Walking in the French Caribbean

From $3405 per person

****# Based on 4 customer reviews
  • Creole joie de vivre and French chic
  • Gentle independent island discovery; freedom to explore at your own pace
  • Fabulous cuisine: a fusion of Caribbean and French flavours
  • Over 2000 floral species and a birdwatcher's paradise
  • White and black sand beaches lapped by azure seas, lush virgin rainforest, sugar and fruit plantations
  • Visit Deshaies, the location for TV's Death in Paradise

What's included?

  • 13 nights, twin centre
  • Departs Selected Sundays from 4 Dec '16 to 3 Dec '17
  • All continental breakfasts and 11 evening meals included
  • Managed locally by hotelier
  • Sustainability rating: 78%
  • Route notes and maps provided
  • Flight from Guadeloupe to Martinique
  • Car Hire

Excellent for...

Walking in the French Caribbean

Martinique and Guadeloupe are the largest islands in the former French colonies in the Caribbean and are perfect for easy exploration by car and on foot. There is a bewildering variety of terrain ranging from luxuriant rainforest and sugar and banana plantations, to mighty volcanoes and sandy beaches framed by swaying palm trees. The walking on both islands is wonderfully gentle, with the option of more demanding walking up La Soufriere volcano on Guadeloupe and the flexibility of doing as little or as much as you want.

Your discovery begins on the butterfly-shaped island of Guadeloupe. The left 'wing' is mainly home to swathes of tropical forest, thermal pools and thundering waterfalls; in contrast, the flatter, right 'wing' offers sweeping sugar cane fields and picturesque golden sands. Moving on to Martinique, there is an alluring diversity of natural beauty; beaches with sand ranging from volcanic black to the purest white and the rainforest-clad volcanic mountain peaks of the Pitons du Carbet.

Nestling in the hills above Trois-Rivieres, your base on Guadeloupe is the fabulous Jardin Malanga. As well as affording unrivalled balcony views across the sparkling Atlantic, it offers a panoramic swimming pool and luxuriant tropical gardens. On Martinique, you stay at the discreetly charming Hotel Plein Soleil, a gorgeous Creole villa-style accommodation which exudes a feel of understated luxury and looks out over Thelmont Bay.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Paris

Day 2 - Free day in Paris

See the famous sights of this cosmopolitan city or take a leisurely stroll along the Left Bank. Paris has something to offer everyone.

Day 3 - Arrive on Guadeloupe

Make your way to Orly Airport (payable locally) for your onward flight to Pointe-à-Pitre, where you collect your hire car. Then it’s an easy 75-minute drive to your hotel.

Day 4 - Three Carbet Waterfalls Various walks up to 5km/3mi/3hr

Today you explore Basse-Terre’s cascading Carbet waterfalls. A stairway of three thundering falls descend from their source on La Soufrière volcano, which forms a jagged backdrop to the day. Yellow warblers swoop overhead, as the Carbet River gushes through rainforest thick with ferns, ruby heliconia and tree vines on its journey to the tranquil Caribbean waters at Capesterre-Belle-Eau.

Day 5 - Les Saintes 4km/2.5mi/1.5hr or 5km/3mi/2hr

You arrive at Terre-de-Haut’s harbour where colourful fishing boats sway gently in the sheltered bay. A coastal cacti-fringed path winds towards the Napoleonic Fort where iguanas bask in the sunshine and on to Pompierre Bay. There’s time to relax on the palm-fringed sands or take a dip in the sea before heading back to Jardin Malanga.

Day 6 - Deshaies and North Basse-Terre 6km/4mi/2.5hr

Today’s lovely walk takes you past cultivated fields (of yams, squash and sweet potatoes) and banana plantations, through tropical forest and meadows, before you descend back down to the coast and the gorgeous Clugny beach. Perhaps take a 10km drive further along the coast to the colourful little town of Deshaies, where TV’s Death in Paradise is filmed. You’ll pass the fabulous Plage de Grande-Anse en route - the largest natural beach on Guadeloupe.

Day 7 - Free Day

You have lots of choice of optional excursions today: for a postcard-perfect Caribbean beach, Ste-Anne boasts infinite white sands, crystal-clear waters and superb beachside restaurants. Alternatively, for the more energetic, we provide route notes to hike La Soufriere for superb balcony views of Basse-Terre and its western coastline.

Day 8 - Grande Terre's Coastal Paths 3km/2mi/1hr or 7km/4.5mi/2.5hr

First to Pointe de la Grande Vigie viewpoint, a spectacular panorama of Antigua and Montserrat on the horizon. Then an inland path bright with pink oleander and trumpet trees leads to Pointe du Souffleur, where Atlantic breakers crash against the jagged volcanic cliffs. You return to your hotel for your final sumptuous dinner at Jardin Malanga.

Day 9 - Transfer to Martinique

After a tropical breakfast you return to the airport for your 40-minute flight to Martinique. It’s an easy 25-minute drive to the beautifully located Hotel Plein Soleil just outside Le François.

