The Guadeloupe Islands, spared by Hurricane Maria, remain one of the Caribbean’s premier but most underrated destinations.
After all, U.S. News & World Report named it the second-best place to visit in the Caribbean in 2017—citing its unspoiled nature reserves, pristine beaches and charming villages—and National Geographic listed Guadeloupe as one of the world’s top three destinations for culture.
However, the French archipelago isn’t resting on its laurels heading into 2018. Instead, the destination is working to improve accessibility and expand its luxury accommodation offerings while giving travelers new reasons to plan a visit.
Last month, Air France announced the launch of twice-weekly service between Atlanta and Pointe-à-Pitre. Meanwhile, European low-cost carrier Norwegian Air resumed nonstop flights from New York; Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Providence, Rhode Islands to Guadeloupe in October with fares starting as low as $79 one-way, taxes included.
“We look forward to touching down in Guadeloupe again for the winter season 2017/18. This hidden gem in the Caribbean will now have 11 flights from the U.S. every week,” Norwegian Air chief commercial officer, Thomas Ramdahl said in a statement. “We are opening up the Guadeloupe Islands to so many American travelers looking for a unique Caribbean experience.”
Travelers arriving in Guadeloupe next year will discover the destination’s first five-star property in the upgraded La Toubana Hotel and Spa in Sainte-Anne. Exciting renovations to the hotel include 16 refurbished bungalows, Restaurant LE GRAND BLEU, an infinity pool bar as well as a new beach restaurant and bar.
Grande-Terre will also welcome the four-star Arawak Beach Resort in February 2018. The property will house 106 luxe guestrooms, six suites boasting private terraces with sea views, two restaurants, a pair of bars, a fitness center, spa and a dedicated water sports center.
There are also plenty of new attractions and activities to explore in the Guadeloupe Islands. For example, the destination’s first fine arts museum was inaugurated in July and is home to 150 paintings, drawings and sculptures from the 16th century to now.
Travelers looking to dive even deeper into Guadeloupe’s culture will also benefit from an expanded Schoelcher Museum in Pointe-à-Pitre. Scheduled to reopen in mid-2018, the museum is enhancing its visitor experience with new interactive content and as many as four extra exhibition rooms.
Thrill-seekers will want to visit the family-friendly Habitation Cote Sous le Vent for a truly unique zip lining experience. Here, guests can bike while zip lining along a one-mile path 32 feet above the ground. Visitors can also download the Rando Guadeloupe mobile app to access nearly four dozen hiking trails and itineraries along with 3D maps.
If that weren’t enough, the Guadeloupe Islands has tripled duty-free shopping space inside Pole Caraibes Airport so travelers can load up on souvenirs before heading home.