Posted by: ktzefr | March 6, 2018

Limin’ in the Guadeloupe Islands

 

Rochers Caraibes…It is 2 a.m.  The rain is intense, a downpour without thunder or lightning, doing a wild dance on the rooftop.  It comes without warning and then stops suddenly, as if an enormous water spigot has been turned on and off in the sky.  A cool breeze slips through the open shutters.

Rochers Caraibes Eco-Lodge, Guadeloupe; Photo:KFawcett

It’s February in the Guadeloupe Islands.  Blue skies.  Showers.  Night rains.  Sunsets.  Every day is pretty much the same.  Eighties during the day, seventies at night.  Just about perfect.  Here at the edge of the rainforest on the island of Basse-Terre it often rains with the sun still shining.  Dark clouds sweep across the sky and disappear out to sea.  Most days there is a rainbow somewhere.  Most days the sunsets are spectacular.  At night the sky is a blanket of stars.

Rochers Caraibes, Guadeloupe; Photo:KFawcett

In the morning I lift a door/wall of the house and enjoy the outside from the kitchen table.  Lizards scamper across the porch and slip into the bougainvilea blossoms — a flick of a green tail and gone.  It’s birdwatching made easy — we fill the hummingbird and the sugar bird (bananaquit) feeders every day and sit with a cup of tea and wait.  There are places to go, things to do and see — but it’s tempting to do nothing.

Lizard in the night light; Photo:KFawcett

 

Bananaquits (sugarbirds) at the feeders; Photo:KFawcett

The view of the sea from this perch on the hillside is expansive.  There are palms and seagrape trees and many other varieties of trees, bushes, and giant clinging vines that I cannot name.  The bougainvillea is in full bloom with clusters of purple flowers clinging to the deck.  Far below, through a veritable wall of green, the beach is a small curve of black sand and pebbles with a few little cafes and a good dive shop.

Rochers Caraibes; Photo:KFawcett

It feels like we are a long way from the rest of the world, and yet there is so much nearby.  In town, a kilometer away, a boulangerie makes fresh croissants and French bread on early mornings, rich pastries for afternoon tea.  And the little market next to it has a good selection of French cheeses.  Ripe pineapples, bananas, oranges fill wooden crates on the porch fronts of tiny shops.

We stop to buy fruit for the week from a friendly local woman who busily instructs her young son to make room for us.  He has a collection of plastic cars that he has spread out amongst the crates and hurries to put them away in a box.  I grew up in a country store in Kentucky, and I enjoy shopping in small markets where local life happens, where it’s easy to meet people.  The Guadeloupe Islands offer those kinds of experiences every day.

I met Brigitte Barth via email several months before we went to Guadeloupe, and with her little bit of English and my miniscule bit of French, we managed to plan a trip.  Our stay at her place, Rochers Caraibes Eco-lodge, was like coming to the islands to visit a friend.  It felt like home.

Gorgeous Plage de Grand Anse, Deshaies, Guadeloupe; Photo:KFawcett

It was not fun to come back to snow and freezing temperatures and a wind storm that knocked out the power for two days!  I was ready to pack and go back to the Caribbean.  But then, again, I’m always ready to pack and go back to the Caribbean.

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NOTE:

Brigitte receiving an award for her lovely lodge.

Rochers Caraibes Eco-Lodge is located one kilometer from the small town of Pointe Noire on the west coast of Basse-Terre Island in the Guadeloupe archipelago.  It is easy driving distance to many fun attractions, including the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve, the beautiful Jardin Botanique in the town of Deshaies, a number of rum distillaries, the national park zoo with its many swinging bridges in the canopy of the rainforest, and the gorgeous beaches — Plage de Grand Anse, Plage de la Perle, Leroux, Reflet, and numerous others along the coast.  This part of Basse-Terre is also the site of filming for the British-French tv series, “Death in Paradise” now in its seventh season.  The town of Deshaies also stands out for its many superb restaurants — French, creole, Italian, and even a good burger joint.

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