A place of history and knowledge
Located in the southwestern part of the island and considered a suburb of Basse-Terre city, the town of Baillif was formed in 1637 and lies between the Les Pères and Baillif rivers.
If you follow national route 2 connecting the city of Basse-Terre to Pointe-Noire, you’ll spy the Père Labat Tower. It was originally part of several fortresses built in Baillif to protect the region against an invasion by the English, and was officially designated an historic monument in 1979.
Baillif is today home to a commercial and industrial district that rivals the one in Jarry, where you can dine and do your shopping as well. It also includes a small regional airport, making Baillif an ideal launching point for the islands to the south.
Size2 430 HA
Number of inhabitants5 837
Made from the earth with love
Terre-de-Haut is the southernmost part of Guadeloupe. For many years it had strategic value for military purposes. Now the most visited of Guadeloupe’s islands, “Tèdého” offers an ideal setting for a holiday.
Terre-de-Haut offers wide-ranging appeal, from its charming multi-coloured houses to its small fishing port and the majestic Fort Napoléon, which bears witness to Guadeloupe’s dramatic history. The island’s first inhabitants, arriving from Brittany and Normandy, began a long tradition of fishing from dinghies known as “santoises”, which are still in use today and add to the island’s distinctive character.
Try the island’s celebrated sugar loaf (considered the Seventh Wonder of the World!) and local specialties such as the delicate tart with a coconut filling known as a “tourment d’amour”. If you’re seeking a tranquil, authentic experience and locally made products, Terre-de-Haut is the right place!
Number of inhabitants1 729
A city of art and history
The city of Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe’s administrative capital, derives its name from its geographical site and from a sailing term that means a place protected from wind. Located at the foot of the famous La Soufrière volcano, Basse-Terre is especially rich in history.
Charles Houël, governor and seneschal of Guadeloupe, purchased the land in 1643 from the Compagnie des Isles d’Amérique and ordered the construction of a fort, forcing residents to move to the opposite bank of the nearby river. In 1702 the English set fire to the city and occupied it for seven years, an event that spurred the growth of Pointe-à-Pitre. The Second World War accelerated the city’s decline.
Now officially designated by France a City of Art and History, Basse-Terre is a perfect example of Creole architecture since the arrival of the first colonists. And if you’re keen on history and culture, pay a visit to Notre Dame de Guadeloupe cathedral, one of the oldest in the islands.
A community in constant change, Basse-Terre offers both a traditional picture of Guadeloupe as well as its more contemporary side!
Number of inhabitants12 410
The Salako island
Famous for its allspice plantation, the only one of its kind in Guadeloupe, Terre-de-Bas was long overlooked in favour of nearby Terre-de-Haut, but today it’s enjoying a renaissance thanks to its many tourist attractions.
From the beach at Grande-Anse to the Petite-Anse district, which also serves as the island’s administrative center, everything on Terre-de-Bas serves as an invitation to relax.
Whether you’re an occasional hiker or a pro, you can find a trail that suits you. Beginners might choose the Dessus de l’Etang (45 minutes), while the really adventurous hikers will want to try the Trace des Falaises (3 hours)!
Whether you’re visiting Saint Nicholas church with its unconventional roof resembling an overturned boat, the beach at Grande-Anse, the ruins of the Grand Baie pottery works or the small fishing port at Petite-Anse, remember to wear your Salako (a traditional fishing hat) and inhale – you’re on Terre-de-Bas!
Number of inhabitants1 269
The must-see for deep-sea divers
Bouillante – Guadeloupe’s center for scuba diving, big-game fishing and tourism on the leeward coast – is one of the oldest communities in the archipelago. Named for its hot springs, Bouillante offers some serious attractions for tourists!
It’s world-renowned for the Cousteau Reserve, the deep-sea diving site off Pigeon Islet, as well as for the bay of Anse à la Barque, long-time home to buccaneers and considered one of the safest places in Guadeloupe during a hurricane. Still largely undeveloped, the bay will entrance you with its natural charm, what with its lush green mountains and deep blue sea!
Bouillante is also the site of a geothermal power plant showcasing French technology, along with the Parc Zoologique des Mamelles, truly a modern-day Noah’s ark that is home to some 85 animal species from the Caribbean and Guyana.
You can also visit its church, which dates from 1827 and was built with the financial support of local landowners, who at that time were raising crops ranging from coffee and cocoa to vanilla, cotton and tobacco.
Size6 973 HA
Number of inhabitants7 336
Capesterre Belle Eau
Where Christopher Columbus came on shore...
