A perfect Week-end in the Saintes islands
The Saint Islands archipelago, 9 miles south of Guadeloupe, is a mix of traditional charm and crystal-clear waters. Two out of the nine islands are inhabited, Terre-de-Haut and Terre-de-Bas. It is hard to leave once you are there.
The magnificent Saintes Bay
The Saintes’ bay is legendary, and one of the most beautiful in the world, next to San Francisco and Rio de Janeiro. The scuba diving is also one of the best in the Caribbean, thanks to populated reefs and the famous Sec Paté spot. The bay has everything for the beach lover, from paddle boarding to sailing and snorkeling.
Club Pisquette, Lieu Dit Le Mouillage | Terre de Haut - Les Saintes, 97137- Tèl. : +590 (0)590 99 88 - turn left from the wharf, on Jean Calot street. Continue for a few blocks, and the club will be on your right, right before the coast that leads to the boathouse.
Tour the island on a scooter
After a 45 minute boat ride from Trois-Rivières in Guadeloupe, I pick up a scooter near the wharf and start my tour of the small island. Dreamy beaches, typical Creole houses, beautiful landforms.... Tropical exoticism hits me even before I step off the boat.
Rent a scooter near the wharf or by the church. From 25€/lday.
A guided tour of the Fort Napoléon
One of the best tourist attractions is the Fort Napoléon, a 400-feet high military fortress that towers over the Saintes bay. Its permanent exhibition tells the story of the islands and the famous naval battle of 1782 that saw the French and the British fight to claim the archipelago. The view of Marie-Galante, Guadeloupe and Dominica is beautiful. Not to be missed.
Fort Napoléon visits. Tèl. : +590 (0)690 50 73 47. 15 minute-walk from the wharf. Open from 9 am to 12.30 pm -3,5€/ adults ,2€/children under 12
Head to the Pain de Sucre and Anse Crawen
The Pain de Sucre beach, covered in moonlight cacti, is one of the most beautiful beaches of Terre-de-Haut. It attracts many tourists, so better go before lunch, as it is a precious spot. Nearby, the black sand Anse Crawen offers a nice respite. A serene haven.
What are the best restaurants in the Saintes?
Crayfish profiteroles, coconut seabass, lambi lasagna… All are served at the Au Bon Vivre restaurant, my favorite table in Terre-de-Haut. At Ti Bo Doudou, you can eat with your feet in the water, and enjoy a ray chiquetaille and a tuna tartare that will give you chills. For a light lunch, try the Saladerie, which makes the freshest and most original salads of the island.
Au Bon Vivre, 31 rue J.Calot, 97137 Terre de Haut - Tèl. : +33 590 94 19 84
Ti Bo Doudou, 58, rue Benoit Cassin, 97137 Terre de Haut - +33 590 98 56 67
La Saladerie, Anse Mire, 97137 Terre de Hau - Tèl. : +33 590 99 53 43
Hike at the Trace des Crêtes
Starting from Grande Anse, the Trace des Crêtes hike goes through the more arid landscapes of the island, between cacti and century-old frangipani. The Grande Anse beach, with its high Atlantic waves, is quite impressive. The nearby cemetery is charming, colourful, and atypical, with its lambi-ladden tombs. The hike ends the Marigot Bay and the Pompierre Beach. Sensational.
Trace des Crêtes hike, center of Terre-De-Haut. The hike begins after the last house behind the cemetery, follow the white paint marks along the way. 45 min to 1h.
Wander around in Marigot
The population of the Saintes islands, progeny of Brittons or Normans, live off fishing and tourism. In the fishing town of Marigot, they can be seen around their saintoises, a traditional colourful wooden boat.
Shopping and "tourment d'amour" testing
Near the wharf, you can find a few shops offering beach fashion and trinkets made from natural materials, done in a somewhat tikki style that I love. The Atelier du savon des Saintes sells artisanal soap made with coconut, pineapple and lime, to bring home a bit of your vacation.
On the road, I can smell in the air the tourment d’amour (or love torment): Stuffed with coconut, banana or guava, this little island delicacy tastes like its name. Oh, the joys of tourment d’amour !
L'Atelier du savon des Saintes, Rue Jean Calot. 97137 Terre de Haut - Tèl. : +33 590 99 56 24
Souvent assises, les mamies accompagnées de leurs grands paniers en osier, vendent les tourments d'amour au niveau de l'embarcadère aux horaires de départ des bateaux.
I love wandering around Anse Mire to talk with the locals, gaze at the little Creole houses, and use the swings my feet in the water. A little exercise ? The clear-bottom boat is the new green activity, and allows you to explore underwater life. Great for families with children.
Clear Blue Caraïbes, rue Jean Calot, 97137 Terre-de-Haut - 20€/adulte, 15€/enfant jusqu'à 15ans, gratuit pour les - de 9 ans - Tèl. : 0690657981
Where to sleep in the Saintes islands ?
Villa Amarelao, rue anse figuier, 97137 Terre-De-Haut - Tél. :05 90 99 19 58
Hôtel Bois Joli, Route du Bois Joli, 97137 Terre-De-Haut - Tél. :05 90 99 50 38
Hôtel le Kanaoa, Anse Mire, 97137 Terre-De-Haut - Tèl. : 0590 99 51 36