Guadeloupe and Dominica: Picture Perfect Playground
Looking for something different for your summer Caribbean vacation? Here’s an idea worth considering. The two southernmost Leeward Islands, Guadeloupe and Dominica, offer an abundance of gorgeous scenery with picturesque beaches, waterfalls, and rainforests. With diverse cultures, traditions, and flavors, these islands provide an abundance of things to see, do, and experience.
The very French island of Guadeloupe is one of the more developed islands of the Caribbean, with a modern infrastructure and international airport. The French love of fine food is apparent here as well as there are fabulous restaurants from which to choose. (Insider tip: we hear the airfares from Europe direct to Guadeloupe are some of the best fares you’ll find in the Caribbean.)
Guadeloupe is actually a collection of islands, with two major islands Basse-Terre and Grand-Terre that look a bit like the wings of a butterfly and are connected by a mangrove swamp, with several outlying islands. Grand-Terre is relatively flat, sitting on a limestone plateau, and with soil perfect for sugar cane you’ll see many plantations inland. Here you’ll find a string of gorgeous unspoiled beaches, and beach towns offering a mecca for the sun-worshipper as well as great restaurants and beach bars.
Basse-Terre has a volcanic mountainous interior. The southern end of the island is a national park which includes a rainforest and La Soufrière, an active volcano. A hiking excursion to see this tropical paradise is a must. The anchorages are pristine, gorgeous and uncrowded. There’s no better place to enjoy spectacular underwater scenery than the Jacques Cousteau underwater Marine Reserve just off the coast of this island.
The outlying islands of Guadeloupe are some of the most wonderful, picturesque places you will find in the Caribbean and if you have the time, definitely worth including on your yacht charter itinerary. Marie Gallant is where you will find the authentic life of the Caribbean. It defines picturesque, with countless white sandy beaches and lagoons fringed by coral reefs.
An absolute must is a visit is to the small island group called Isle de Saintes. Gorgeous bays, a charming little town with nice shops, great food and wonderful atmosphere. A great place to rent scooters and go exploring with many awesome sites for picture-taking.
A short sail to the south brings us to the southernmost of the Leeward Islands, Dominica, known as the Nature Island. Here is another island of unspoiled beauty, but with a completely different cultural feel, and pace of life, than that of her neighbor to the north. Here, it’s almost like taking a step back in time. Dominica is still home to about 2200 Caribs, the only pre-Columbian population remaining in the eastern Caribbean. There is no international airport here, so the only crowds you’ll find are from an occasional cruise ship.
Perhaps one of the greatest draws to this ‘land of rainbows’ is the incredible rainforest. The Morne Trois Pitons National Park, a World Heritage Site, encompasses 17,000 acres of Dominica’s mountainous volcanic interior. Here you can search for hidden pools, discover many waterfalls, volcanoes, hot springs, freshwater lakes and pools, and lush flora and fauna. The park is home to Boiling Lake, the world’s second-largest hot spring and spectacular Trafalgar Falls.
The Caribbean’s first long distance walking trail, Waitukubuli National Trail, is a network of 115 miles of some of the best hiking in the Caribbean. It passes through the National park, local communities, farm lands, forest reserves, and coastal areas. A visit to the Carib Indian Territory makes for another fascinating excursion. This is an area set aside for the original inhabitants of the Caribbean. Here craftspeople still engage in basket weaving, wood carving, and canoe building that has been passed down through generations.
The underwater world of Dominica is just as amazing as the rest of the island. There is fabulous diving here, in fact this is considered one of the top 10 dive destinations in the world. Volcanic craters, unspoiled coral walls, steep pinnacles, rare fish, and some of the best reef diving around with healthy reef systems due to a number of marine preserves around the island.
Of course, there’s no better way to experience these two lovely islands than on a luxury yacht charter. On a private charter yacht you awaken in a different, gorgeous port of call each morning, and enjoy different, spectacular scenery and activities every day. Select Yachts is pleased to offer excellent sailing and motor yachts for charter in these islands. We recommend yachts and crews that are very familiar with this itinerary, know the best harbors, anchorages, dive spots and shore excursions. They enthusiastically share their love of these islands with you.
A true classic that will surely maximize your enjoyment of these islands is the sailing yacht Shaitan of Tortola. This ocean class, 82-foot performance yacht was designed by renowned naval architect Ron Holland. Comfort, elegance, space, and speed make this an ideal hull for luxury charters around the world.
Another fabulous sailing yacht available for charter in Guadeloupe and Dominica is Moun Beu. This Lagoon 620 catamaran has an acclaimed layout for private charter. Moun Beu was designed by Van Peteghem & Lauriot Prévost, winner of more awards than any other multi-hull design firm in the world. Especially spectacular, Moun Beu features an expansive flybridge with upper lounge deck, a fabulous feature of this charter catamaran. Guest can relax in the shade of the expansive bimini, or sunworship on an array of sunpads.
The Caribbean Islands offer endless yacht charter opportunities. The Virgin Islands, trendy St. Maarten, St. Barths and Anguilla, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are superb charter destinations. Guadeloupe and Dominica are equally amazing, yet less often visited. For an authentic Caribbean experience of beauty and diversity, these islands top the charts.
Inspiration: The Caribbean Islands