A perfect Little Caribbean island


Senior Insider
A Perfect Little Caribbean Island

August 15th, 2015 | 12:39 pm



The best-kept secret in the French Caribbean
By Alexander Britell
TERRE-DE-HAUT — It’s not hard to get here. But it’s hard enough.
It’s a short, twice-daily ferry ride from the tall cliffs of Trois-Rivieres on Guadeloupe’s island of Basse-Terre.

There are flights here, very small flights, into a very small airport.
That’s it. Regular trips, consistent trips, but nothing direct and nothing frequent.

It’s just hard enough to get here that this little fishing village with its own island has retained a peculiar kind of small-island charm.

It is very French, a slice of Brittany in the West Indies, and also very Caribbean, with rows of Creole-style houses on the main road in town.

This is the best-kept secret in the French Caribbean, the tucked-away corner of a larger archipelago, Guadeloupe, that has, due to decades without direct US flights, remained hidden away from just about any tourist who doesn’t speak French.

Terre-de-Haut has almost no cars, just a slew of golf carts and solar-powered electric carts and scores of mopeds, driven by tourists and locals alike.
Indeed, if you come here and don’t get one of the rental carts in the first half hour, you’ll end up on a moped, or taking long strolls.

The island, which is part of Guadeloupe’s picturesque Les Saintes archipelago-within-an-archipelago, has everything one seeks in a Caribbean island: a robust group of top-level restaurants; just-lively-enough bars serving Ti’ Punch or champagne; a few art galleries; and, most importantly, some stunning beaches.

The latter is what brings many travelers here to Pain-du-Sucre, which means Sugar Loaf and is a diminutive version of the famous Sugar Loaf in Brazil; it takes a relatively flat 15 minute hike to get here, but the finish line is worth it — a rocky bornhardt overlooking a beach so clear it can’t be described by any kind of glass or alcoholic beverage. That is true of almost all the coastal water here.

There are not many hotels, but just enough: Le Bois Joli, the closest thing to a resort, with a beach, a swimming pool, a restaurant and several wings with superb views of the archipelago.

Then there is the funky Les Petits Saints, a high-design boutique in the hills.
Above: the view from a room at Le Bois Joli.

And then my favorite, LoBleu, which is not luxurious by any means but it is clean and kind and seduces you into thinking you’ve walked right into the plot of an old summer book. It’s right on the main beach in town, too, usually crowded only by bobbing fishing boats.
The best room view at Lo Bleu.

And then there is the food. Smoked marlin. Foie gras. Accras de morue. Magret de canard. A tart-style dessert called tourment d’amour. Every meal is greater than the last. And no that’s not travel hyperbole. It is as good as that, or better.

You’d think it was the perfect little Caribbean island. That’s what I think.
Before I came here, I heard it was like St Barth before it became St Barth.

It’s just a bit less than 2,000 people, but when you walk the silent streets you feel increasingly confident that it will never become St Barth. And that’s a good thing.
Because it will remain Terre-de-Haut.

Adventure, CJ Travel, Experience, News


Senior Insider
Looks perfectly amazing...so quaint and laid back. Will have to add to our bucket list. Nothing will replace St. Barth in our hearts though!


Senior Insider
A very well kept secret. Why is there nothing one sees about it anywhere as it looks beautiful?

From Wikipedia-

Terre-de-Haut is a commune in the French overseas department of Guadeloupe, including Terre-de-Haut Islandand a few other small uninhabited islands of the archipelago (les Roches Percées; Îlet à Cabrit; Grand-Îlet; la Redonde). It is the most populous island of the archipelago of the les Saintes. The Fort Napoléon is located in this commune.
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[h=2]Tourism[edit][/h]Terre-de-Haut is the most tourist-friendly municipality in les Saintes archipelago, with hotels bungalows, bars and restaurants. There is little formalized activity, but one can tour the restored Fort Napoleon or rent mopeds. Located there is the beautiful Plage de Pompierre beach,[SUP][1][/SUP] as well as small guest-houses, eateries, French-Creole shops, and an active harbour where ferries passengers from Guadeloupe arrive. The local people make a living from fishing and from tourism. Visitors are free to explore without modern-day intrusion. The Euro is coin of the realm, but credit cards are easily accepted. A little airport is built since 1973 and permit to welcome private plane from Guadeloupe and Caribbean islands.


Senior Insider
We 1st visited Terre de Haute about 25 yrs ago on a Windstar cruise when WS had only ships with sails, were told then it was what St Barths was years ago before it was discovered. There couple weeks ago on the Pride, year before on the Legend, more stores & charming restaurants, went to same last yr & this. Still nice little island !


SBH Insider
Absolutely recommend this island, if you don't mind the two transfers to get to Guadeloupe and then the ferry to Terre de Haute, and don't mind the walking once there (no cars allowed.) We stayed at the dream-like villa in the photo below wedged in between two beaches at the foot of iconic Pain du Sucre. You can swim from one beach around the point to the other beach enjoying the tropical fish along the way. Many say the island is like St Barth 40-50 years ago, but I wouldn't know...that was before my time.



Senior Insider
What does it matter to discuss apparently a well kept ‘secret’- Terre de Haut.
It appears you both (JEK and Andy) have made up ‘rules’ that people can not comment upon posts you deem too old and make fun of those who do.
Simple question- Why?


Senior Insider
What does it matter to discuss apparently a well kept ‘secret’- Terre de Haut.
It appears you both (JEK and Andy) have made up ‘rules’ that people can not comment upon posts you deem too old and make fun of those who do.
Simple question- Why?
Good question.


SBH Member
This is indeed a very special island. I was staying at Les Petit Saints and saw an American looking fellow writing on a yellow legal pad. I asked him if he was a writer and he said he is and he's doing an article for Conde Nast on the French West Indies. I asked where he was going next and he said St Barts! We had a long conversation and I laid out an itinerary for him. He was very appreciative and when the article came out he started the St Barts section like this. "St Barts is a Topless island. Topless cars, topless women, topless bank accounts." I think he nailed it!


Senior Insider
Lovely little island where we've visited at least 3 times on Windstar cruises going back 30 yrs, different now, but now Seabourn size ships also visit, note I have nothing against that line, just brings more people on the streets & the perfect little island. Great little restos over the visits.