Day 10 - Exploring Northern Martinique 2km/1.5mi/1.5hr or 3km/2mi/1.75hr

After a visit to the Volcano Museum in St Pierre, you head to the northern Caribbean coastline. Here a path contours the craggy headland past spectacular kapok trees strung with lianas, before descending to stunning Anse a Voile - the perfect setting for an al fresco lunch.

Day 11 - La Caravelle Peninsula 9km/6mi/3.5hr

Descending through dry tropical forest you reach the salt-rich coastal mangroves - keep an eye out for scuttling crabs! After a picnic overlooking the ocean, explore the ruins of Chateau Dubuc - a fascinating reminder of plantation days. Return to the hotel for your final Caribbean dinner.

Day 12 - Free Day

Perhaps take time to relax today by the hotel’s sparkling pool. Or follow the incredibly scenic Route de la Trace, which weaves inland across the island’s spine through the Absalon rainforest, studded with scarlet heliconia, returning perhaps via Le François.

Day 13 - The Pointe du Vauclin 7km/4.5mi/2.5hr

Enjoy a lovely, varied walk offering superb coastal vistas as well as gorgeous views over the Caravelle Peninsula from the Pointe du Vauclin itself. En route, you're likely to see fishermen landing the day's catch as you pass a little fishing port, before moving on to sandy mangroves, secluded coves and colourful Creole villas.

Day 14 - Leave Martinique


Walking information

This holiday is a mix of gentle walking and sightseeing - no major ascents or descents are compulsory, and a head for heights isn't necessary. Walks mainly follow gentle, well-maintained paths, but on some days the rainforest terrain can be uneven, wet and slippery, so walking boots that dry quickly are recommended.

Walking information

This holiday is a mix of gentle walking and sightseeing - no major ascents or descents are compulsory, and a head for heights isn't necessary. Walks mainly follow gentle, well-maintained paths, but on some days the rainforest terrain can be uneven, wet and slippery, so walking boots that dry quickly are recommended.

Where you stay

During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. You can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss accommodation options.

Hotel Le Senat , Paris   (4 Star)

Hotel Le Senat , Paris

The 4* Le Senat is simply stunning! There are just 41 rooms, all stylishly furnished and a couple of suites with terraces, if you really fancy splashing out! All have satellite television, mini bar, air-conditioning, safe and hairdryer, plus Internet access.

The hotel has its own small bar - adorned with photographs of eminent artists, being in the heart of the artists' quarter - plus a reading room with complimentary internet access.

Breakfast is taken in the basement, where you'll find a copious buffet of viennoiseries, cereals, fruit salad, ham, cheese, bread, yoghurt, bacon, eggs, sausage, fruit juices, tea or coffee. If you prefer, you can have a continental breakfast served to your room at no extra charge.

Le Senat is perfectly located on a quiet side street just a stone's throw away from the Luxembourg Gardens and metro, and a 5 minute walk from the vibrant Latin quarter, where you'll find a plethora of restaurants to suit all budgets.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine
  • Mastercard accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Internet access
  • Television
  • Minibar
  • Air conditioning
  • Safe

Jardin Malanga, Trois Rivieres, Guadeloupe   (3 Star)

Jardin Malanga, Trois Rivières, Guadeloupe

The Jardin Malanga is a historical plantation house that was built by a local banana plantation owner in the 1920s. The 7 hectares of tropical gardens that surround the hotel today were once given over to banana production (although there are still some banana trees in the garden along with mango, guava, star fruit and other trees and flowers).

Headwater guests normally stay in the log cabins, which have been built in the garden, just opposite the main house. The three cabins each have two double bedrooms (each with completely separate entrances) and private terrace with hammock and patio furniture.

All rooms have air conditioning and fan. The décor is in keeping with the cabin feel to the accommodation; expect dark wooden furniture contrasted by the brightest white linen and complimented by the vases of tropical blooms on the bedside table. In the bathroom, there is a shower over bath, and hairdryer.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • American Express accepted
  • Swimming pool
  • Hairdryer
  • Air conditioning

Nearby facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market

Hotel Plein Soleil, Le Francois, Martinique   (3 Star)

Hotel Plein Soleil, Le Francois, Martinique

The gorgeous Hôtel Plein Soleil is a small 3 star family run hotel, which is discreetly situated near to Le François on Martinique's eastern shores.

This 16-room villa-style accommodation offers stunning views over Thelmont Bay. It is small and intimate, with exceptional service and eye to detail. The hotel is set in its own grounds, with the reception and restaurant in the main building.

The rooms themselves are situated in 3 creole style, brightly painted villas. Each room has its own separate entrance. The hotel only has double rooms but all are ensuite (shower only) with ceiling fan and hairdryer.

There are different categories of rooms; however all are very Creole in style - extremely elegant with either white washed wooden or brightly painted walls, tiled floors, pretty wooden furniture and beds with white drapes and pristine white linen.

The suites benefit from their own private individual pool; however there is a large pool with sun loungers for all guests to use.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • Swimming pool
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Internet access
  • Television
  • Minibar
  • Air conditioning
  • Safe
  • Tea/coffee facilities

Nearby facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine

Travel options

The above tour-only prices exclude flights but include a Europcar Group B air-conditioned hire car which you collect from/return to the airports on Guadeloupe and Martinique.

