Two days at Les Saintes

Les Saintes

travel suitcase  travel as a couplemedium budgetFrance
Travel made in May 2019
Duration: 2 days

Welcome to Les Saintes !!

Welcome to my little oxygen bubble with Myoxybubble Les Saintes ! It is a small island in Guadeloupe, in the Caribbean archipelago. Immerse yourself in the history of this island. It begins with the Amerindians who named it “the island of the beautiful“, then Christopher Columbus who nicknamed it ” Los Santos ” when it was discovered in 1493 on the feast of All Saints. That name remained with him. The saints are composed of Terre de Haut and Terre de Bas. Today, I will make you discover Terre de Haut which is composed of several islets.

Our itinerary

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Two days at Les Saintes

Day 1 : Discovering the Saintes

To get to Les Saintes from Guadeloupe, go to the port of Trois Rivières or basse-Terre or St François.
Personally, we started from three rivers. It is the fastest and cheapest. On site, you can park your vehicle at the car park for 5€ per day. It is free on public holidays. We were there on May 1st and we didn’t pay. Even when we returned the next day, no catch-up was asked of us. The crossing will cost you 19€/adult. We went through the company CTM Deher. I advise you to order your seats directly on the site during busy periods. Otherwise, possibility to take them on the spot but it is better to buy them at least the day before to be sure that there is still space.
The crossing is short, it takes only 20 minutes. The ports served to Les Saintes are Terre de Haut and Terre de Bas, the only 2 inhabited islands of the Saintes archipelago. You will find all the departure and return times according to your starting point directly on the CTM Deher website. We took the ferry from 8:00 in the morning. Passengers must arrive 30 minutes before the departure time. 

Port of Les Saintes Port of Les Saintes

# The small village of Les Saintes

Here you are disembarked at the port directly in the small Bourg des Saintes. It is a small and very welcoming village with typical and colorful huts, with many shops and restaurants. The village is very quiet and no merchant solicits you as in some tourist places. It’s appreciable!

the small Bourg des Saintes. the small Bourg des Saintes. the small Bourg des Saintes.

Go up to the church, then to the town hall which also happens to be very colorful. She exudes a lot of cheerfulness.

town hall ile des saintes

We had taken a rental not far away being 5 minutes walk. We reach her without waiting to drop off our luggage. The accommodation was a studio at a place named Sur l’Anse. Take the direction of the marine cemetery to get there. Our room was very clean with very navy decoration with its blue and white colors.

Airbnb on Anse Airbnb on Anse Airbnb on Anse

It was called the room “Atlantik”, It was good because we had from our balcony a direct view of the Atlantic Ocean! The view is splendid and we could hear the sound of the waves from our room. A pure moment of happiness and relaxation also with the hammock facing the sea.

Airbnb on Anse view from our room on the Atlantic Ocean

The beach is a few meters walk. It is time for us to return to the village to find a means of transport to visit the island. The must and the least noisy and polluting remains the electric bike (20 € / day and per person). A priori, the climbs are done very well and without getting tired. Then it is possible to rent scooters or electric carts. Indeed cars with a combustion engine are prohibited on the island (except for firefighters and gendarmes). The scooter is the option we chose because cheaper for 2 people and for 2 days on the island (25€ per day). A rental company is located right in front of the town hall. It’s time for you to discover Terre de Haut. 

# The camel ride

I suggest you start with the camel ride which is the highest point of the archipelago at 309 meters above sea level and offers you an exceptional view of the island. The ascent is done only on foot by a road now forbidden to cars. Be careful it climbs! The climb is not easy but the landscapes will be breathtaking. Arrived at the top, you will find the tower of the lookout. From here you will have a breathtaking view of the entire archipelago of the saints. Remember to bring water and sunscreen. You will need to count at least 2h00 round trip to make your walk. 

view of the sugar loaf to the saints view of the archipelago of the saints view of Fort Napoleon aux Saintes tour from the lookout to the camel ride tour from the lookout to the camel ride view of the island of the saints from the camel ride view of the island of the saints from the camel ride

# The sugar loaf beach

After the effort the comfort! Then head to sugar loaf beach. Sugar loaf is a volcanic hill that you can see in my photos. It rises to 50 meters above sea level. It looks like a turtle shell. Its white sand beach is very small. Put your belongings in a corner, put on your fins, mask and snorkel and discover the seabed. The sugar loaf beach is a beautiful spot for snorkeling. The water is crystal clear with many colorful fish from the pontoon. Refreshment and moment of well-being guaranteed!

