Warmed and tempered by the sun and the sea, the Guadeloupe Islands are the perfect place to recharge your batteries, especially at the natural therapeutic wonders – hot springs, sulfur pools and mud baths – found on all five islands. For more full indulgences, there is also a full menu of wellbeing treatments available at award-winning spa retreats, including fresh fruit pulp wraps (papaya, guava, mango, lime, cocoa) and body sculpting with essential oils derived from local flowers, plants and fruits.
Natural Sources of Wellness
The natural hot springs, sulfur pools and mud baths of the Guadeloupe Islands are not to be missed, particularly those in Basse-Terre that are affected by La Soufrière volcano. Plan for a soak in Thomas Source in Bouillante, the Matouba hot springs, the Yellow Baths in Saint-Claude, the Dolé hot springs in Gourbeyre and the Sofaïa sulphur baths of Sainte-Rose.
The sulfurous baths of Sofaïa are particularly highly valued by Guadeloupeans who enjoy the 87.8°F water's healing powers, believed to be effective against rheumatism and skin diseases. Though the smell of sulfur can come as a surprise to those unprepared for it, it is not overpowering, certainly in light of the feeling of wellbeing with which one leaves after a soak. Access to the pool and refurbished showers is free and open.
Also reputed as delivering relief from rheumatism and making the skin particularly soft are the mud baths at Babin beach in Vieux-Bourg (Morne-à-l’eau, Grande Terre). The clay, with its sulfur content, has therapeutic properties believed to ease the pain associated with osteoarthritis, joint problems and skin problems too. Families, friends and people of all ages enjoy this nature reserve.
The Power of Local Medicinal Plants Home to more than 500 species of plants, the Guadeloupe Islands' high biodiversity gives it a full range of natural treasures. Special workshops about medicinal plants and Guadaloupean traditions bring some of this wealth to light. The activity leaders are well-known specialists and the atmosphere is very relaxed and friendly. The islands' medicinal plants are now listed as part of the French pharmacopoeia.
Since 2010, the Tendacayou Ecolodge Boutique Hotel & Spa (in Deshaies, Basse-Terre) has served as a magical retreat in the heart of the rainforest. Its new spa, organic pond and invigorating waterfall are all part of an unequivocal invitation to commune with nature. The steam room is just a prelude to scrubs and to wraps made from fresh fruit pulp (papaya, guava, coconut, mango, vanilla, lime, cocoa). Masseurs and beauticians offer a variety of facial and body treatments.
At the Parc aux Orchidées (at Pointe-Noire, Basse-Terre), nature and orchids rule the roost. This is a stunning tropical environment – a beautiful Guadeloupean garden – where massage can restore harmony between body and mind. The Gwada massage treats pain with Creole medicines like a bay rum (a lotion based on a mixture of rum and the leaves of the West Indian bay tree) or an an oil-ginger salve. The friction, kneading, stretching can be quite tonic.
For real wellbeing synergy, La Creole Beach Hotel & Spa in Gosier (Grande-Terre) offers chocolate massages for stress relief and taste satisfaction at the same time.
The modern and colorful ambiance of the Ocean Spa, located in the four-star Toubana Hotel & Spa of Sainte-Anne (Grande-Terre), delivers relaxing and stimulating body massage using essential oils derived from the flowers and fruits of Guadeloupe.
The Private Spa of the four-star Plantation Resort Golf & Spa in Saint-François (Grande-Terre) is a bubble of tranquility. An exclusive product partnership with Cinq Monde means that its beauty and therapy treatments are coffee- or papaya-flavored for a refined and shiny skin.