Grande Terre, together with Basse Terre, is one of the two main islands that form Guadeloupe proper. Most tourists will arrive in Grande Terre first, at the international airport in Pointe a Pitre. Grand Terre Guadeloupe is sometimes known as the right wing of the butterfly, referring to the butterfly shape of Basse Terre and Grande Terre combined. The two islands are separated by a narrow stretch of sea water called the Rivière Salée, or salty river.
Unlike the larger volcanic Basse Terre, Grande Terre's geography primarily consists of rolling plains, and is therefore Guadeloupe's agricultural base. It is famous for its black, white, and golden beaches, and is home to most of Guadeloupe's most popular tourist beaches and resorts. Most of the tourist resorts line the southern coast of Grand Terre Guadeloupe, and the towns of Gosier, St Anne, and St Francois are good places to start your exploration of the coast. Gosier is also popular for its nightclubs and casinos, while St Anne is famous for its popular beach, and St Francois for its sand and rock formations.
The beaches to the south of Grande Terre face the Caribbean sea, and provide excellent opportunities for snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming in the warm oceans. A variety of tropical fish and sea animals can usually be seen in the waters, as well as colorful coral. To the north of Grande Terre, the beaches face the more turbulent Atlantic Ocean, and the waters are excellent for surfing. The beaches of Anse Bertrand on the northern tip of Grand Terre Guadeloupe are famous among surfers for their tall waves. The area was also historically cultivated as a sugar plantation, and remnants of the historical plantations survive.
For the best options for hotels and dining, the modern town of Pointe a Pitre is a good place to start. It is the largest city in Guadeloupe, and the region's economic center.