Guadeloupe: 15 gorgeous reasons to go
February 17, 2014 -- Updated 0118 GMT (0918 HKT)
Don't like being hassled by beach vendors? You won't be in Guadeloupe, with 200-plus public beaches that stand out for their natural state and lack of salesmen or towering resorts.
Guadeloupe Islands: Pristine beaches
Inns and villas
Pointe des Châteaux
Guadeloupe National Park
French Creole cuisine
- In the eastern Caribbean, Guadeloupe is a perennially overlooked paradise
- New flights from the United States may change its tourist profile
- The five-island group is an overseas region of France
- French traditionally make up more than 80% of all tourists to Guadeloupe
(CNN) -- Think the old, pre-megaresort Caribbean is gone?
It's not on pristine Guadeloupe -- a five-island overseas region of France located in the Leeward Islands -- but the era of relative obscurity there may be coming to an end.
First the pristine part.
With modern infrastructure and top-notch cuisine, Guadeloupe is a 629-square-mile treasure of near-empty beaches, forests, waterfalls, cliffs and healthy coral reefs.
Fresh conch kebabs, seaside bars, gwo ka drummers playing and chanting against the sound of lapping waves -- how this cluster of islands has remained off-the-beaten path for so long is a mystery for out of work travel agents to contemplate.
That may change. Soon.
Traditional Caribbean culture still prevails on Guadeloupe.
Historically, a stronghold of French tourists, Guadeloupe is vying to become the next big winter escape for North Americans, launching formal marketing efforts aimed at those tourists just last year.
In April 2013, American Airlines and Seaborne Airlines launched weekly, direct flights from Miami and Puerto Rico to the main city of Pointe-à-Pitre (population 132,884).
JetBlue followed in November, signing an interline agreement with Seaborne.
By the close of 2013, Guadeloupe Islands' Tourist Board reported a 22.5% annual increase in visitors from the United States.
According to the Caribbean Journal, Guadeloupe received just 420,000 visitors overall in 2013.
If all of this doesn't convince you to give Guadeloupe a look now, the gallery above just might.
Part of complete coverage on
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
A foreign language can be the best aphrodisiac, so we traveled the world in search of the hottest accents.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0735 GMT (1535 HKT)
Hidden from the rest of the world for decades, Myanmar's Lethwei boxing is experiencing a revival globally.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1117 GMT (1917 HKT)
This aging cargo work whale makes more than 60 flights each week, carrying parts for all of the Airbus programs.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1132 GMT (1932 HKT)
Vikings, vicious politics and vindaloo curries -- Scotland isn't all tartan and bagpipes.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 0026 GMT (0826 HKT)
Former brothels, public toilets and war bunkers now provide eccentric watering holes for those willing to drink deep.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 0304 GMT (1104 HKT)
Joburg is trendy, Cape Town is glamorous, but Durban has style -- and a restaurant inside a shark tank.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0756 GMT (1556 HKT)
Former Tirana stronghold of a totalitarian leader now home to a pulsing clubs and bar scene.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0338 GMT (1138 HKT)
Whether filled with electric blue sulfur flames or hissing lava, these mega mountains offer incredible vistas.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 0040 GMT (0840 HKT)
This once-a-year luxury cruise visits untouched islands and never-snorkeled reefs.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
Peter J. Goutiere was just shy of 30 years old when he piloted a Douglas C-47 from Miami to Kolkata, India.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 2247 GMT (0647 HKT)
Breathtaking scenery, championship design -- many of the courses dropped into the Canadian Rockies are among the most memorable in the world.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1306 GMT (2106 HKT)
Why Florentijn Hofman is sending a giant beast into London's River Thames.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Scrap all those other bucket lists you've been compiling and start saving -- these memorable-for-a-lifetime trips don't come cheap, or easy.
September 6, 2014 -- Updated 0042 GMT (0842 HKT)
A squabble over a device that limits how far a seat can recline has brought inflight etiquette into the spotlight again.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1023 GMT (1823 HKT)
Thirst for victory competes with thirst for booze in event where competitors raise their glasses long before they cross the finish line.
Today's five most popular stories