From Petit Havre to Anse à Saint
Le Gosier

From Petit Havre to Anse à Saint

Coastline and cliff
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A great trail along the south coast of Grande-Terre with the chance to see plant life adapted to drought and wind, beautiful beaches (some of which are little known and wild) and magnificent views over Basse-Terre and Marie-Galante… and much else besides !
The series of hills and descents on the first part of the trail, although quite short, mean this trail is listed as of average difficulty. What's more, the heat can be intense. Don't forget to take at least 1.5 litres of water per person... and you can of course enjoy a swim in a number of different places !

8 points of interest

  • Flora


    This tree is easy to spot, and you will see it all along the trail. So we might as well talk about it right from the start! It stands out with its red-brown bark which peels away in fine strips (which is why it is nicknamed "the tourist tree" in the Caribbean islands, since it "peels"!). When the trunk is cut, a fragrant white sap oozes out. It is considered as an anti-inflammatory and healing agent. Scientific name is Bursera simaruba.
  • Geology

    Section on the cay

    This section over the old coral reefs reveals an essential aspect of the geological history of Grande-Terre. It was originally a volcanic island, with the surface below sea level for millions of years. This led to the development of the limestone plateau we can see today.
  • Fauna

    Acromyrmex octospinosus

    You will probably notice these ants coming and going along the trail. In French they are known as "manioc ants" or "parasol ants". You will soon see why! The plants the ants carry are used as compost. They grow a mushroom on the compost as food. The compost is kept at constant temperature and humidity levels up to 2 metres below the ground! The ants were introduced into Guadeloupe in the 1950s with imported vegetables. They are considered as an invasive species. Scientific name is Acromyrmex octospinosus.
  • Viewpoint


    To the left is Petit-Havre beach. If you turn towards the sea, near the headland, you will often spot surfers. Out to sea, it is easy to locate Marie-Galante. On a clear day, you can even see Dominica (to the right of Marie-Galante). Lastly, you will definitely be able to spot Les Saintes (at least the mountain tops!), and Basse-Terre, on the far right.
  • History

    Old fortress – Pointe de Petit-Havre

    This site, like many other headlands in Guadeloupe, was strategically very important. In the 18th century, the struggle between the English and French was raging, with each nation seeking to take control of the island. At the sight of enemy ships, a red flat was hoisted and lowered the same number of times as there were enemy vessels... The range of a cannon of this kind was over 3 km!
  • Flora

    Portia tree - Anse à Jacques

    A very common tree on the Guadeloupe coast, often mistaken for the dangerous manchineel tree (see below)... but very different in the shape of its leaves, which are a pretty heart shape! It has beautiful flowers which turn from yellow to pink at different stages of its life. The fruit is ribbed, green and then brown, and floats in the sea. The scientific name is Thespesia populnea.
  • Flora

    Manchineel tree

    This is a tree that you should absolutely learn to recognise! It is well adapted to the coast, and you often see them. These trees help to fight the erosion of the beaches, but they are very dangerous. All parts of the tree have a toxic sap that causes burns. It is not recommended to take shelter under one if it rains. Notice its pointed leaves. Scientific name is Hippomane mancinella.
  • Flora

    Aerial roots

    White or black mangrove roots. The roots enable the trees to breathe in soils lacking oxygen. They act like a diver's snorkel. The height of the roots shows the water level during flooding.


The trail with its yellow markings begins to the left of the beach, near the ONF panel "forêt domaniale du littoral". You make your way under the forest cover alongside the cliff, sometimes in the hills, sometimes near the water, with sections directly overlooking the cay (old coral reefs which are sometimes quite sharp). Some sections (both climbs and descents) are tricky, so be careful! After 1 hour 20 minutes, you arrive at the beach in the aptly named Petit-Havre (Little Haven)! You have to cross the rear of the beach and find the path just behind a karbay, near the fishermen's cabins. You then arrive at a headland with the remains of a stronghold and a cannon. This a great site with a wonderful view. You continue the trail to the left of the cannon and leading back into the forest. After 5 minutes, you arrive at L’Anse à Jacques. Cross the bay. The trail continues on the other side, slightly behind the beach (a slight climb up a small hill). After crossing L’Anse Patate, you will soon arrive at L’Anse à Saint, the end of our trail. Then walk towards Morne Jacques to get to the road and the car park.
  • Departure : Salines beach car park, Gosier.
  • Arrival : Anse à Saint beach, Gosier (near Petit Havre beach).
  • Towns crossed : Le Gosier and Sainte-Anne

Altimetric profile


NB: this is a non-circular trail, so you should leave your car at the end of the trail (in L'Anse à l'Eau).
Enclosed shoes required. Minimum 1.5 L of water per person (one way). A snack and... a swimsuit!
Please note, unsupervised car parks and swimming.

Information desks

Office du tourisme du Gosier

rue Félix Eboué, 97190 Le Gosier 90 84 80 80

Access and parking

GPS starting point: Lat: 16,20704° N - Long: 61,44281° W.
The trail starts from the Salines beach car park. On the N4, after Le Gosier on the road to Sainte-Anne, you go past Saint-Félix, then the starting point will be on your right (sign for Les Salines).

Parking :

Start: Salines beach car park. Finish: Anse à Saint, Gosier (near Petit Havre beach).


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