Carbet Falls offers the opportunity to discover a different side to the island of Guadeloupe. If you want to explore beyond the spectacular beaches, resorts, and dining that draw most travelers, there is another side of the island that will be firmly planted in your memory: national parks. In French, the name is Chutes du Carbet, and these are a series of waterfalls along the Carbet River in Guadeloupe National Park. As one of the most popular tourist destinations on the island, these impressive waterfalls attract more than 400,000 visitors per year. Located on the lower slopes of La Soufriere Volcano, this is a popular spot for Guadeloupe hiking.
Carbet Falls also has interesting historical significance. Christopher Columbus made a note about the falls in his journal during 1493. There are three separate waterfalls set in the tropical rainforest. All three aren’t easy accessible, so some visitors settle for not seeing all of the Chutes du Carbet. The first and highest waterfall plunges more than 410 feet. Persistent visitors will hike a long, steep trail to see this waterfall, the most impressive of all three. Because this part of Guadeloupe National Park isn’t the easiest to reach, it doesn’t receive as many visitors as the second waterfall.
The second cascade is known for its convenient accessibility and welcomes the most visitors. The view of this 360-foot waterfall is what most travelers think of when they hear Carbet Falls. The path to reach this site is paved and well designed. The difference between these first two waterfalls is only about 50 feet, and the second option is impressive as well. Less adventurous travelers will want to visit only this second cascade, while others might set out to see all three. It is only recommended that experience hikers attempt to see all three, as there is some challenging terrain to cover in the rain forest.
The third Chutes du Carbet is small in height at only 66 feet, but has the greatest water volume of any waterfall on the whole island of Guadeloupe. This waterfall is especially recommended only for experienced hikers. Only accessible on foot, this part of the Guadeloupe National Park has a reputation for being especially challenging. If your fitness is good and you want to give it a try, it might be an idea to hire a local guide. A knowledgeable guide can help you to stay on course, suggest what to pack along, and will illuminate certain details about the rainforest that you might not otherwise be exposed to.
In recent years, there have been some problems at Carbet Falls as a result of earthquakes. If you’re planning a trip, be sure to read up on the latest information about the Guadeloupe National Park to be sure that the waterfalls are able to be seen by visitors. One of the most stunning sites on the island, Carbet Falls in itself makes the trip to Guadeloupe worthwhile. Take a day away from the stunning sandy beaches to experience a different perspective on this gorgeous tropical island and you won’t regret it.
Image: ph_micchei (flickr)