Explore the Island of Basse Terre

Guadeloupe is actually two islands, Basse Terre and Grande Terre, separated by the Riviere Salée. Basse Terre or terra bassa, is a mountainous volcanic island with the Soufriere Volcano dominating the skyline. Grand Terre to the east is much smaller in land mass and is virtually flat. We’ll see a Soufriere volcano on several of the islands as the word literally mean “sulfur smelling”. We’ll get up close and personal with a sulfur smelling volcano further down island.
One of our cruising guides, the “Pavlidis Guide to the Leeward Islands”, gave us the clear impression that we could easily circumnavigate each island in a day taking in many sights along the way. Let me tell you, that is just not possible, not unless you’re taking a helicopter tour. We decided to rent a car for a few days to take a leisurely tour of the islands.

Country Road Winding up to Les Chutes du Carbet
Country Road Winding up to Les Chutes du Carbet

On our first day we exited the marina and soon found ourselves on the busy highway heading towards the capital city of Pointe à Pitre. We crossed the southern bridge over the river and somehow managed to take all the proper turns to wind our way along the south coast of Basse Terre. With no particular schedule or destination in mind, we leisurely drove along watching for places we’d book marked in our cruising guide. First up came the waterfalls on the eastern side of Soufriere Volcano, a linked set of three falls all visible at once if you trekked into the wilderness for a 4 hour or so round trip. Because there were hundreds of steps on that route, we decided to stop at the last overlook on the paved path where we could see two of the falls, as luck had it, a most spectacular view of the 110 meter falls. As water roared down the rocks, mists would billow up from bottom pools creating incredibly beautiful scenes.
Les Chutes du Carbet
Les Chutes du Carbet
Guad-MistyFalls508
After visiting the falls we drove along the narrow twisting roads that took us all the way to the Southeast corner of the island from which we had a stunning view of the islands to our south.
Isle de Saintes
Isle de Saintes
Although not all the islands are visible in the photo below, we could see Marie Galante, Les Saintes, and Dominica. An incredible preview of things to come. 

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