Hiking Guadeloupe National Park

Guadeloupe is often described as an island shaped like a pair of butterfly wings.

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Hiking Guadeloupe National Park

The Caribs called Guadeloupe "Karukera," island of beautiful waters, and considering all the hot water springs and tall tumbling falls, it was aptly named.

Guadeloupe is sometimes characterized as the least sophisticated of the French West Indies, as if the snobbish veneer of Martinique is something to strive for. However, Guadeloupe is far more tourist friendly, and that's what counts.

Using the butterfly wing description, the island definitely is divided into two parts. One is Grand-Terre, the other Basse-Terre. The two wings couldn't be more different.

Grand-Terre, the flatter part of the island with several sandy coasts, is home to the capital city of Pointe-a-Pitre, most of the industry, and the majority of resorts.

Basse-Terre is a land of tall-forested mountains, with a huge, smoldering volcano that caused a massive evacuation from this part of the island in 1976. A walk up the steam-vented sides of this restless volcano, La Soufriere, is an amazing experience. I rate it the second best of all Caribbean hikes.

Comparatively speaking, an ascent up 4,813-foot La Soufriere is not as difficult or as dangerous as it might first sound: Local schoolchildren regularly make field trips to the summit of what they fondly term the "Old Lady."

About 40 percent of Basse-Terre is still a tropical forest of gommier and mahogany trees, climbing vines and orchids. On the warmer coastal levels, bananas, sugar cane, coffee and vanilla plants account for most of the land usage.

Basse-Terre is home to the 74,100-acre Parc National, a green and mountainous expanse that has no gates, no admission fees and no opening and closing hours. That means you can walk its 180 miles of hiking trails whenever you wish, taking days if you like. And there are plenty of competent guides to lead you.

Arrival Briefing
What You Need to Know If You Go

Guadeloupe History Capsule
The British were lured away with
the gift of Canada

Exploring Pointe-A-Pitre Afoot
Easier than exploring it by car

Hikes of The National Park

National Park Background Info
About camping and hiking guides

Hiking Difficulty Ratings Explained
So there won't be any surprises

Route de la Traversee
Several good walks along this scenic highway

Hikes On or Near La Soufriere

La Soufriere Hike
A circuit of the volcano

La Soufriere Summit Climb

Carmichael Trail

Col de l'Echelle (Ladder Hill)

La Citerne (Cistern)

Piton Tarade

Trail of the Armistice

Karukera Trail

Pas Du Roy & Galion Waterfall Trails

Nez Casse

The Delgres Trail

Vauchelet Cascade Trail

Heights of Papaye

The Matouba Waterfall

First Carbet Waterfall

Second Carbet Waterfall

Third Carbet Waterfall

The Zigzag Route

Trail of the Ponds

Hikes Near Gourbeyre

Grand Etang Circle

La Madeleine Trail

The Bassin Bleu and the Parabole

Le Houelmont