13 points of interest
At the ravine there is a Simarouba amara, a member of the Simarubaceae family. It has a smooth, yellow bark that is cracked in a few places. Its flowers are yellowish-green and produce a honey-like aroma. Its wood is used in cabinet-making to make the interior parts of furniture.
A member of the Musaceae family, Heliconia caribaea is a large grass that is typical of the Lesser Antilles tropical rainforest. A member of the same family as the banana trees, the plant can grow up to 5 m high. It features an inflorescence that resembles a red ear or red ear with yellow trim, or sometimes completely yellow. Its flowers are visible all year round, most notably between April and June.
Lobelia persicifolia is a plant that is endemic to Guadeloupe that thrives on slopes and along paths between 450-800 metres above sea level, or sometimes even lower (below 150 metres). It was used by Native Americans, who would crush it and put it in the river to intoxicate fish and make them easier to catch.
Its red flowers form a visible inflorescence, especially between October and May.
The Yucca Plum Pine
A member of the Podocarpaceae family, Podocarpus coriaceus is also known as the Yucca Plum Pine. Closely related to conifers, it is an average-sized tree, measuring around 10-16 metres. It has a thin layer of bark. It has leathery leaves that resemble an oleander's: dark green on top, they span 6-15 cm with no discernible stalk. Its flowers are discreet, but its brownish seeds in its red buds are certainly eye-catching. This species is found throughout the West Indies and flowers mainly in December and January.
Piton Belle Hôtesse
Le Piton Belle Hôtesse : 777 metres above sea level.
Nautilocalyx melittifolius is a member of the Gesneriaceae family. It is a small, pink-purple coloured flower.
- Mountain shelter
Belle Hôtesse shelter
The Belle Hôtesse bivouac (shelter) has room for around 10 people to sleep in the heart of the rainforest.
It is strongly recommended that you bring your floor mat or hammock (plus fasteners), because there are only wooden bunks available on site.
N.B. The shelters have no running water or electricity available. They are not supervised and do not include a cleaning service. Please leave them clean and tidy !
Le Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin
View of Le Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin.
Piton Grand Fond
Piton Grand Fond (641 metres).
View west towards la Pointe Ferry.
Piton Baille-Argent (606 metres).
Bursera simaruba is easy to spot, on account of its reddish bark that comes off in scraps. Its bark is green and smooth underneath.
- River and waterfall
The Baille-Argent river is perfect for a relaxing break before returning to your car. On the walk, which almost concludes at this point, the trail does a tour of the catchment basin which feeds into the river.
Hiking trail colour: yellow
You get to the start of the trail by walking for a short while in the direction of "Belle Hôtesse". After climbing for a while you reach the ridge. Turn right towards "Belle Hôtesse / Sofaïa". Stay on this trail towards Piton Belle Hôtesse. When you reach the shelter, turn left towards "Baille Argent / Sofaïa-Mazeau". Keep going on the path heading left, towards "Piton Bailleargent".
At the next intersection, keep going straight ahead. Then turn left towards "Piton Baille-Argent". You reach Piton Grand Fond. Keep left in the same direction towards Piton Baille-Argent.
You should arrive shortly after going through a clearing and over a river crossing. Make sure you have a vehicle waiting for you at the hamlet of Beausoleil.
N.B. As this is a circular trail, make sure to leave your vehicle at the start point.
- Departure : Pointe-Noire, parking area above the "Gommier" and "Trou Caverne" (end of the road)
- Arrival : Pointe-Noire, Beausoleil hamlet
- Towns crossed : Pointe-Noire, Sainte-Rose, and Deshaies
As Guadeloupe is prone to natural risks, extra care should be taken in this natural environment. For the benefit of all hikers, responsible behaviour is very important.
Warning : the parking area is unsupervised.
Access and parking
GPS coordinates of the start point : Lat : 16,25185 N - Long : 61,78012 W.
At Pointe-Noire: leave your car at the start at the hamlet of Beausoleil and then take Route RN2 towards the town of Pointe-Noire. At "Trou Caverne" turn left towards "Belle
Hôtesse". The trail start point is at the top of the road.
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