These 4 French Caribbean Islands are ideal for sunbathing and swimming, watersports, and partying
An incredible mixture of Caribbean atmosphere and French culture, on a fabulous set of coral reefs, garnished with tasty food and marvelous wines…welcome to the French Caribbean! It is no surprise that many U.S. citizens love to spend their holidays there, as reaching the area is easy and the holiday adventure is affordable.
Officially named the French West Indies, the territory includes the islands of Martinique, St. Barthelemy, Guadeloupe, St. Martin, Les Saintes, and Marie-Galante. The most popular vacation destinations are the idyllic Guadeloupe archipelago, mountainous Martinique, and one other French island St. Martin.
The French Caribbean islands are the perfect romantic getaway thanks to their fantastic nature, incredible culture and history, superb food, and endless options for pampering. There are many direct flights available, including low-cost air carriers. The language spoken around is French, though English is also widely used, and one can find many authentic goods around like croissants and baguettes, special French chocolates and macarons, different luxury brands in terms of clothes and jewelry, as well as designer perfumes.
Saint Barthélemy (also known as St. Barths)
This is the most stylish of the Caribbean French territories, the gem of the French Antilles.
Absolutely breath-taking, St. Barths is often named “the tropical Cote dÁzur” or “St. Tropez of the Caribbean” due to the luxury hotels and the marvelous private homes and villas around, as well as the Michelin-star restaurants.
The food served in the restaurants around is excellent and the party atmosphere at the bars along Nikki Beach is incomparable. The view towards the idyllic bays dotted with rocky islets is incredible.
In the past, the local people from the island used to live on fishing, duty-free trading, and piracy. There was no slavery here and there was no fresh water needed for the sugar cane production.
It was around the 1950s the island got the status of a celebrity refuge spot and many famous and rich people started visiting the island and buying mansions here.
Among them were Aristotle Onassis and David Rockefeller, as well as Rudolph Nureyev, while today the island is a playground for Bill Gates and Roman Abramovich.
The best beach for swimming at St. Barths is considered to be Gouverneur, while the top one for snorkeling is Colombier.
Just a 10 min hop away is the island of St. Martin, also called St Maarten.
This Dutch outpost is a destination for mass tourism, as it offers many casinos, duty-free shops, busy hotels, and chain restaurants.
The island has a large port for cruise ships and an international airport. The northern part of the island, which is French, is more exclusive, offering boutique hotels, bistros, and lovely views.
It is characterized by fishing villages around, green hills, and stylish dining places. Foodies love to visit the area for fresh crabs and crayfish, as well as for the coconut curry.
The islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe are the two bigger islands of the French Caribbean.
They are overseas departments and integral parts of France and the European Union. They have diverse landscapes including long beaches with warm waters and lush mountains and they feature many nice towns that have the atmosphere of the French Riviera.
The island of Martinique is characterized by a fantastic French atmosphere. One can find here incredible French wines and cheese, as well as fantastic tropical fruits.
The Creole culture adds to the joyful music and dances, as well as the cuisine. The capital city of Fort-de-France is very nice, yet there are many fishing villages and rum factories around that should be visited.
The most popular beaches around the island of Martinique are Grande Anse and Anse d’Arlet. They have white as sugar beaches and black as volcano beaches, tranquil waters, and secluded hidden coves.
Martinique is a world-class diving and snorkeling destination with shallow bays and coral reefs, rocky outcrops, and seagrass beds.
Holidaymakers can see sea fans and green sea turtles, sponges and corals, colored fish, and sunken ships.
Guadeloupe has the shape of a butterfly, beautifully situated in the north of Dominica. It comprises several islands including Base Terre and Grand Terre which are separated by a narrow channel, as well as Saintes and Marie-Galante. Many holidaymakers come here for the diving, however, culture is among the biggest treasures, along with the local cuisine. The best beaches, resorts, and places for surfing and kitesurfing are concentrated in the flat area of Grande-Terre, while the numerous waterfalls, the rainforest, the highest peak La Soufrière and the volcano are placed in the national park Basse-Terre biosphere reserve. The diving spot of Guadeloupe is Jacques Cousteau Reserve.
Guadeloupe is located the first slave trade memorial and museum in the world, built on the grounds of a former sugar factory. It features live performances and interactive exhibitions.
The French Caribbean islands are a great destination for the period from November to March when the weather is warm and nice and the high daily temperatures are perfect to sip Ti’Punch, the signature French Caribbean cocktail made from cane juice rum, sugarcane syrup, and squeezed lime.