From the sky, Guadeloupe looks like a beautiful green butterfly floating on the blue waters, two wings for two very different islands considering their characteristics, Basse Terre, mountainous and luxurious, and Grande Terre, flat and dry.
Situated 1900 miles from NYC (USA), with 1,780 sq km of surface, Guadeloupe is the biggest island of the Petites Antilles.
Separated from its big sister by the River Salée, in the east, you'll find Grande Terre. It belongs to a mountainous chain which is more ancient and distinct than the one in Basse Terre. It is constituted of a plain eaten by mangrove in the west, by an anarchic succession of hillsides in the south-west, called the grands fonds, by a dry plateau in the north, eaten by wild and ripped coasts in the east, and a plateau in the south, bordered by the coral barrier. Its relief may be great but Grande Terre was nonetheless less accessible and less populated for a long time. Today, its beaches and its low rainfall make it a veritable El Dorado for tourists in search of postcard scenery.
In the west, Basse Terre offers welcoming reliefs with clouds carried by the Alizés. Essentially mountainous and of volcanic origin, its chain is relatively recent, even if some mountain tops are classed as eroded. The Soufrière which reaches its highest point at 1,467 meters is a volcano whose eternal smoke and gas testify to its activity. Currently dormant, a few episodes in 1977 nonetheless led to the evacuation of its hillsides. Today, the town Basse Terre at its foot, with the headquarters of the guadeloupe Region Guadeloupe and its prefecture does not seem to be afraid of the "old lady" under close surveillance.
Basse Terre, which is more humid because of the clouds accumulated at its foothills is the tropical forest kingdom. Green and luxurious, carpeted with forests grouped together in the Natural Park of Guadeloupe, with its streams and cascades which run through it of which the Chutes du Carbet are the most well-known, Basse Terre is a source of exotic and enchanting surroundings for its many visitors.
In the center, the mountainous massif is composed of an active volcanic zone, around the Soufrière, and an intermediary volcanic zone whose worn Peaks stretch to the North-west point. In the West, protected from the wind and rain by the mountains, bordered by the Carribean sea, this stretch of land with coasts cut into creeks are part of the « Côte sous le vent ». In the North-East point, in the wind, or Capesterre, the hillsides of the mountains sliding towards the sea are a privileged place for agriculture.
Both through the quality of its water and coast and the splendor of its rivers and cascades, Guadeloupe fully deserves its name of "island with gorgeous waters". From the South Riviera of Grande Terre to the luxurious cathedrals of the tropical forest, Guadeloupe offers two antagonistic faces for the greatest enjoyment of its visitors.