Guadeloupe intrigued me for years. This archipelago of Caribbean islands is famous for its unspoiled beaches, its Creole cuisine, its snorkeling and diving, its lush scenery, and its rum (or "rhum as they call it). Its two main isles, Grande Terre and Basse Terre, spread out like the wings of a beautiful butterfly. One of our prized memories from our two weeks in this corner of the French Antilles? A piece of paradise on Basse Terre called Grande Anse beach.
What makes Guadeloupe's Grande Anse so special? For thing, it has the crystal clear, aqua water you'd expect. And gorgeously clean tan-colored sand.
One thing you won't find? Hotels, condos, and swarms of people crowded in row after row of rental chairs. With over a mile of sand and no development allowed, Grande Anse offers travelers an idyllic and peaceful place to relax under the swaying palm trees as the alizés, the trade winds, languidly ruffle your hair.
You can locate Grande Anse in the north-western reaches of Basse Terre, in the Deshaies commune. Behind the beach is a large parking lot, where parking is free. Here you'll also find some open-air little beach restaurants which serve up amazing meals! In fact, just feet from the beach you can get a bargain 3 course lunch of Caribbean specialties. All this really does make for a perfect afternoon.
If you wander down either side of this 2 kilometer-long cove, you'll find sections where it's blissfully quiet. Almost like your own private sanctuary, in the Caribbean. Bring a towel, a book, some cold water...and you may never want to leave.
Grande Anse is truly a natural wonder, hugged on either side by green hills, and bringing with serenity and tropical grace. It's true that Guadeloupe has many other beaches just as unspoiled and free to access. But I have to admit, for its luxurious length and sweeping views, this one will always remain one of my very, very favorites.