Les Saintes, Marie Galante & Guadeloupe

Les Saintes was a disappointment the first visit, after all the raving about it. You have to take a mooring buoy as they have filled the anchorages with them. Ours cost 11 euros a night but only after you pick it up do you see the tiny sign saying 40 feet 5.5 tons, so we had to move to another! The metal hoop on the top needs a moorfast type boathook, which luckily we had for the Solent but we saw others struggling to reach the hoop which is fixed to the buoy. We dinghied over to help another boat who could not moor up at all.

Customs is no longer in the Town Hall but in the LSM internet cafe, another D-I-Y task but only 1 terminal, so there was a queue. It cost 1 euro to clear out as well.

The town and area is very pretty but full of tourist shops and expensive bars. Not our favourite location I’m afraid.

Guadeloupe is a much bigger island with a huge dock in Pointe-a-Pitre near the capital. There’s a nice marina there surrounded by restaurants and shops but we chose to anchor just off the main shipping channel in excellent muddy holding for a week in November 2014. The supermarket was a bit of a walk, past the sports centre but the food was first class, with countless pates and cheeses at a fresh food counter. The town was awful with terribly run down buildings but one area had a nice park. Deshaies is still a favourite with the bakery at the top of the dinghy dock doing great mini donuts stuffed with chocolate, apple or vanilla. Cakes and bread to die for. The Cousteau marine park was a great place to dive.

We returned to the area in April, May, November and December 2014, spending a wonderful week in Deshaies and a few weeks in Les Saintes. Our opinion of the islands has changed as we now anchor in the rather deep water in Le Pain De Sucre rather than just taking the mooring. The shops are still dominated by those serving the tourists but a boulangerie and couple of supermarkets have reasonable food. We also found a couple of nice restaurants overlooking the sea. I walked to the other side of the main island, finding an interesting cemetery and small airstrip. We also explored the fort, a long walk up a hill, best done early in the day. The snorkelling at Pain De Sucre is excellent too.

All our posts from the months mentioned above have more information.

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