Îles des Saintes is pure heaven on earth. The boat ride there—past the archipelago’s two main islands (Terre-de-Haut Island and Terre-de-Bas) and its seven islets barely spanning 13 square kilometres—is truly fabulous. Whether you stay for a day or several, you’re bound to fall in love with the islands’ rugged landscape and the local fishermen with their piercing blue eyes.
If you’re time there is short, head to Terre-de-Haut. You can get around the island on foot, by bike, or on a scooter; hike up to Fort Napoléon (a testament to the archipelago’s military past); saunter through the town’s narrow streets as you nibble on a tourment d’amour (the local pastry); take a dip in the turquoise waters of the magnificent Pompierre Bay; or study the ocean floor at the foot of Pain de sucre—a gigantic granite rock reminiscent of Rio de Janeiro. www.les-saintes.tv
You can catch a ferry from Trois-Rivières to Les Saintes for a little over 20 euro (return trip, rates subject to change). Ferries also run from Pointe-à-Pitre, Sainte-Anne, and Saint-François, but TroisRivières is closest to the archipelago, meaning you can cross Les Saintes Canal in less than 30 minutes. And be sure to keep your eyes open for dolphins playing nearby!
Do you dream of sailing off into the sunset but don’t know the first thing about sailboats? No problem. Several Pointe-à-Pitre-based companies offer day cruises aboard giant catamarans. Their smiling crew will deliver you safely to the beaches in Marie-Galante or to the foot of Pain de Sucre in Les Saintes in just a few hours. What’s more, you can enjoy lunch (crayfish and grilled fish are often on the menu) on the high seas. Goggles and snorkels are provided so you can check out what’s going on under the surface when the anchor is down.
To find out more, contact the following outfitters:
Marina – 97118 Saint-François
35 résidence de la presqu’île – Marina Bas-du-Fort – 97110