Le Desirade

Le Desirade may be the place to go for those who truly want to get away from the tourist crowd in Guadeloupe. This small island is anchored six miles away from St Francois on the eastern point of Grande Terre. Isolated and windswept, Le Desirade Guadeloupe has fewer than 2,000 inhabitants, most of whom live in the town of Beausejour, a charming fishing village. The topography of the land most consists of a grassy plateau, which culminates in a mountain in the center of the island. It was, interestingly, a leper colony until 1948, and the remains of this institution can still be seen.

Today, however, Le Desirade has a happier function. For tourists eager to get to some of Guadeloupe's secluded beaches, Le Desirade fits the description. An easy boat ride traverses the short distance between St Francois and Le Desirade, with boats departing daily. Once there, tourists have the impression they have left civilization behind, with pristine beaches, palm trees, and nary another tourist to be found. Most of the beaches are on the south side of the island, and there are some small hotels and snack bars for tourists who may want to stay the night.

Scuba diving and snorkeling are particularly recommended activities for La Desirade, as the pristine condition of the water and coral reefs means you will see an unprecedented amount of wildlife. Scuba divers may wish to visit the Cave of Sharks, where you can swim with barracuda, sharks, manta rays, and turtles. There are also several hiking trails that wind through the shrubs of the plateau. The longest one is about twelve miles long and allows you to walk around the entire island in under four hours. Of course, you may also choose simply to lie under the palm trees on the beach, and enjoy the peace and quiet of your escape from the crowds

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