Visit the magnificent Cousteau reserve in Guadeloupe

Visit the magnificent Cousteau reserve in Guadeloupe

If you’re a fan of diving and the seabed, and would like to enjoy a unique and incredible experience. advises you to discover and visit the Cousteau reserve.

First of all, what is the Cousteau reserve?

The Réserve Cousteau is one of the most beautiful dive sites in Guadeloupe. It has been a protected natural marine environment since 1996. It is located in the commune of Bouillante, in the Basse-Terre region of Guadeloupe, and stretches from Pointe Mahault to Pointe Lézarde. It is also part of the Guadeloupe National Park, right next to Plage Malendure. It includes the îlets Pigeon and 1,000 hectares of incredible seabed.

How to find out?

To discover this marine area, all you have to do is dive. With an average water temperature of 26° C and depths ranging from 3 to 60 meters, diving is the number one recommended activity for visitors to the reserve. Get your mask, flippers and air tank ready, and off you go to visit some sensational seabeds.

Why does this reserve bear the commander’s name?

The reserve is named after Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau. The place became famous because the commander guided filmmaker Louis Malle to shoot the images for the first film on marine life, “The Silent World”, in the 1950s. Following this tribute, Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s bust was sunk in the reserve. It is now 13 meters underwater, and was commissioned by the municipality in 2004.

The captain and oceanographic explorer has made numerous underwater documentaries in this reserve. He fell in love with this heavenly place. As early as the 60s, he worked and asked France on several occasions to make this a protected area.

5 reasons to discover this unique place

  • 1/ It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
  • 2/ There’s a whole underwater city living under the sea.
  • 3/ It’s a real treat for visitors, who discover numerous species of coral, gorgonians, sponges and many marine animals (fish, turtles, crustaceans, sharks, etc.).
  • 4/ Around January and February, it’s possible to hear the songs of whales on their courtship rituals, a real treat for the ears.
  • 5/ It’s accessible to all.

Video credit: Lens & Fins

What are the different activities you can do?

Diving to discover 1000 hectares of seabed and the reserve’s underwater fauna.

There are several dive sites where you can discover incredible flora and fauna. You’ll find coral, tropical fish, gorgonians, Neptune’s brains, sponges and sea turtles.

Dive to see the bust of Commandant Cousteau.

The commander’s bust was cast in the reserve. It is surrounded by coral, master fish and turtles. It lies at a depth of 13 meters. You need to be a good diver to discover it. But you can also see it from a glass-bottomed boat like the Nautilus.

Go swimming with the turtles.

The magnificent Malendure beach is renowned as a fantastic place to swim with turtles. There are 2 species of turtle often encountered: the green turtle and the hawksbill turtle. Sea turtles are nationally protected.

Discover the Ilets Pigeon.

Located opposite Malendure beach, you can discover the Ilets Pigeon. You’ll need to hire a sea kayak to access the large ilet. When you get there. You can visit it on foot.

You can take part in a range of sporting activities.

For example, you can scuba dive, kayak, snorkel and go boating. Fishing has been banned since the 1970s.

Enjoy the sunset and walk along the black sandy beach of Malendure.

Gouter et manger des plats créoles succulents.

There are many restaurants on Malendure beach where you can have lunch overlooking the reserve.

Video credit: Jean Michel Delebecque

How do I get there?

If you want to make the most of the day, we advise you to leave in the morning. If you live on Grande-Terre, you’ll need between 45 minutes to get to Pointe-à-Pitre and 1 h 30 to get to Saint-François.

To reach Bouillante from Grande-Terre, follow the signs for Deshaies from Pointe-à-Pitre, passing through Sainte-Rose, Deshaies and Pointe-Noire.

Rental cars are still the best way to get around, compared with public transport.


What do you think of this magnificent reserve? 


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