One of the bucket list destinations for any scuba diver is a visit to Guadeloupe. Not to be confused with Guadalupe in Mexico, where you can scuba with great white sharks, Guadeloupe is a series of islands in the Antilles. One of the French territories in the Caribbean, the Guadeloupe islands include Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Las Saintes, Marie-Galante and La Désirade.
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With over 240 kilometres of coastline, there are plenty of opportunities for divers of all levels with 20 dive sites. The waters are mostly calm and there is healthy coral throughout. As well the government has strict regulations protecting the waters. As a French territory, obviously French is the official language of the islands. Most instructors and dive masters speak French, not English. This won’t be an issue underwater as the scuba signals are universal; however, this may not be the best place to get a beginner open water certification if you do not speak French. Beginners will find dive sites in Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre are most appropriate, while more experienced scuba divers will find sites throughout the archipelago.
One of the reasons that Guadeloupe is so famous is that Jacques Cousteau once claimed that it was one of the best diving spots in the world and urged the government to preserve it.
He was so enamoured with it that he shot part of “Le Monde du Silence” here in 1956. Today it is home to the Cousteau Underwater Reserve. The most popular region to dive, this marine park is located on the west coast of Basse-Terre with a number of dive sites. The park is government protected, no one can drop an anchor here in order to protect the marine life. This side of the island is steep and makes for a great dive no matter the experience level. Here are 10 dive sites in Guadeloupe that you don’t want to miss.
La Grotte Aux Baracudas
One of the most popular dive spots in Guadeloupe, this is a blue cave with great visibility to see many barracudas.
A spot for advanced open water divers as there are always currents, often very strong. The underwater pinnacles look like a row of witches hats and the site is widely considered one of the best dives in the Caribbean.
It is located in the channel off the island of Les Santes, there are three peaks with a bounty sea life including, black coral, sponges, angel fish, stingrays and green moray eels.
The Quecy Point
Just south of the popular town of Bouillante, Quecy Point is 54 ft deep where you can swim through a volcanic pipe, under a reef and into a small cave.
Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin
This natural reserve is in between Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre is the natural reserve. There is fantastic reef diving with a 29k barrier reef, along with beds of seagrass and mangrove swamps.
The Japanese Garden is located off Grande-Terre. It is also a popular swimming and snorkelling spot for its number of vibrant fish and coral throughout the area. It is one of the most popular dive sites.
This wreck was voluntarily sunk in 1996 to provide an artificial reef. There are 3 wrecks in Guadeloupe (the others being Le Gustavia and l’Augustin Fresnel II).
The Franjack is 50m long and although it once rested on its port side, after the tropical storm Berta it shifted to the keel. Divers of all levels can visit this site to view various fish, sponges and coral.
Suitable for all divers, the site is known for its fantastic visibility from 10-30 metres.
Le Jardin de Corail
This coral garden is located in the Cousteau reserve. The first coral reef begins at just 6 feet under water so it’s great for divers of all levels, but experienced divers can view coral up to 150 feet deep.
While there are a number of coral, jackfish, sea turtles and other marine life, one of the most popular sites is the 36 foot statue of Cousteau planted in the sand.
A dive site perfect for beginner divers as it follows a coral reef that gradually slopes down. It is full of fish, sea turtles and vibrant gorgonians.
Known as “The Pool” in English, this dive spot is primarily used for scuba training as it’s perfect for first-time divers. It is a shallow area with white sand that resembles a pool, and is close to many coral reefs so beginners will not miss out on the fish and marine life.