sugar loaf beach sugar loaf beach sugar loaf beach seabed sugar loaf beach

# The marine cemetery

At the end of the day, before taking a good shower, stop at the beautiful marine cemetery. Fishing was the only activity on the island. The sailors left with a Saintoise (a fishing sailboat) at 3am in the dark, lit by simple candles, for big game fishing. Some of these sailors never returned. This cemetery was created in memory of these missing castaways. It is beautiful, day and night. Some tombs are delimited by magnificent shells of conch. They can be illuminated at nightfall. This is the Caribbean tradition. The cemetery is located not far from the beach of Grande Anse. The location is peaceful and strategic.

marine cemetery to the saints marine cemetery to the saints marine cemetery to the saints marine cemetery to the saints marine cemetery islands of the saints marine cemetery islands of the saints marine cemetery islands of the saints

# The sailors’ chapel

At sunset, I suggest you climb about thirty steps to La Chapelle des marins and Calvary. It is located not far from the town hall. At the top you have a breathtaking view of the entire bay and you can see the islet Cabri located just opposite. The place is quiet and mystical.

the chapel of the sailors of the island of the saints view of the island cabri from the chapel of the sailors Calvary to the Saints view of the island Cabri aux saintes view from the Calvary marine to the saints the chapel and the Calvary of the sailors to the saints

The days at Les Saintes are hollow! It’s time to restore yourself. We were there on May 1st, a public holiday, so the choice of restaurants was limited because many of them were unfortunately closed. We have tested for you a small restaurant located on the edge of the port, facing the sea, called “the Genoese”. The meal was ok but not exceptional. The entrance was any. The dish, from half-cooked tuna, caught freshly from the day, to sesame seeds and soy sauce was appreciable and original. For dessert the homemade coconut mousse was succulent. I will put a score of 6/10. The value for money is not very interesting. 

restaurant le génois aux saintes restaurant le génois aux saintes restaurant le génois aux saintes  restaurant le génois aux saintes

Day 2 : Fort Napoleon and the torments of love

# The torments of love

After a beautiful and sweet night on the Saintes, get up for breakfast and go to the church side at 8am.

the church of the island of the saints

A few meters from it, on the right going down to the pier, is a hut where a lady sells cakes called “torments of love“.

torments of love to the saints torments of love to the saints torments of love to the saints torments of love to the saints

Love torments are specialties of the island. At this time, they will still be very hot and cool! In the past, fishermen’s wives prepared this Caribbean sweetness, with all their love, to bring comfort to their husbands after a hard day at sea. And, as soon as they returned, the women offered their husbands a torment of love. They were waiting for them, tormented, hence the name “torments of love“. But the real torment was when the sailors didn’t return. The original recipe for love torment is coconut. But today, cooks have diversified the recipe. A mix of flavors is offered including coconut, banana, guava and pineapple. For my part, I prefer coconuts and bananas. The cakes are round, soft, stuffed, not dry and not sickening, quite the contrary! A real delight 😋.

# Fort Napoleon

After restoring early in the morning, I offer you a guided tour of the Museum of Fort Napoleon. The tour lasts 40 minutes. The entrance will cost you 5€. If you present the backpacker’s guide, you will benefit from a discount of 1€. Be careful, the fort is only open in the morning. Arrive at the opening at 9am, just before the ferry disembarks on the island, there are fewer people.

Fort Napoleon at Les Saintes Fort Napoleon at Les Saintes Fort Napoleon at Les Saintes

I was not convinced at first by this guided tour because I was afraid that it would be long and boring. I was pleasantly surprised because the guide takes you into her universe with a lot of humor and knowledge about the history of the island and was a real pleasure. Fort Napoleon was built in 51 years for lack of materials!
The only flaw of the island was the lack of water. The only water cistern on the island was at the fort and could hold 370 m3. In 1970, a water desalinating machine was installed and since 1992 an underwater pipe exists from Guadeloupe. The visit is fun for adults and children, I highly recommend.
The cacti garden of the fort is very beautiful. You have a breathtaking 360-degree view of the island of Les Saintes. You will also find in the garden of the fort iguanas hidden everywhere. Keep an eye out!

