ISLANDS OF GUADELOUPE: LA DESIRADE
The Désirade is only 10 km from Guadeloupe, and yet
gives you the idea that its on the other side of the world: the lack
of visitors, its wild appearance, dry landscape makes it a kingdom
to iguanas. This has all helped to keep this island unique. Just 22
km2 the most untouched island of Guadeloupe. Inhabited exclusively
along the south coast by a mere 1700 inhabitants, La Désirade is
only 11 km long and 2 wide and is characterized by a plateau that
reaches 275Meters in height and renowned for its beautiful views. A
one road island, that runs its length, the island offers tourists
some beautiful beaches and a calm environment. The story behind the
leprosarium and its confinement of the "undesirable" king of France
is of interest. Desirade boasts superb beaches at Petite Terre,
between the Désirade and Les Saintes.
|The beaches of
The beaches are located on the
south coast of the island, all are shady and protected
by coral reefs. There are several small snacks & small
restaurants, but in low season, they are not always
Anse Petite Rivière - Baie Mahault
Anse d'Echelle - Pointe des
Plage du Souffleur - Beauséjour
|Diving spots in Désirade
Desirade is a must in Guadeloupe
in terms of diving. It particularly rich, virgin,
untouched and all the fish size xxl. Suitable for
qualified scuba divers, with at least level 1.
The best spot
The sharks cave is a spectacular dive of 22 meters.
You'll find barracudas, sharks, rays, manta rays and
turtles. For 2° level divers.
The chaos is a maze of rocks between 15/20 meters a
magnificent marine environment with gigantic fish.
There are quiet a few trails giving
walking fans the opportunity to discover the real
Desirade. The longest is approximately 3 hours, 5 hours
to do the full tour of the island (20 km).
Desirade can be seen in one
day, it is enough to take a look round the island and
appreciate and get to know its beautiful beaches. In 15
minutes you can get from one side to the other. The
mountain road,which is only doable in 4x4 takes two
You can also sleep at Désirade, which we recommended for
those looking for true peace and quiet. There is a
choice of hotels and chez l'habitant, but tourist
facilities and restaurants are not numerous.
coral reefs (Cayes), it is the port of arrival for the
ferry from Guadeloupe, Beauséjour is a small fishing
village that has maintained its traditional ways. A
point of interest is its cemetery, with its simple the
tombs are simple but all decorated with conch shells.
The leprosarium was the symbol of
Désirade for more than two centuries, from 1728 to 1956.
Lepers we required to migrate to the island with
sufficient livestock and food for six months
Accommodation was assigned to them in a way that they
would be self sufficient. The locals would mistreat the
sick. They would beat them with sticks, use them as
slaves and plunder there land & belongings. It was only
at the beginning of the 1800's that a hospital was built
for them and a doctor assigned. Today you can visit the
ruins of the leprosarium and the old cotton mill at 6
km. from Baie-Mahault.
Le quartier des
France deported some of its most disruptive members of
the aristocratic families. The “Camp des relégués” or
"The internment camp”, on Desirade was in place for just
a short period, but many of the aristocracy chose to
remain on the island.
At 1,5 km. south of Beausejour.
|Les Ilets de Petite
Petite Terre, a nature reserve, is a
coral archipelago located between La Desirade and Marie
Galante. Consisting of two islands, Terre de Bas and
Terre de Haut. Petite Terre is a little paradise
inhabited only by just two guards and the iguanas. You
can get to it from Saint François on mainland
Guadeloupe, where you will find daily excursions to the
island. You can also find other sail boats and
excursions which visit the spot. To be avoided on
weekends and Easter weekend.
To get to La Désirade
From Saint Francois, Guadeloupe, there are daily crossings to
Beauséjour, one in the morning and one in mid-afternoon. The
crossing takes about 45 minutes. The same is true for the
return, one early morning and one late afternoon. Boarding and
ticket sales at the port of Saint François - About 24 euros
return. Be warned ... the sea is pretty rough
plane: Tropic Airlines tel.
0590 202 018
How to get about
There is just one
main road linking Pointe des Colibris on the west, to the former
weather station (soon to be restored and will become a museum)
on the east of the island.
Scooter is an ideal means of transport for getting around the
island. If you want to try Route de la Montagne how-evr you will
need a 4x4. You can hire a small Suzuki Jimmy at the port of
There are not many scooter rentals on the island, it is
advisable to book in advance.
There is only one petrol station on the island, at Beauséjour.
Only one-atm/cash machine in Beausejour