The fourth day of our Caribbean cruise started with a unimpressive sun rise. It seemed like we were going to expect another similar weather like the disappointing St. Lucia and that would suck. Though we were really interested to the Caribbean, we really didn’t have any idea what to do when on the islands other than St. Lucia. For Guadeloupe, it was the same case and during our rest time in the cabin, we booked another tour, this time choosing to do a trekking activity to Carbet Falls and also a visit to a local rum distillery, called Longueteau Distillery, where Guadeloupe was known for its rum.
Similar to the previous day, there was a meeting time on the port for us and after breakfast, we disembark and met the tour guide before boarding the bus.
The first stop on the tour was to visit Changy Hindu temple, which was closed. We got off the bus and stood outside to take photos while the guide explained some history to the temple. I was just amused to find a Hindu temple in the Caribbean.
Afterwards it was a long journey on the bus as the Carbet falls, south wards from the port at Pointe-a-Pitre. The bus moved along a highway and there were much interesting along the way. As we neared the entrance point, the the bus coach needed to maneuver its way up the curvy 2 lanes and it particularly busy that day. It really took a lot if skill to get us safely at the top and we were all pretty impressed when we saw the bus negotiated a turn with another vehicle coming thru the other direction, that when he was successful, the passengers all clapped in unison.
The Carbet falls was located in a bigger national park. Along the way as the coach climbed, we saw that the leaves of the plants seemed to be particularly larger than usual. It was as if the plants were from Jurassic Park. We alighted at the entrance and started the walk towards the falls, with the guide taking the lead. It was a really easy walk with roads that were well seasoned and wooden path were available.
We were able to see the 2 falls somewhere near the entrance and took a shot there. Waiting time to get a shot was low since the park wasn’t really busy.
Just like any national park, there were signs abound to aid the independent trekker or the locals to move around the park, thought they were in French. It was a really refreshing walk, being so close to nature. There weren’t any mosquitoes too.
The walk took some 20ish minutes, but the final location wasn’t really up to expectations. There was a deck where you could get to snap photos with the falls in the background, but for some reason, we weren’t able to get a clear shot, likely due to the overgrown shrubs that were overhead. There were some trekkers that went past our location, although taking different route that was off the beaten track but because we were tied to the tour group, we weren’t in the position to explore ourselves, and had to walk all the way back to the coach.
The final stop of the tour was to visit a rum distillery where we could get to taste their rum and purchase some if we liked. Once arrived, we were greeted by a large field of sugarcane and then a nice residence with a pair of German Shepherds. Friendly large dogs were running around and playing, excited to see a busload of visitors.
The guide introduced the area and distillery and brought us around to what looked like an abandoned plant. There we saw the various machineries and equipment that totally reminded me of my workplace minus the grime. There were a few signboards placed around and we were free to roam the 3 storeys of the plant but many didn’t stay long. I thought we were going to see a live distillery and some “work in progress” but since nothing was moving and so was kind of a let down for me.
As usual, an expected shop, as of all tourist locations, where the run that was distilled could be tasted. The people behind the counter weren’t shy when it came to tasting and they were giving the crowd whatever the people wanted to taste, albeit in small quantities, but the crowd weren’t shy either, swarming the counter like a buffet table and tasting as many as they could. We tried 2 fruity flavoured too, one being ever popular Caribbean fruit banana and it was ok. We weren’t alcohol people and anything that had high percentage of alcohol just reminded us of surgical alcohol. It was mentioned that they had won some kinda award for their rums at an international rum meet so I guessed they do have some quality in their products. Nonetheless, we didn’t buy any and neither were many of those who were busy tasting the rum.
We arrived back in Pointe-a-Pitre relatively early and thinking that there was still some time till departure, we decided to take a walk around. We hadn’t had lunch and it was be nice to try something there. Just like the St. Lucia the previous day, the town was made up of small vintage buildings in French architecture and it was an interesting feeling to see them. Maybe it gave us the feeling like looking retrospectively on France in the past. We weren’t sure of the security and some of the streets leading from the cruise were quite empty but it was ok. With a simplified map in hand, something from our “Lonely Planet”, we went venturing.
After walking a while, we saw a square where there was a sheltered market. Didn’t explore much as we didn’t think we would find food there.
Walking to park, we managed to locate a cafe and decided to have lunch there. My wife was able to comprehend bits of the menu in French (some practice for her) but the guy serving us could speak English too. Food was ok and we paid in Euros since it was a country belonging to France. After lunch, we walked a bit more, got ourselves an ice-cream to cool off the heat before heading back to the cruise.
Yet another animal appeared in our room after dinner. This made us looked forward to going back to the cabin.