Rising from the Caribbean in the Leeward Islands and Lesser Antilles, the archipelago of Guadeloupe is a geological masterpiece of exhilarating adventure. Made up of more than 12 islands and islets, the volcanic soil, warm climate, and generous precipitation have created a lush playground of rock formations just begging to be discovered on any number of captivating canyoning adventures.
Most of the population resides on the two main islands of Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre. While Grande-Terre has scenic beaches and plains, Basse-Terre boasts the volcanic splendor that provides a wealth of gorges, rivers, and thriving flora for an unforgettable canyoning experience. Dense forests are packed with waterfalls and hiking trails, perfect for any intrepid tourist.
The allure of the beaches is only enhanced by the incredible canyoning options at the heart of Basse-Terre. After speaking with Laurence of Guadeloupe Canyoning, an adventure outfit based in the territory, we got to the bottom of this picture-perfect active holiday location. Laurence and the crew have been giving top notch tours of Guadeloupe’s canyons for over 20 years, providing spectacular programs for all levels of canyoner.
With the help of Laurence and the Guadeloupe Canyoning team, we have a helpful guide that will prepare you to abseil, swim, jump, and dive into fun on Guadeloupe. If you were looking for the ultimate outdoor vacation, canyoning on Guadeloupe is a world-class choice with enough programs to keep adrenaline junkies and families equally thrilled!
Guadeloupe might just seem like another beautiful Caribbean island, but it is so much more than picturesque beaches and relaxing holiday vibes. If you had your heart set on a bit of excitement and adventure, here are a few reasons to head straight for the canyons of this French territory.
The two main islands steal the show from the rest of the archipelago, and rightfully so. Laurence credits the diversity of the two main islands’ features – one beachy and one active. Visit the wild and woolly Basse-Terre by day for hour after hour of adrenaline-pumping canyoning action. Afterwards, unwind on the luxury-soaked beaches of Grande-Terre and bring your trip full circle.
Even for athletes, there are a number of phenomenal routes for everyone. The Guadeloupe Canyoning guides take pride in offering a tiered system of programs, allowing tourists and travelers to choose the excursion that best suits them. Grab a green-level program for an easy introduction to the sport, or challenge your mettle on the long jumps and rappels of a black-level program. This ensures safe and satisfying progress down every single canyon.
Guadeloupe is beautiful in every way, but its natural wilderness is out of this world. Laurence says that the mountains, including the 1,467-meter La Soufriere, is responsible for providing nearly 300 rivers of twists and turns through stunning gorges. While cruising down these delicious waterways, make sure you look up at the lush greenery surrounding the courses.
The incredible plant life that can be seen as you make your way up and down the canyons includes mahogany, chestnut, orchids, wild pineapples, and lichens. You can spot mangroves the minute you hit the beach. Ferns and fruits are just as common, some of which were imported to the islands over the past few centuries.
Let’s face it. You came to go canyoning. The water quality in Guadeloupe is second to none, from its origin, temperature, and quantity. Laurence claims that rivers number about 300, including the Salee River that separates the two main islands. Carving out path after path through the volcanic rocks, these flowing trails peruse the most intriguing places in the forests and wilderness of the country.
If you happen to take a dip in the delightful pools of water, you will be pleased to meet lukewarm water, says Laurence. Rains come and go, but they don’t tend to compromise the integrity or pleasure of a canyoning program. The climate couldn’t be more perfect, averaging a tantalizing temperature in the mid-20s (Celsius) all year round.
Most canyoning programs take advantage of the large island Basse-Terre and its unparalleled geology. The volcanic composition is a gift to ambitious adventurers who want to dip into the winding waters of Guadeloupe and see the best trips in the Caribbean. Let’s take a look at the best choices you will find on this remarkable island and canyoning paradise.
If you arrive in Guadeloupe with your family, or without any real canyoning experience, you might want to take a green- or blue-level canyoning course. These are designed to introduce you to the wide world of canyoning on Basse-Terre. The Green Canyons of Ti and Acomat are the best family-friendly spots, but Laurence has more to say on that later.
Ravine Chaude is a great choice for greenhorns, especially if you wanted to get a feel for the sport before taking on a more dedicated course. Focusing on waterfalls that aren’t too complex, you can expect to learn basic canyoning technique and equipment usage in a comfortable, safe, and fun environment.
