Top 5 activities to visit the Cousteau Reserve
To the west of Guadeloupe, in Basse-Terre, lies a protected marine area of around 400 hectares renowned for its rich underwater biodiversity: the Réserve Cousteau. As this site is a must-see for all visitors to Guadeloupe, you'll be delighted to discover in this article the top 5 activities for visiting the Réserve Cousteau and its îlets Pigeon!
Stretching along the west coast of Basse-Terre, between Pointe Mahaut south of Pointe-Noire and Pointe Lézarde in Bouillante, the Réserve Cousteau has been an integral part of the Parc national de la Guadeloupe since 2009. It is a maritime area renowned for the beauty of its exceptionally rich seabed, with water temperatures fluctuating between 25 and 30°C throughout the year. If you're spending a holiday in Guadeloupe, this is a must-see destination, with a wide range of activities to discover the Réserve Cousteau accessible to as many people as possible!
1 - Observe the reserve's underwater life by diving
Scuba diving in the Réserve Cousteau is one of the best experiences you can have in Guadeloupe. As well as offering you the chance to meet incredible underwater species such as green or hawksbill turtles, and a multitude of multicoloured fish, this activity is accessible to absolute beginners thanks to the introductory dive from Malendure beach, and to the most experienced divers with numerous sites where you can carry out one or more exploration dives, either supervised or autonomous, from Anse à la Barque. Scuba diving is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in the Cousteau Reserve, so make sure you don't miss out!
2 - Take a sea kayak out to the islets of Pigeon
From Bouillante, renting a sea kayak at the Réserve Cousteau is a must if you want to cruise in total peace and quiet through the heart of the reserve, all the way to the îlets Pigeon. It's an eco-friendly and tranquil way to discover this protected marine area, and you'll have the pleasure of sailing at your own pace through crystal-clear waters teeming with underwater life. You'll also have the chance to take a dip or go snorkelling once you've reached the îlets Pigeon and their unspoilt nature! Whether you're on your own, with your partner, family or friends, sea kayaking is one of the most enjoyable activities you can do at Réserve Cousteau.
3 - Snorkelling for family fun in the water
If scuba diving is too impressive for you, snorkelling in the Cousteau Reserve is the other essential way of observing the underwater life that resides there. With the help of a mask, snorkel and fins, all you have to do is swim along the surface of the translucent water to admire the fish and coral flourishing in their protected environment. Whether you're looking for a short guided adventure with a local who knows the reserve's underwater flora and fauna inside out, or a full day in the water where you can dive to your heart's content, snorkelling excursions in the Réserve Cousteau are not to be missed in Basse-Terre!
4 - Enjoy the reserve on a boat trip
A boat trip in the Cousteau Reserve is an ideal way to enjoy not only the scenery, but also activities such as snorkelling and scuba diving, and will provide you with unforgettable moments with your loved ones. During the day, you'll have time to visit various diving sites, and even sail along a large part of the Côte sous-le-vent and its wild landscapes. Accompanied by a local captain, you'll be sure to make the most of your visit to the Cousteau Reserve by boat!
5 - Jet skiing around the Cousteau Reserve
From a short 30-minute initiation to a half-day excursion, jet ski trips around the Cousteau Reserve are available to suit all tastes! Even if you can't get around the reserve with your machines, you'll enjoy superb views of the îlets Pigeon and the west coast of Basse-Terre, while discovering the incredible gliding sensations provided by jet skis. Depart from Malendure beach in Bouillante, following a guide who will be delighted to introduce you to the Cousteau Reserve and its history!
Among the things to do to discover the Réserve Cousteau, water sports are of course the most numerous. And apart from the 5 activities listed above, you can also go stand-up paddling, towed buoys, flyboarding, etc., but that's not all! You can also enjoy a pleasant stroll in the Parc de la Source, with a view of the îlets Pigeon from the heights of Bouillante.
And if you're looking for more adventure, but this time on land, you can take part in the canyoning activities close to the Réserve Cousteau, the easiest of which is accessible from the age of 7. And if you're looking for inspiration for your holiday, take a look at the things to do in Guadeloupe for a dream trip!