The night has fallen over the tropics, but the concept of 'curfew' seems to be definitely foreign to the Caribbeans. Salsa drifts in the humid air, cicadas boast their acoustic talents echoed with envious croaking, and the ocean's humming lullaby brings no relief either. In this cornucopia of sounds, the broad-winged butterfly (check an aerial shot of the island) is quite unlikely to get many winks of sleep.
Yet when the day breaks and birds kick off their customary concertos, Guadeloupe is as fresh as a daisy, welcoming visitors with the invigorating blend of French culinary sophistication, local insular splendor, and...the caprices of nature. For the symmetry typical of butterflies is not to be seen in this species. Its western wing, Basse-Terre, strains under the weight of a thickly-forested national park and the leaden crown of La Soufrière volcano, which makes it a worthwhile destination if you favor hiking boots over Yves Saint Laurent stilettos. If trekking gives you blisters and volcanoes shivers, the eastern wing will prove a genial alternative. Though more built up and peopled, Grande-Terre is sprinkled with beguiling beaches and world-class resorts with water sport conditions at their most developed- to say nothing of its charming capital, Pointe-a-Pitre, which is a thriving cultural center and a vivid collection of stately colonial houses, historic buildings, markets, restaurants and top-notch shops.
If you haven't had enough of attractions, this beautiful Caribbean butterfly has a number of constituent islets under its wings. The cosmopolitan style of Terre-de-Haut, the blissful tranquility of La Désirade and the bucolic ambiance of Marie-Galante are all well worth sampling to get a full picture of Guadeloupe's complex character.