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3 French Caribbean Islands You Simply Must Explore {featuring Windstar}

The Caribbean is such a lovely place – I hope you get to go someday! A little bit ago I had the opportunity to explore the French Caribbean islands via a Windstar Cruises adventure. It was nothing short of amazing! Read all about the cruise itself here. It was a relaxing, luxurious trip over 11 days to 8 different islands, which would make a perfect honeymoon or getaway. Beautiful views and stunning landscapes enhanced my personal experience on the 3 French Caribbean islands we visited. Feel free to take the journey along with me!

Although this post is sponsored in partnership with Windstar Cruises, all opinions and views are my own . I took my first cruise on the Mediterranean Sea with Windstar 8 years ago, and I had an equally fabulous time on my second journey and truly love this cruise line.

French Caribbean Islands Windstar Cruises | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Blog

11 delightful days were spent on board the Star Pride wandering through the Gems of the Leeward Islands. The journey consisted of 8 stunning Caribbean islands and 2 restful days at sea.

Here’s a peek at the full itinerary with Windstar Cruises.

Day 1 – Depart from Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Day 2 – At Sea

Day 3 – Baseterre, St. Kitts

Day 4 – Gustavia, St. BarthelemyWindstar Cruises Gems of the Leeward Islands Route

Day 5 – St. John’s, Antiqua & Barbuda

Day 6 – Les Saintes, Guadeloupe

Day 7 – Pigeon Island, St. Lucia

Day 8 – St. Georges, Grenada

Day 9 – Bequia, St. Vincent Grenadines

Day 10 – Anse Mitan, Martinique

Day 11 – At Sea

Day 12 – Disembark in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Above, the bolded the islands are the French Caribbean islands that will be focused on.

Find out which one was a disappointment at first, where we got drenched, and the island I’m most likely to retire on. Enjoy this glimpse into each of our days on these French Caribbean islands.

It is also necessary to pause and say that a thing to love about Windstar Cruises is the fact that each night before arriving in a port, a “Port Talk” is given so that you can plan your day. Whether you choose to stay onboard (not an option for our adventurous souls!), book an excursion or explore on your own, I would highly suggest taking the time each evening to hear what highlights each island offers.

Day 4 – Gustavia, St. Barthelemy

  • Anchored at 8am, Departed at 10pm

  • Mode of Transportation – ATV

  • Highlights – Rockefeller Beach, Port Area, Viewpoints, Airport

Whether or not you actually see a celebrity, the island of St. Barthelemy will make you feel like one of the elite. Impressive yachts are anchored and docked all throughout the harbor, which also offers luxury shopping and upscale restaurants. This island is also affectionately nicknamed St. Barts (or St. Barths to some).

Our desire to explore led us to rent an ATV for the day. We were able to find one close to the port area but only after trying to navigate our way by walking through the French-speaking town.

The first thing on our list was the secluded Rockefeller Beach.

It is a bit of a jaunt to get to and could be easily missed if you aren’t sure of the way. After parking the ATV we made our way down a 25 minute hike to the beach, which was well worth it for the stunning views. The scenery included lush greenery, beautiful boats and the seaside. So beautiful!

Traveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - St. Barts Barths | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog VirginiaTraveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - St. Barts Barths | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog VirginiaTraveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - St. Barts Barths | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog Virginia

After a bit of time lounging on the beach and swimming, the skies started to get a bit gray.

We quickly packed and headed back up the hill, and about 10 minutes into our walk, a downpour started. The extra 15 minutes of walking certainly left us soaked head to toe.

With an ATV to ride, the weather being fairly warm and the fact that clothes were already soaked, we decided that the best thing to do was explore the island. On an ATV. In the rain. Ha! We spent the rest of the day driving the ATV and trying to explore every road on the island, which offered beautiful views and a tiny airport.

Our time was concluded by heading to what we thought was a fort, which it was, but it was in use as a police station (which is pretty resourceful). Nearby on the same hillside, there was a nature area, which was fabulous for taking photos. I decided to snap a post-rain soaked selfie of myself with the gorgeous port of St. Barts in the background.

All in all, we had a lovely day in St. Barts. Take a peek at a short video of our ATV ride along with more photos of St. Barts.