Please call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or email info@breakaway-adventures.com to arrange connecting flights.

Customer reviews

Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their holiday.

Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

Reviewed by Mr McPoland on 17/05/2016

*****
This holiday was promoted as a walking holiday, but in reality, the climate made walking difficult - temperature 32 Celcius, heavy rain most days and very humid. For people of average fitness, it proved tiring, so that we did more sightseeing, and particularly beach days (the beaches are excellent and uncrowded). It was also necessary to drive everywhere, which detracted somewhat from the experience. A gorgeous location, but not really suitable for the typical Headwater holiday maker.

Reviewed by Mr Dane on 19/04/2016

***#.
We had a great holiday, because of the varied landscape, brilliant beaches, cultural mix and food. Also the welcome and service at Jardin Malanga made the stay in Guadeloupe really special. We loved the Caribbean but we are not sure a walking holiday at the time of year we went was the best thing for us. The temperature in Martinque ranged from 28-31degrees. We were always up by 7:30 having breakfast and out before 9o'clock....but by the time we drove to our allotted destination and embarked on a 9km walk, we ended up walking in the blazing midday sun, often up a steep incline which was just not enjoyable. Guadeloupe had torrential rain as well as heat, and although you can't control the weather,we were ill prepared for the rain, especially stuck on the side of a volcano 300m from its rim. We spent most of our Guadeloupe stay driving north or east to get out of the mountain range with its rain!

Reviewed by Mrs Goldsmith on 19/04/2016

*****
Walking in the French Caribbean was a wonderful experience. You do need to be prepared for all weather conditions; mostly very hot and humid particularly when walking away from the coast, but also some huge downpours (a particularly wet, albeit very enjoyable, volcano walk!). The coastal sections were our favourites, with the warm Caribbean wind to cool us down a little. The catering (both dinners and breakfasts) was superb at both Jardin Malanga and Plein Soleil; the latter was rather leisurely in style. Claire at Jardin Malanga was a charming hostess. We had a room upgrade at Plein Soleil; it was well worth it to have the terrace and plunge pool. Both of our hire cars were small which was good for parking etc. but the hilly terrain could make them struggle rather! The access road to Plein Soleil was incredibly potholed and difficult to drive along.

Reviewed by Mr Brownscombe on 27/03/2016

*****
We had never been to the Caribbean before and found this a good introduction to find our way around. The days in Paris were enjoyable and got us in 'French mode'. We loved the vibrant colours, the warm weather and the lush vegetation of Guadaloupe and Martinique. The hotels on both the islands were good with friendly, helpful staff and really excellent meals. We especially appreciated the wonderful selection of fresh fruits and yoghurt at breakfast. We liked the fact that everything was French and almost all the other tourists were French which seemed to make it feel more exotic. The high points for us were walking in the rain forest, the visit to the ÃŽles des Saintes, the fantastic beaches, clear blue seas and great snorkelling. We did find there was a lot of driving and that the roads were sometimes very busy with traffic jams near the large towns. It might have been better to be based in two different places, especially on Guadaloupe.

Departure dates & prices

November 2016 departuresTour only 
Nov 6$3449
Nov 20$3582
December 2016 departuresTour only 
Dec 4$3466
January 2017 departuresTour only 
Jan 8$3498
Jan 29$3532
February 2017 departuresTour only 
Feb 19$3532
March 2017 departuresTour only 
Mar 12$3498
Mar 26$3498
April 2017 departuresTour only 
Apr 9$3563
Apr 23$3453
May 2017 departuresTour only 
May 7$3453
November 2018 departuresTour only 
Nov 12$3405
December 2018 departuresTour only 
Dec 3$3405

Holiday details

Holiday type

Self-guided walking, twin centre. Managed locally by hotelier.

Departures

Selected Sundays from 4 Dec '16 to 3 Dec '17, for 14 days (13 nights). It is possible to arrange non-standard departure dates however, Sunday or Monday arrivals are strongly recommended to avoid Sunday night stays at the Hotel Plein Soleil, when the hotel's excellent restaurant is closed. Please note that there is no minimum group size, however car hire is subject to a minimum of 2 people per booking.

Meals

All continental breakfasts and 11 evening meals included.

Other details

Please see our Planning your holiday and What's included in the price? pages for additional information. Please call us for single room supplements, room upgrade options and child prices.

Starting your tour

The above tour-only prices exclude flights but include a Europcar Group B air-conditioned hire car which you collect from/return to the airports on Guadeloupe and Martinique.

Enquire about this holiday

Simply complete the form below and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and additional information.

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We can call you when it's most convenient for you, or contact you by email if you'd prefer. Morning calls will be between 9:00-13:00, afternoon calls between 13:00-17:00, and evening calls after 17:00.
Let us know any queries you might have about departure dates, similar holidays or tailor-made options.

 

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  • Relaxed activity holidays since 1985

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