Fort Napoleon in Les Saintes and its cacti garden Fort Napoleon in Les Saintes and its cacti garden view of the saints from Fort Napoleon view of the saints from Fort Napoleon view of the archipelago of the saints from Fort Napoleon view of the archipelago of the saints from Fort Napoleon iguanas at Fort Napoleon ocean view from Fort Napoleon in Les Saintes

# The beach of Pompière

Once the visit of the fort is over, I suggest you go to the beach of “La Pompière”. It is a beautiful beach quite wild, bordered by many coconut trees. You will find fine sand and a corner of shade without problem. The only downside was swimming because of the presence of sargassum that you can see in the photos. No smell noticeable on the spot. The beachside colors due to algae were very pretty. Possibility offshore to snorkel. Very nice beach to relax and stroll in the presence of some chickens and cabris.

Pompière aux Saintes beach Pompière aux Saintes beach Pompière aux Saintes beach  sargasse of the beach of the firefighter in Les Saintes goat from the beach of la pompière aux Saintes la pompière beach on Ile des Saintes la pompière beach on Ile des Saintes

# The culinary specialties of Les Saintes

It’s noon. I suggest you taste another delicious specialty typical of Les Saintes: the ” fish pancake “. It is a specialty of Terre de Haut. You will only find them in the morning and at noon. Be careful they leave quickly! It will cost you 1€.

fish pancake on the Ile des Saintes Fish crepe

It is a good appetizer before taking a homemade coconut punch at the excellent restaurant “Toumbana”. It is open only at noon. It is located right in front of the marine cemetery.

marine cemetery on the Ile des Saintes

I advise you to spend the day before or in the morning to book your table because it is famous. The restaurant is surrounded by a beautiful garden that will immerse you in a tropical atmosphere.

restaurant "Toumbana" in Les Saintes restaurant "Toumbana" in Les Saintes

We have tested for you a very hearty and excellent homemade Colombo. As a starter, we tasted good Caribbean puddings (4 €). The products are fresh and the dishes well spicy. There is a very good value for money. Count 9€ for a Colombo.

Colombo at the restaurant "Toumbana" in Les Saintes Creole pudding at the restaurant "Toumbana" in Les Saintes

The owner has been collecting for several years his recommendation plates from the backpacker’s guide displayed on the fence of the garden. I highly recommend this restaurant. 

restaurant "Toumbana" in Les Saintes

How to enjoy your last afternoon on the island? I suggest you go for a walk to the beach of Crawen. Wild beach little maintained.
Personally, I did not stay there because I did not find the beach very welcoming despite its idyllic location. I even forgot to take a picture! Then we returned to the famous Sugar Loaf Beach before leaving the island. We enjoyed one last time the place and its seabed before taking the boat back to the port of three rivers in Guadeloupe. 

The Bay of Saints is one of the most beautiful in the world. Visit it absolutely because it is worth a visit. I hope one day to be able to visit Terre de Bas, be able to compare them and make you a new myoxybubble article!

And to discover more about Guadeloupe and its surroundings, I invite you to discover my articles A day in the Désirade and Guadeloupe, the butterfly island.

Feel free to leave your comments on this article and share your own experiences (the form can be found a little further down).
Need advice to organize your trip? Contact me!


Getting around the island

Several possibilities are available to you:
– rent an electric car (golf cart): Not very convenient to park, but it is the best option if you are with small children.
– the scooter: The cheapest if you are 2 but causes noise pollution in this quiet and peaceful island
– the electric bike: ideal to move around the island while respecting the environment.
– the classic bike: only for those who are well trained, because it is hilly.

It is up to everyone to see according to their budget, physical fitness and desire. Be careful, it is forbidden to park or stop in front of the town hall. A little further away is also a portion of pedestrian street. The police watch and do not hesitate to verbalize. But all this is well marked.


Attention, only one distributor, inside the post office so accessible only during opening hours.
Restaurants and scooter rental companies take the CB, but it is better to plan to withdraw some money before taking the boat.

Before you go

Do not forget to take:
– one bottle of water per person.
– sunscreen and sunglasses
– medicine against seasickness
– a swimsuit and towel if you want to swim, as well as fins, masks and snorkels.

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