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Day 6 – Les Saintes, Guadeloupe

  • Anchored at 8am, Departed at 6pm

  • Mode of Transportation – walking

  • Highlights – Fort Napoleon, Dock Area, Cemetery, Beaches, Gorgeous Homes, Cocktails (lol, read below)

Since this island was small, using our legs to explore was the best choice. This decision was promptly regretted when we made the jaunt up to Fort Napoleon. All kidding aside, I’m out of shape, but the view from the top was well worth the climb!

The beaches on the island are working beaches peppered with boats both in and out of the water, which was beautiful. After relaxing for a bit, we headed for a bite to eat. Everything is in French (which is to be expected in the French Caribbean islands!), and we ordered “frites” (fries) and also inquired about drinks. Everything was lost in translation, and I was presented with all 3 cocktails that I had asked about! I felt a bit tired after that, but it did make me chuckle.

Traveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - Guadeloupe | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog VirginiaTraveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - Guadeloupe | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog VirginiaTraveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - Guadeloupe | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog VirginiaTraveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - Guadeloupe | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog VirginiaTraveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - Guadeloupe | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog VirginiaTraveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - Guadeloupe | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog Virginia

Traveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - Guadeloupe | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog Virginia

Strolling to the other side of the island brought us to what I called an “angry beach”. In contrast, the waves were rolling hard and seaweed was washed up on the beach. It had a beauty all its own because not another soul was around.

The island of Guadeloupe also offers gorgeous architecture and cemeteries filled with heavy duty graves that can withstand weather and water. It was interesting to see, and the look was pretty consistent throughout the islands.

We ended our time in Guadeloupe by walking around the shops, visiting a church and relaxing on the beach. I was able to collect quite a bit of seaglass in green and blue, which thrilled my soul to take home as a souvenir.

If I had to say one thing about this island, I am going to claim it as my favorite of the French Caribbean islands.

Why? Well, since we had to be back on the Star Pride by its departure at 6pm, I spent the rest of the day dreaming up my plans to retire on the island. I have not one but two business plans, which I won’t share in case someone wants to steal my ideas so that I can ‘t retire there after all.

Traveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - Guadeloupe | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog VirginiaTraveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - Guadeloupe | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog VirginiaTraveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - Guadeloupe | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog VirginiaTraveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - Guadeloupe | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog VirginiaTraveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - Guadeloupe | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog Virginia

Day 10 – Anse Mitan, Martinique

  • Arrived at 8am, Departed at 5pm

  • Mode of Transportation – ferry, walking

  • Highlights – Beaches, Local Artisans, Area with Cafes, Views, Snorkeling

By process of elimination, this is the island that was a disappointment – at first. I’m quite a sucker for forts both because they are beautiful and offer spacious views, so the first thing to check off of the list was the fort in Martinique. The island’s ferry service is convenient AND offers lovely views. It took us across the way to see the fort, which actually was not tourable. Boo!

The area near the fort is fairly commercial with shops and restaurants, so we hopped on the ferry to head back to our starting point of Anse Mitan. The beach there was packed with people, which isn’t quite our style. I felt so dejected because this was our last of the French Caribbean islands to visit and all of the others had been such a joy!

Traveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - Martinique | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog VirginiaTraveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - Martinique | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog VirginiaTraveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - Martinique | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog VirginiaTraveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - Martinique | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog Virginia

Well, as fate would have it, we got off at the wrong ferry stop.

Instead of getting off at Anse Mitan, we exited at Pointe du Bout. Our misstep could not have been more perfect! The area has local shops, restaurants, handmade items and one of the most gorgeous beaches.

My favorite souvenir was purchased on Martinique, which was a bracelet I commissioned from a local woman who made jewelry out of seeds found on the island. Beads of bright red and others that were covered in “fur” comprised her jewelry (see video below!).

The beach area was perfect for what I call “free-snorkeling” – both because there is no cost and also because you are kind of on your own. The view was gorgeous, the water was clear, and the palm trees offered the perfect amount of shade.

So, what started off as a disappointment actually ended up as the perfect little place to spend the day. I’m so glad fate has us get off at the wrong stop!

Traveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - Martinique | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog VirginiaTraveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - Martinique | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog VirginiaTraveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - Martinique | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog VirginiaTraveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - Martinique | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog VirginiaTraveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - Martinique | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog VirginiaTraveling the French Caribbean Islands - Windstar Cruise - Martinique | Hill City Bride Wedding Travel Blog Virginia

Here’s a little video from my time free-snorkeling. I had so much fun exploring. The great part is that Windstar lets each of their guests sign out a snorkeling set complete with flippers, goggles, snorkels and a bag. