The tropical forest and the mountainous massif of Basse-Terre constituted an area of exceptional biodiversity and in the 1970s, the General Council of Guadeloupe decided to highlight this natural heritage under the name of "Parc naturel de Guadeloupe” (translates to Guadeloupe Natural Park), managed by the National Forestry Office (ONF), by developing hiking trails and creating reception facilities.
In 1977, the idea was put forward to protect this territory from the risk of degradation by classifying it as a national park and it is the February 20, 1989, Guadeloupe National Park was created, the first overseas national park of France. In 1987, the Nature Reserve of the Grand Cul-de-sac marine was created. Its management was entrusted to the national park in 1990.
In 1992, the existence of the national park and the natural reserve of Grand-Cul-de-Sac marin allowed Guadeloupe to be designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO under the name of "Archipelago of Guadeloupe", granting it international recognition.
Flora and fauna
Guadeloupe National Park can be reached via car by taking the D 23 highway down west from the town of Petit-Bourg. The road is fairly mountainous, but that's what makes this park unique as opposed to other national parks in metropolitan France.
Fees and permits
- 1 Cascade aux Ecrevisses, Route de la traversée (D23), Bouillante. A waterfall in a thick jungle, in the lush forests of the park. The waterfall is easily accessible via road, and there's a carpark/parking lot nearby.
- 2 Zoo de Guadeloupe (Guadeloupe Zoo), Route de la traversée (D23), Bouillante. 09:00–18:00. Contains numerous wildlife exhibitions, particularly of mammals and reptiles. There's about 85 species of animals are represented in this popular garden and nature reserve and the hiking trails and hanging bridges will give you a feel that you're in the jungle.
- 3 1ére chute du Carbet. This waterfall drops even higher than most waterfalls in this park.
- 4 3ème chute du Carbet. Another one of the waterfalls in Guadeloupe National Park, falling from a height of 20 metres.
- 5 La Soufrière volcano. The park is home to the 1467-m-high peak of the highest mountain peak in the Lesser Antilles.
- 6 Grand Étang.
- 1 Restaurant Le Pik, Route De La Traversee, Bouillante, ☏ . Restaurant mainly serving French-Caribbean cuisine.
- 2 Le Cabana Gril, Allee Saint Sauveur, Capesterre-Belle-Eau, ☏ . Caribbean and European cuisines serving both at lunch and dinner.