Anyone with a bit of an adventure streak might enjoy a trip to Gourbeyre. This location is a bit more physical and technical, so a certain physical fitness is necessary to enjoy it. Located within Guadeloupe National Park and near La Soufriere, you will come across rappels, slides, and jumps, giving you a full taste of the sport. From the waterfalls, you will feel immersed in the iconic greenery of Basse-Terre.
The canyon at Riviere Ferry is also poised to test your intermediate abilities with its appealing waterworks and exciting technical features. Rappels here reach 30 meters, all with a rainforest backdrop. Some slippery spots and a scenic approach make this a fan favorite for Laurence and other travelers.
Traveling through the jungle of Riviere Ferry. Photo courtesy of Guadeloupe Canyoning.
For the seasoned veterans out there who want the most challenging option, consider taking a run at Cascade Vauchelet. This electrifying canyon requires rappelling proficiency, and while it also includes rappels of up to 30 meters, you should be able to hold your own on the ropes and equipment. Six rappels and lush vegetation make this an especially captivating objective.
Laurence counts Bois Malaise as one of the best expert canyons in Guadeloupe. The grueling hour and a half approach will set you up for the excitement ahead, which includes 20-plus meter rappels and a few jumps after. The waterfall that flows into the river is breathtaking, providing one more reason to endure the thrills of an enchanting canyon paradise.
Guadeloupe is an idyllic location at the center of Caribbean splendor, so you can have a great time here all year round. The dry season, considered summer, lasts from roughly January to May, while the rainy season lasts from July to November.
Rain is a feature of the climate and has helped the lush plant life flourish on the islands. You can try to plan around the rainy season, but it doesn’t hinder your ability to enjoy a great trip. Programs can be modified if water levels become too high.
Canyoning with your family is encouraged here, and with good reason. There are phenomenal introductory routes and courses that will introduce your children and first-time athletes to the landscape of Guadeloupe as well as the fun sport of canyoning. Canyoning at Acomat in Pointe-Noire and at Ti Canyon in Saint-Claude are perfect for the whole family.
Guadeloupe Canyoning has prepared routes for children as early as eight years old. The progressive nature of some of the canyons allows for routes without ropes. Children can simply have a blast in pristine pools of water. Depending on the age, skill, and desires of the family, Laurence says that there are canyons with three rappels, even five or six. The terrain is extremely accommodating to families.
Canyoning as an activity is a wonderful way to get your kids comfortable in the gorges and waterways of Guadeloupe and beyond. Programs can always be modified in time and difficulty to accommodate all of the children and members of your group. Feeling safe in the outdoors while learning about the wilderness of a Caribbean paradise is an unforgettable experience. For active family holidays, you couldn’t ask for a better option.
The size of the two main islands and the surrounding islets in the archipelago are sure to please everyone, even those who want a vacation beyond canyoning. Exploring the flora and fauna of Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre is an absolute must. While canyoning your way through the territory, you may notice some geologic and geographic features that are too good to pass up.
One of the best options for island exploration is climbing La Soufriere, says Laurence. With the help of a guide, you can check out the craters of this active volcano and spend two days exploring the incredible scenery of Basse-Terre. Including the 1,467-meter summit into the itinerary gives you a chance to view Guadeloupe from the sweeping panoramas of its highest point.
With a nightlife and beach scene to complement your adventure, there is plenty to love about this archipelago. When you aren’t off blazing a trail through the vivid greenery within its wilderness, you can appreciate the finer side of the island that isn’t associated with fulfilling adventure.
Even though it is located in the Lesser Antilles, getting to Guadeloupe is fairly straightforward. One of the most common ways, especially from the United States, is to fly to Puerto Rico before transferring to the daily flight to Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe. American Airlines and the regional airline American Eagle provide flights of this nature. Air France, Delta, and Air Canada also fly to Guadeloupe.
Domestic travel is also pretty seamless. You can rent a car at the airport and it is a great way to get around. The size of the territory is small enough to manage driving to most areas without issue. Cabs are available, though they can be an expensive option.
Head to the French Caribbean with your canyoning gear ready to go! The journey of a lifetime awaits, and you will be captivated with the rugged wilderness of gorges once you arrive in Guadeloupe. So what are you waiting for? Make your adventure dreams come true and book your canyoning trip to Guadeloupe NOW!
Thanks again to Laurence and Guadeloupe Canyoning for your help on this post!
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