because, you know. We were technically in French territory after all.The music from the radio was rolling- naturally a collection of bachata classics from the taxi driver- and we were completely filled with optimism about the day ahead. Nothing could bring us down!!
Except it did, because the next thing you know, the heavens had opened and seemed to not be willing to chill out any time in the foreseeable future. That’s the thing about the Caribbean in general. Rain is very much to be expected. At least when I was there, from February to May.
The rain stuck around in a torrential fashion right up until approximately four and a half minutes before our ETA in St Anne. BRILLIANT TIMING, THE NATURAL ELEMENTS!! The taxi driver drove us along a bumpy back road as the sun began to blast back out from behind a cloud in triumph; under fallen trees and electricity pylons sticking out at a 45° angle, wires hanging slack like the strings of broken spider webs. Although it had been months since the most recent hurricane had swept through the Caribbean, parts of Guadeloupe still showed the signs of the its pathway.
A classic Caribbean situation
Clambering out of the taxi with ultimate joy that the sunshine was back, we headed past empty huts holding the empty husks of coconuts for the beach a little further along the shore than the main town of St Anne- Plage Caravelle, which some say is the best beach in Guadeloupe. The sea was a vivid turquoise colour with a glorious strip of white sand; although one patch of ocean closest to our entrance appeared to be carpeted with tonnes and tonnes of thick ribbony seaweed. This didn’t seem like the kind of water you’d gladly jump into, that’s for sure. There had recently been choppy waters around the area, which had led to the congregation of all this floating seaweed right by the beach, and the odd pelican paddled on through it in the sunshine.
Related: A Magical Island in Guadeloupe
We kept going, to where huts hired out beach equipment and the odd very slick-looking beach bar offered all the tropical cocktails to people staying in the resorts. This beach was far more developed than the ones I’d been used to visiting; even in places like Antigua- land of 365 beaches, and resorts galore- I’d still found a fair few restaurants where the locals eat. But Plage Caravelle was a much glossier affair. Beautiful- but 100% glossier. This is really a place to relax, not explore. A Club Med resort sits at the furthest end, although anyone is still welcome to wander up and down the shore here and it wasn’t crowded at all.
Palm trees provided shade for beach goers, and climbing material for iguanas. I’ll be honest here pals, there’s something about iguanas that I find altogether a little bit unnerving. It’s the way they look at you, as if they could attack at any time, or at the very least silently scrutinising your every move. But I’m still pretty fascinated by them. These Guadeloupian beach guys were a pretty turquoise colour in coordination with the sea, and they seemed to just blend in very easy amongst the sunbathing people.
The rain returns
The sea was the perfect temperature and is crystal clear, although even on a calm day the current was fairly strong and we quickly got pulled further along the shoreline if we swam too far out. Sunbathing, relaxing and swimming is what this beach is perfect for, and if you’re in need of a chill out day then look no further my friends. As we drove away from the beach at the end of the day, the clouds rolled back over and the rain began to fall again; what a beaut window of opportunity and a stroke of sheer luck we had!
And what a little gem Sainte-Anne is.
- Hurricane season in Guadeloupe normally runs from roughly June/July to November.
- It’s possible to get a taxi from Pointe-a-Pitre cruise terminal without booking ahead; they wait at the port all the while that ships are docked there.
- Journey time from Pointe-a-Pitre to Sainte Anne is roughly 20 mins to half an hour, dependent on traffic. It cost us around €5 each for a taxi of 6 people.
- It is possible to get local buses in Guadeloupe, however as our time was restricted and they don’t run on a strict schedule, we felt like a taxi would be a safer bet.