Destination Guide: Pointe-a-Pitre
Beach life, fresh seafood and Afro-Caribbean flavour
Grande Terre forms the eastern wing of butterfly-shaped Guadeloupe. Begin in colourful Pointe-à-Pitre, a city bursting with markets and mansions, then retreat to your barefoot beach paradise.
Wash down salty seafood with sugary punch. Azure waters provide an abundant natural food supply - watch fishermen trade their catch at La Halle aux Poissons. The Covered Market spills over with mangoes and guavas, ripe for juicing in punches spiked with rum. Breakfast on local coconut-filled cassava flatbread, or try hearty clam chowder broth.
Switch off on the sands or head out to sea. Comb bustling beaches at Gosier, just east along the coast from Pointe-à-Pitre, or take the boat to its uninhabited islet. Keep heading east to snorkel secluded coral reefs just off St Anne's coast. St François' seabeds are excellent for surfing lessons, and for soaring over the archipelago by seaplane.
Save on French scents and souvenirs. The best shops cluster around Pointe-à-Pitre's Rue Frébault selling traditional jazz-style biguine music and discounted French perfumes. Pick up handmade doudou dolls, coral and bamboo, or head north for white rum at Le Moule's Bellevue distillery.
Dress up for balmy clubbing and calypso nights. After dinner, dance troupes tour the hotels. Get lucky at the casino in Gosier before dancing to a fusion of calypso, zouk and merengue at the island's best clubs.