Recommend July 2014 - (Page 26)

Guadeloupe Culture, Rum, the Sea, & That Volcano ed wetschler Unless you've been living under a rock, you understand why visits to Guadeloupe from North America shot up 23 percent in 2013: n New nonstops from Miami (American Airlines) and San Juan (Seaborne Airlines) made this previously hard-to-reach island group much easier to reach. n The tourist board ramped up its marketing and education efforts to consumers and-this is key-the travel trade with the Guadeloupe Islands Specialist program (visit n Guadeloupe is ideal for the boom in experiential travel, a segment of Caribbean tourism that, in 2013, generated more than $300 billion. What makes it ideal for experiential travel? The archipelago features five (actually more) dramatically different islands, ferries offering easy island-hopping, a safe environment, sublime food, award-winning rum distilleries, historical sites, towering volcanoes, verdant forests, striking deserts, fish-filled waters, and a FrenchCaribbean joie de vivre. No wonder these islands seduce so many types of visitors: foodies, nature lovers, photographers, romantics, hikers, bikers, divers, snorkelers, sailors, kayakers, wind- and kite-surfers, francophiles.... Where to book your clients? Each of these four properties offers a distinct experience: diving, or fishing. And although La Toubana has a private beach, clients can experience real Guadalupean life by visiting nearby Sainte-Anne Beach, one of the friendliest beaches for mingling with locals in the entire Caribbean. Other good mingling spots: the markets in Sainte-Anne and Pointe-a-Pitre, and the clubs in Le Gosier. Clients should rent a car for part of their stay and see Pointe des Chateaux, a wild tableau of surf, sky, and rocks on the southeast corner of Grande-Terre. From there they'll see sister islands La Desirade and Marie-Galante, two lost-in-time islands reached by ferries from St-François. They'll be moved by the desert-like peacefulness of La Desirade; delighted by agrarian Marie-Galante, with its pristine beaches and world-renowned rum distilleries. They can take a ride in a farmer's ox-drawn cart, too. Finally, many of Guadeloupe's major festivals (Carnival, food festivals, watercraft races, etc.) take place in Grande-Terre. Rooms start at about $300 non-refundable, but we recommend clients spring for a Junior Suite (from roughly $335) or, if they have children, a sleek duplex Classic Suite (from $408). A member of Des Hotels et des Iles, La Toubana pays agents 12 percent commission and offers incentives. la toubana hotel & spa, grande-terre Basse-Terre encapsulates the best of the Caribbean so well that the PBS/BBC show "Death In Paradise" is set there. This west wing of the Guadeloupe butterfly boasts a nearly mile-high volcano (Mount Soufriere), rainforests, waterfalls, birds, agritourism (e.g. cane/rum plantations), a color chart of beaches, ferries to other islands, and Reserve Cousteau, which Jacques C. considered one of the world's 10 best diving/snorkeling sites. The Langley Resort Fort Royal is not only the largest (122 guest units), most full-service resort on the island, but also the best first-timer's hotel in all of Guadeloupe because its beach location is lovely and its staffers, mostly enthusiastic young Europeans, speak better English than we do. Rooms/suites for families and cottages for couples are on opposite sides of the main buildings, which is another plus, as is the camp for children. That the restaurant, Le Royal, offers mostly buffet meals may sound unappealing, but the Creole and international dishes use quality ingredients and are carefully prepared. The Langley also Of the half-dozen or so Guadeloupe Islands, Grande-Terre is the most conventional tourism destination, with plenty of hotels, villas, white beaches, restaurants, bars and clubs, innumerable watersports, and the international airport. And La Toubana, on the beachy south coast, is the most chic hotel there, looking as if it wandered in from St. Barths. Translation: It has 32 bungalows rooms/suites sporting contemporary design and private terraces, refined Creole cuisine at On the Beach and Le Grand Bleu, sophisticated wines and cocktails at Le Bar de la Mer, the very cool Ocean Spa (Chinese red walls and all), state-of-the-art fitness gear, an infinity pool, and romantic lighting at night. But look, we're here for experiential travel, so let us venture forth. Near La Toubana clients can take lessons and/or rent gear for hobie-cat sailing, kayaking, jet-skiing, and (this being a French island) wind- and kite-surfing. The hotel can arrange for sailing, 26 july 2014 26-27 CB GuadOnsite.indd 26 the langley resort fort royal, basse-terre 6/24/14 8:46 AM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recommend July 2014

Editor’s Notes
Hotel Desk: EVEN Hotels
Tour Talk: Back-Roads Touring
Pick a Theme...Any Theme on the High Seas
Jamaica & the USVI: Not the Jimi Hendrix Experience
Guadeloupe: Culture, Rum, the Sea, & That Volcano
5 Active Trips in the States
Ski Adventures Across North America
Argentina & Uruguay: A Traditional Feast
Alma del Pacifico, Costa Rica
Rwanda & Uganda: In the Footsteps of Gorillas
Dreamy Puerto Vallarta
Borneo, the Bountiful

Recommend July 2014