One of the best things we did during our week on Guadeloupe was to take a boat out to a neighbouring island called Petite-Terre.
The island is a protected nature reserve which means no one lives on it aside from the lighthouse keeper, and the number of visitors allowed on the island each day is restricted.
Because we booked at the last minute (a mistake) we could only secure a spot on a speed boat. If we’d have the choice we would’ve probably taken a catamaran instead because the weather was rough in the morning, meaning the speed boat rammed into the waves, soaking us to the core.
It wasn’t a particularly warm morning either, so the 45 minute trip wasn’t the most fun of boat rides.
Arriving at the island, we anchored in a little cove and then wade to shore, carrying our day packs above our heads to protect them from the salty water.
Dave and I dumped our things on the shore and then headed up the trail to the lighthouse.
This 15 minute walk takes you through an iguana paradise and you can see the creatures everywhere – walking prehistorically down the path in front of you or just sitting in the trees.
From the cliffs surrounding the lighthouse you can get a fantastic view of the bay and the ocean.
We relaxed on the beach for the morning before sitting down to lunch with our group.
I practised my French with our newly-found friends as we ate a three course meal consisting of blood sausage, fish pate on baguette, chicken, salad, couscous and large pieces of freshly grilled fish. To finish we were served a banana flambée which is a traditional dish on Guadeloupe.
After lunch we spent a few hours snorkelling. The snorkelling is really good on Petite Terre – we swam with a large turtle, numerous lemon sharks and a giant sting ray.
Unfortunately we didn’t get the turtle on camera because we accidently left our GoPro behind, but you can see the other animals in the video below.
At around 3pm we went to an adjacent island where no one is allowed to walk on because it’s heavily protected. From the boat, we could spot about 50 turtles swimming in the area – they kept coming up for air and it was a great sight to see.
Our captain then took us back to Guadeloupe where we had one last swim from the boat before enjoying a sundowner drink on deck.
Although expensive, it was a great day and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see this beautiful part of the Caribbean.
What you need to know:
Cost: We went with Paillote Boat Excursions and the tickets cost €70 each. For us on a tight budget, this was quite expensive. But it included snorkel hire, transport to and from the island, a large lunch and wine to drink.
When to go: We went in the high season (January) and even then we didn’t have that great weather – it rained a little. It’s a little bit cheaper to go in the low season but I’m not sure if I’d want to risk it in rough seas – the day we went it was choppy enough already.
What else: Make sure you bring a change of clothes because you’ll get wet if you go on the speed boat. Bring a book to read because if you don’t like snorkelling there’s not much to do on the island. And of course, pack your bathers, flip-flops, a towel and plenty of sunscreen.