The village of Deshaies on the Caribbean island of Basse-Terre is surrounded by spectacular golden beaches and lush green hills, a luxury cruise destination with more than a little Creole style. Here you'll find that the easy-going pace of life goes hand in hand with remarkable wildlife and natural surroundings, making this the ideal place to relax in the sun.
You won't find any bustling urban centre around Deshaies – in fact, much of the wooden houses and shops are half-hidden from above by the trees. Many of the buildings here have been built by their owners, painted in bright primary and secondary colours in classic Caribbean style. The walls of buildings here reflect the brilliant colours of the flowers, insects and birds you're likely to find in the island's most popular tourist attraction, the botanical gardens:
Read More Botanical gardens
Take some time to wander around these remarkable tropical gardens, filled with bright flowers and lush green plants and trees. You'll also be able to see some of the world's most beautiful wildlife, from colourful hummingbirds and flamingos to inquisitive parrots and shoals of koi carp in the ornamental ponds. Spend a couple of hours relaxing around the waterfall, or head up to the restaurant for a meal or an ice cream.
A shore excursion around Deshaies may well give you the chance to rent a kayak and enjoy the local lagoon, surrounded by mangroves and lying close to the beach – yet an entirely different environment to explore. Here you might spot the herons native to the area, fishing in the waters of the lake; or even just relax on the shore, with the tumbling waves of the beach on one side and the still lagoon on the other.
Visitors to Deshaies will find lots of opportunities to dive in the clear waters here, and could well find themselves swimming with graceful turtles or shoals of tropical fish. Look out especially for a bust of Jacques Cousteau, resting on the sea bed. Take some time to yourself to snorkel in the surrounding seas, or else take a lesson in scuba diving for a longer stint under the waves – some of the local diving schools are family-run and well known for the quality of their teaching.
Shopping in Deshaies
Deshaies isn't a place brimming with boutiques and designer outlets; there's very much a village feel here when it comes to shopping. You're much more likely to find a wealth of food stalls and farmers' markets than you are crafts and jewellery – selling local produce, spices and fresh fish from the bay.
Eating out in Deshaies
There are plenty of small, relaxed places to dine around Deshaies, many of which will allow you to take a seat overlooking the sea. Take a hot slice of a stone-baked pizza in one of the village's small Italian eateries, or head to one of the area's many Creole restaurants for lobster or red snapper with a glass of rum.