This is a guest post by Björn Simonson. Thanks for this great kite spot review!
All text and images in this article, unless stated otherwise © Björn Simonson and used with permission.
Date: January 9
Wind: Easterly trade wind, 8–9 m/s (16-18 knots)
Air temp: Around 29˚C
Water temp: Around 27˚C
My girlfriend and I decided to spend four weeks in Guadeloupe, vacationing and remote working. This was not a dedicated kite trip so I didn’t bring any gear or set my sights on any specific area on the island.
Guadeloupe is quite close to St Lucia where I spent two weeks kitesurfing eight years ago. It has the same lovely climate at the beginning of the year as most of the Caribbean. From Europe, you fly from Paris with Air France on a direct flight, landing at the main airport near Pointe-a-Pitre. For Europeans it’s very smooth since Guadeloupe is French and part of EU (but not Schengen).
Where to stay in Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe consists of two main islands, Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre. Pointe-a-Pitre is located on the west side of Grand-Terre and is the main city of Guadeloupe (although the administrative capital is Basse-Terre, on Basse-Terre).
Most people get around by car in Guadeloupe, and while there are a few bus lines they won’t take you to all the places you want to go. In fact, there are only a few places you can realistically stay without access to a car – with Le Gosier or Saint-Anne being the best options if you choose that route. We stayed in Le Gosier.
In Le Gosier there aren’t any places to kite though, so for that reason, we took the bus to Sainte-Anne (requiring a change and a new ticket halfway) to explore the kitesurfing east of Sainte-Anne, at Anse du Belley.
What is Guadeloupe like?
Guadeloupe is very hilly and with jungle all around. In January, it was warm without being unbearably hot. You pay in Euro (€) and most places accept cards – even in local markets and small stands. Prices are quite high, so it’s not the best place for travelling on a shoestring.
French is the main language, and even though mandatory English is being taught in the schools, there’s about a 50% chance that the local you’re speaking to will understand English. There are a lot of French tourists of course, and visiting the different beaches you understand why – the beaches are very very good.
Grande-Terre is the more big-scale touristy island, with Basse-Terre having the more personal och chill vibe you might expect from a Caribbean island. That said, there are nice places to be found in the main towns along the south coast of Grande-Terre as well. We never felt unsafe or heard of places to avoid, and in general, people are helpful.
Sainte-Anne kitesurf spot guide
There are many places you can kitesurf around Guadeloupe, which becomes evident as you see kites flying here and there as you drive along the coastal roads.
I chose to surf in Sainte-Anne, as it’s close to Le Gosier where we stayed and they have what turned out to be a good place to rent equipment – Sainte-Anne Kitesurf School. The spot is on the outskirts of Sainte-Anne and I chose to walk from the town centre since I wasn’t sure if the bus would stop anywhere near the spot. There was plenty of space to park near the beach, and given the number of cars there I would say that is the way to get there.
To reserve my gear, I simply emailed them a few days in advance requesting to rent a full set which cost me €70 for two hours. Once I arrived they set me up with fresh Ozone Catalyst kites and an F-one board. They had lots of kites in the back, so they can probably accommodate most sizes of riders and wind conditions.
I got some advice on where to ride in the bay (stay away from the coastline to the West), and to stay out of the learner zone where the beginners are parked. The beach has plenty of space for both rigging and launching, with the added bonus of grass which is a favourite of mine. With the Eastern trade winds, you ride cross-shore but luckily the bay will help catch you if the worst should happen and you need to drift to shore.
The staff was friendly, and spoke OK English. They didn’t have a proper payment terminal though, and I didn’t have a data plan for the island, so things got interesting until I could connect to another customer’s phone and use his internet to pay my rental fee.
Out on the water, there was plenty of space and no obstacles to worry about except for the very obvious reef further out to sea. The day I was there, it was some chop and the occasional bigger wave to launch from. When asking, the staff said there are some days of flat water, but given the location if must be very rare.
Le Moule on the north shore of Grande-Terre is supposedly the main kitesuft hub of Guadelope. During my short visit there I got the impression the shoreline was mostly rocky and a small beach with wave surfers. However, it would probably be worth a visit if you come for kitesurfing as the main activity.
For me, it was nice to get out on the water for a few hours. But given that my French is almost non-existent I assume it would be a bit hard to get to know the locals and have that nice post-ride chat which for me is a big part of the experience.