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Walking in the French Caribbean

Walking in the French Caribbean

Walking in the French Caribbean

  • 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
  • Holiday type13 nights, Self-guided walking
  • Activity rating
  • From $3625
    Excellent for
  • Holiday details
  • Departs Selected Sundays from 19 Feb '17 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


We're here to help

If you've any questions about this holiday call to our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 , or email sales@headwater.com

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



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.


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

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)

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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.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Dates Deluxe double
01/01/2017 - 31/12/2017 £26

All prices shown above are valid from 24/12/2016. Supplements are per person per night based on 2 sharing. Deluxe rooms are larger with a sitting area. Some also have a small terrace.

Dates Superior double/twin Superior for single use
01/01/2017 - 19/01/2017 £98 £178
20/01/2017 - 27/01/2017 £158 £300
28/01/2017 - 06/02/2017 £98 £178
07/02/2017 - 08/02/2017 £158 £300
09/02/2017 - 24/02/2017 £98 £178
25/02/2017 - 08/03/2017 £158 £300
09/03/2017 - 03/04/2017 £98 £178
04/04/2017 - 15/05/2017 £106 £196
16/05/2017 - 19/05/2017 £158 £300
20/05/2017 - 18/06/2017 £126 £236
19/06/2017 - 25/06/2017 £158 £300
26/06/2017 - 15/07/2017 £126 £236

All prices shown above are valid from 24/12/2016. Prices are per person per night including breakfast.

Jardin Malanga, Trois Rivieres, Guadeloupe (3 Star)

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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.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Room upgrades are not available at this hotel.

Dates Single room Double room
02/01/2017 - 20/12/2017 £244 £160

All prices shown above are valid from 10/02/2017. All prices shown above are per person per night.

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

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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.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Dates Master Pool Room Suite Jardin Suite Duplex
01/11/2016 - 15/12/2016 £36 £44 £52
16/12/2016 - 23/12/2016 £46 £56 £68
02/01/2017 - 01/05/2017 £46 £58 £70
02/05/2017 - 04/06/2017 £40 £48 £62
01/11/2017 - 15/12/2017 £46 £58 £70
16/12/2017 - 18/12/2017 £48 £62 £74

All prices shown above are valid from 24/12/2016. Prices are per person per night based on 2 sharing.
Master Pool - has a kitchenette, a spacious deck area and a private poolette
Suite Jardin - larger with veranda and small private plunge pool
Suite duplex - larger room with terrace and private pool
Please note: We are unable to book twin rooms at this hotel.

Dates Single room Double room
01/11/2016 - 15/12/2016 £174 £118
16/12/2016 - 23/12/2016 £198 £134
02/01/2017 - 01/05/2017 £216 £144
02/05/2017 - 04/06/2017 £206 £140
01/11/2017 - 15/12/2017 £206 £140
16/12/2017 - 20/12/2017 £234 £158

All prices shown above are valid from 24/12/2016. Prices are per person per night including evening meal.

Christmas, New Year and St Valentine's day supplements are on request.
Please note extra car hire costs will need to be paid if extra nights are taken.

Travel

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.

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.


Mr Patten
01/02/2017

I am writing g this review whilst still on holiday.

I have been wanting to give this 4 starts but a series of issues has lead me to 2 stars only.

The flight and travel details have been fine together with the car rentals, except you need to be aware that on Martinique the hire is for 5 days exactly so do not late return.

The notes and walking information are ok to a point but not sufficiently honed. There are some errors and walking options are not particularly helpful as th... read moreere is far more information available once looking at the interpretation panels. You can make much better use of each day by a bit of careful planning and this you will need to do due to the heat.

There is a substantial amount of driving, often 2 hours each day, in heavy traffic with roadworks. The roads are narrow and twisty. If you take a picnic, I mean who wants another hot meal at midday, you will need to allocate time to find a boulangerie and supermarket either the day before or early in the morning. And the French go manic in the morning driving everywhere and rushing to car park spaces.

The hotel on Martinique is just too upmarket. The rooms are really hot sheds of wood with no veranda and the shower is a minuscule corner of the toilet. The main evening meal does not start until 7.30pm and service is so slow you do not finish your meal Until 9.30pm. The menu is not varied and repeats after two days. It is very pretentious and the kitchen is not efficient. I did not like the cuisine and you barely were able to eat one of your 5 a day for dinner., whereas on Guadeloupe it is a totally different story. Lovely tropical tastes and efficient meals served. Homely attitude and comfortable rooms with large beds and decent shower.

You need to plan your day well since it becomes very hot in the afternoon between 12.00 and 15.00. This means early starts and relaxing at midday or being high up a mountain where it is cooler.

This is a good concept by Headwater but a better hotel on Martinique and a few more notes of advice would enable domestic and planning arrangements to go smoother.


Mr McPoland
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.


Mr Dane
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 ... read morea 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!


Mrs Goldsmith
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 le... read moreisurely 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.


Mr Brownscombe
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 a... read morend 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.

Dates and prices

The prices quoted below for each individual departure supercede those published in our current brochures. Air prices are subject to change and are shown for guide purposes only. Please see our Planning your holiday and What's included in the price? pages for additional information.

Alternatively, you can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss your requirements in more detail.

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Nov
  • Dec
Jan 2017 Tour only from Availability
8th Jan US$3720 Check
29th Jan US$3750 Check
Feb 2017 Tour only from Availability
19th Feb US$3750 Check
Mar 2017 Tour only from Availability
12th Mar US$3720 Check
26th Mar US$3720 Check
Apr 2017 Tour only from Availability
9th Apr US$3780 Check
23rd Apr US$3670 Check
May 2017 Tour only from Availability
7th May US$3670 Check
Nov 2017 Tour only from Availability
12th Nov US$3625 Check
Dec 2017 Tour only from Availability
3rd Dec US$3625 Check

Holiday details

Children
This holiday is unsuitable for children.

Holiday type
Self-guided walking Managed locally by hotelier.

Departures
Selected Sundays from 8th Jan 2017 to 3rd Dec 2017, for 13 nights.

Meals
All continental breakfasts and 11 evening meals included

Other details
Please allow approx £80 per person for inter-island ferries. Please note that car hire is subject to a minimum of 2 people per booking.

Tailor-made travel

Tour only
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.

Enquiries

Due to the tailor-made nature of our holidays, we need a little more information in order for us to check availability for Walking in the French Caribbean. 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 an accurate price. Of course there's no obligation, but if you do wish to proceed with a booking they will be on-hand to assist you throughout the process.

Alternatively, you can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss your requirements in more detail.



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