Island of Beautiful Waters
The Island of Beautiful Waters
By Linda Thompkins
Guadeloupe, known as "the island of beautiful waters", has the most unique shape of any island in the Caribbean chain. The butterfly shape evolved from the geographical movement of two separate islands, which pushed them together, with only a narrow river dividing them. Instead of one island, they could be considered as two since there are quite different.
Located in the French West Indies, Guadeloupe has three sets of offshore islands, which offers visitors an opportunity to island hop. Aside from the opportunity to visit several islands for the price on one, Guadeloupe offers first class beach resorts, some of the Caribbean's best outdoor markets, French and Creole cuisine, rain forests, volcano?ôs, numerous waterfalls, a variety of beaches, and a variety of exotic flowers and plants.
That's more than enough for one vacation, but more the adventurous can easily continue their travel by catamaran or ferry to the neighboring islands of French Martinique, Dominica and St. Lucia.
The culture of the island is definitely French, however most locals speak Creole and French. Overall the culture of France, Africa, West Indian and Hindu makes a fascinating mix.
The people of Guadeloupe believe strongly in their form of culture, and many would like to be independent from France. However, financial support from France provides the island with a high standard of living, so the push for independence remains more talk than action.
Basse Terre is the larger of the two, with a rugged coastline, mountainous terrain and an active volcano. The west coast rich highlands offer a panoramic view of lush rainforests, banana plantations, and a waterfall at every turn. As you enter the rainforest, your visual senses are overwhelmed by the fusion of colors, the shapes of orchids, flowering trees with baskets of exotic flowers, and the ever present dwarf palms. Odd clanking sounds ring out through the forest, and I was surprised to find the strange noise was being made by the huge Hercules beetles. I never saw them, nor did I have any desire to after hearing their metal like sound.