One of the highlights of our holiday certainly was the little excursion we did to Basse Terre. Basse means low or down but it’s actually higher than Grande Terre (the island we stayed on) and also bigger. The name is misleading. Basse can also mean down, and it’s called Basse Terre because it’s downwind of Grande Terre.
Basse Terre has more agriculture than Grande Terre, because it receives a lot of rain. At least the side that’s protected by la soufrière, the volcano. The area surrounding the volcano is a nature reserve and a national park.
We started our tour by visiting a beautiful waterfall, Cascade aux Ecrevisses.
I am a little jaded with regards to waterfalls after visiting Iceland. But even I have to admit that the rainforest is beautiful.
We continued out tour at the botanical gardens, where it started to rain heavily. They are prepared for this, though and handed us all an umbrella. The garden used to belong to Coluche, our guide told us. Everyone nodded and I didn’t dare ask, fearing it would be a really important French statesman. Turns out he was a French comedian (so I think it’s okay that I’d never heard of him).
The garden has an aviary for rainbow lorikeets, an Australian species of parrot. You can walk inside the aviary and buy a bit of nectar from a dispenser. Then all the birds will approach and try to steal the little cup from you. It was loud and very awesome.
As you can see from the pictures, they move fast and I was equal parts delighted and scared with having birds sit on me and steal food.
For lunch we got a little lecture on rhum and mixology. Gergö went for ti’punch, as usual, and I tried my aperitif with the fruit of the cashew nut. I didn’t even know that it exists. According to Wikipedia it’s called cashew apple, but I only saw it in the form of confit. It tasted sweet and like fruit and it might as well have been peach or plum, to be honest. I’m not complaining, though.
After lunch we went to Malendure beach, where the sand is black from the volcanic stone. We boarded a little boat that took us out to pidgeon island.
The area is the Jacques Cousteau water reserve. The boat had a glass bottom and we could watch the fish (and the divers) while we sailed. Once out there we also got masks and went snorkelling ourselves.