It was in this region, at a site called Sainte-Marie, that Christopher Columbus landed on November 4, 1493 at the time of his second voyage. Known for the richness of its soil, Capesterre Belle Eau has an economy primarily focused on agriculture. If the mood takes you, visit the banana and sugar cane plantations nearby, or stop by the Fabrique de Sirop de Batterie Moysan to sample the famous sugar cane syrup!
When slavery was abolished in 1848, the Indian workers who replaced the black slaves erected the Changy temple, one of Guadeloupe’s most beautiful Hindu temples and a genuine curiosity in this tropical landscape; visitors are permitted under certain conditions.
Don’t miss the celebrated Chutes du Carbet, one of the most impressive waterfalls to be found in the Lesser Antilles!
Size10 300 HA
Number of inhabitants19 568
Mairie de Capesterre Belle Eau
97130 Capesterre-Belle-Eau + 590 (0)5 86 42 23
The water city
This peaceful community in southern Basse-Terre offers the only passageway between the windward and leeward sides of the island. It’s name for Admiral Gourbeyre, who organised rescue efforts for the local residents after the earthquake of 8 February 1843.
As the home to numerous religious communities since the 17th century, including the Carmelites in Dolé, the Brothers of Charity in St Charles and the Jesuits in Bisdary, Goubeyre was at the forefront of the revolutionary struggle, and it was only in 1837 that this so-called “Donkey’s Back” region was recognised as an official district.
Offering mineral water springs, spas and numerous hiking trails, Gourbeyre is a place where calm, tranquility and living well go hand in hand.
Size2 252 HA
Number of inhabitants7 642
Home to water and greenery
Lying at an altitude of 530 m, Saint-Claude is the highest community in the Lesser Antilles. Nicknamed the Volcano City because of its geographical location, Saint-Claude has been a farming region since the early colonial period, producing mainly coffee and sugar cane.
It’s been the site of numerous historical events, notably in Matouba, where black officers once chose to kill themselves rather than submit to slavery.
Now a bedroom community for Basse-Terre, Saint-Claude enjoys a healthy climate, with sulphurous waters that are known throughout Guadeloupe for their miraculous healing properties.
With its thermal spring water, numerous hiking trails and excursions to La Soufrière volcano, Saint-Claude is Guadeloupe’s undisputed capital of ecotourism, offering a fresh perspective on the Caribbean!
Size3 430 HA
Number of inhabitants10 327
From pre-Columbian civilisation to sugar cane plantations...
As you might guess, Trois-Rivières lies at the intersection of three rivers: the Trou aux Chiens, the Petit Carbet and the Grande Anse. Located between sea and mountainside in southern Basse-Terre, the town can point to numerous assets.
Since 1640, its extremely fertile soil was first used to grow cassava and yams, and later tobacco, cotton, vanilla and coffee, before finally being given over to sugar cane in the 18th century.
As a cradle of pre-Columbian civilisation, Trois-Rivières is also home to the fascinating Parc Archéologique des Roches Gravées, named a historic monument in 2013.
From the beach at Grande-Anse to the Banana Museum, from a simple seaside stroll to an inland hike... there’s no doubt that Trois-Rivières has something to offer everyone!
Size2 934 HA
Number of inhabitants8 738
A centre of embroidery
Vieux-Fort has recently emerged as a highly popular spot among surfers! Located on the southern end of Basse-Terre between its windward and leeward coasts, the town is strategically placed. Once the home of a pre-Columbian population that was displaced by French colonists, the town initially arose around food and vegetable gardens.
Built in 1936 for the colony’s defence, Vieux-Fort became a center for traditional embroidery in 1980 and now warmly welcomes visitors.
With its surfing opportunities, its town clock – the oldest on the island – and its celebrated lighthouse, which began operating in 1955 and marks the entrance to the Basse-Terre harbor, the community of Vieux-Fort certainly isn’t lacking in attractions!
Number of inhabitants1 617
Land of the Valleys
Vieux-Habitants is home to the oldest church in Guadeloupe. Located in the western part of Basse-Terre island, this small windward community holds plenty of surprises!
Erected in the early 1700s on the site of an earlier chapel built by Dominican friars, Saint Joseph’s church is notable for its multi-roof bell tower, constructed by builders hailing from France’s Limousin region.
Vieux-Habitants was one of the first areas occupied by the French during the early period of colonization, and as various archaeological discoveries from the Duplessis riverbed have shown, the Caribs inhabited the site as well.
In the 1700s, indigo, cotton and tobacco plantations gave way to coffee production, which is ideally suited to the region. Be sure to tour the original Habitation de la Grivelière coffee plantation and taste one of the world’s best arabica coffees!
From its unusual church to its small natural port – an ideal spot for a pleasure boat ride – Vieux-Habitants offers any number of reasons to stop and stay a while.
Size5 870 HA
Number of inhabitants7 611