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Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe: wheelchair travel in the Caribbean

on
30 April 2020

After a wedding often comes an honeymoon! So when drawing a list of destinations we thought about Guadeloupe, a French island in the Caribbean. However it was only one of many ideas. We hesitated at first, but after we heard our family feedback, we finally choose to travel in Guadeloupe. Plus we decided to plan this vacation in a short time (a month and a half) so travelling in France was easier for us as it is our nationality.

An amazing honeymoon in Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe is such a stunning island! If you travel there you will see many diverse and colourful landscapes. Franck and I discovered these beautiful sceneries from the sky and from the sea. Either way it has always surprised us. We really made the most of this honeymoon in Guadeloupe and had a lot of fun: sunbathing, paragliding, snorkelling, strolls… So amazing!

We have been so lucky during our snorkelling sessions and strolls! We saw so many animals: parrots, tropical fishes, hermit crabs… The shores of Guadeloupe are surely as astonishing as the Malaysian waters and the amazing snorkelling spots of Indonesia! We swam with turtles, observe a shark sleeping only a few metres from us, had fun with a pod of dolphins while sailing on a catamaran and even catching sight of two whales during a walk along the coast! Wonderful memories that we will cherish!

Unfortunately some activities we’ve done during our Guadeloupe vacation are not possible for wheelchair bound users. Some of these outdoor activities require to be able to walk a bit or to swim. Nevertheless we enjoyed many wheelchair friendly strolls and tours. I will tell you about them in my next blog post.

Today I want to take you to some heavenly beaches of Guadeloupe easily accessible in a wheelchair. And then we’ll go paragliding before ending with some useful information to plan a travel in Guadeloupe.

Guadeloupe beaches for wheelchair travelers

When we think about Guadeloupe vacation we immediately picture a bright sun, golden sand and cristal waters. It’s easy to imagine yourself on a heavenly beach, sunbathing while sipping a refreshing piña colada 🍹

But obviously, as wheelchair travelers we quickly wonder about the beaches accessibility. Indeed rolling on sand is a nightmare! So are Guadeloupe beaches wheelchair accessible? Well, some of them are easy to access while others are not an option for wheelchair users because of the stairs and craggy paths leading to them. But on one beach of Grande-Terre, we can even find some bathing wheelchairs.

Grande Anse, Deshaies

Grande Anse, located in Basse-Terre, might be the more beautiful beach I have ever seen. We discovered it while the sun was setting and we were immediately charmed by this idyllic landscape. The hill called “le gros morne“, an old volcano 206 metres high, enhance the beach. So when we saw this amazing place for the first time, we just sat on the sand and admire the sunset being aware of how lucky we were to be in such a place.

Of course the day after, as soon as we woke up, we wanted to go back there to discover the beach in daylight. Grande Anse is definitely as beautiful by day as by night. How could anyone resists to golden sand, the cristal water of the Caribbean sea and many palm trees to take shelter from the sun?

So I would advice you to arrive before 8.30am if you want to enjoy it alone. It is early, especially during vacation but I believe those moments of peace and tranquility in such places are to cherish 🥰

Accessibility:
This beach is not equipped and designed for reduced mobility people but is easily accessible. Even for wheelchair users. It is completely flat and there is a car park just near the beach. However all the spaces are quickly occupied so it might be helpful to arrive not too late or after a shower (even in the Caribbean we can experience rain!).

Sainte- Anne

Sainte-Anne beach is the best beach in Guadeloupe for wheelchair users. It is possible to borrow bathing wheelchair from the sail club and there is a disabled car park.

Also the sea is really calm. There are no waves so it is easier to swim or just enjoy being in the sea. Of course, we can still just chill on the golden sand and admire the turquoise sea.

L’autre bord, Le Moule

We discovered this beach by chance as it was close to our accommodation in Le Moule. There is no wheelchair access to the sea but the beach is easily accessible as we can park only a few metres from the sand. This beach is not as the famous as the previous ones so there are still some spaces to park. Plus, there are showers if you don’t like having a salty skin after swimming. Unfortunately these are not designed for disabled people.

Wheelchair paragliding in Guadeloupe

Since my first paragliding flight in the French Pyrenees, I was eager to paraglide again to experience one more time this feeling of softness and freedom. So when I knew that A2L Parapente, the only paragliding club in Guadeloupe, is able to offer tandem flights to disabled people I immediately book a flight!

I was so happy to see the Guadeloupe shores, the cliffs and sugar cane fields of Grande-Terre from the sky! Once more we were very lucky as the weather was perfect: we have been able to see many of the islands of Guadeloupe! Paragliding is really an amazing experience. Even for people who are afraid of heights. Indeed I can assure you we don’t suffer from vertigo while paragliding. And I know what I’m talking about 😅

If you are keen to experience other adaptive sports you can also try scuba diving. Indeed the scuba diving club “Les heures saines” in Bouillante has a boat which is accessible for people with reduced mobility. Plus the staff has been trained to be able to welcome disabled people. However I would advice you to call them before going as the office is not accessible because of stairs. I didn’t scuba dive in Guadeloupe so I can’t tell you more about this club but it seems to be a good opportunity if you want to discover scuba diving.

Guadeloupe travel: useful information

Restaurants and other places to eat

Going on vacation in Guadeloupe, in the French west indies, is also about indulging ourselves with local food. To do so there are many restaurants of course but I would also advise to buy local dishes at caterers and in food markets. Here are some restaurants, caterers and a night market where we enjoyed good local food:

  • Restaurant “Chez Dada” in Bouillante: traditional creole meals at low prices. The main room is wheelchair accessible, the toilets are higher than usual and equipped with armrests but are not wide enough to enter with a wheelchair.
  • Caterer “Cap Créole” in Bouillante. Wheelchair accessible.
  • Restaurant-takeaway “l’amer” in Deshaies. The restaurant is not accessible because there is one step but it is possible to order outside to takeaway.
  • Saint-François night market. Tuesday from 5pm. Don’t arrive too late if you want to be able to choose different meals and treats.
  • Ice cream shop “Désirs du Palais – Fabienne Youyoutte” in Sainte-Anne. If there is only one address to keep in mind this is the only one! Ice creams are exquisite. Plus it is wheelchair accessible.
  • And of course a travel in Guadeloupe would not be perfect without a “sorbet coco”! So don’t resist and enjoy this refreshing treat along one of the beaches of Guadeloupe!

Accommodations

The owner of the accommodations “Tigligli” have one wheelchair accessible cabin for people with reduced mobility. As we planned our trip only a month before we couldn’t book there so I can’t tell you for sure but it should be a good accommodation for wheelchair travelers.

As for us, we stayed at the Blue Bamboo in Le Moule. This accommodation is not designed for disabled people so it will not suit everybody but can be a solution for others. Between the car park and the cabin there is a gravel pathway but the owner offered us to park just in front of our accommodation. Once here there is an annoying wooden door which is not wide enough to roll through in a wheelchair. So it is necessary to be able to walk a few metres. Once you reached the other side of the door everything is on the same level and spacious enough to roll around. Plus the doors are all sliding doors. Regarding the bathroom, toilets and furniture are “usual” so not adapted. Good point: it is a walk-in shower. It’s not perfect but better than a bath tub 😉

Surely we will never forget this honeymoon in Guadeloupe! We were so happy there that we would like to go back to discover all the parts of the island that we couldn’t visit during our stay. But, as it will not be possible in the months coming, let me share with you, in my next blog post, useful information about the wheelchair strolls and accessible tours we have made during this travel in Guadeloupe. Stay tune!

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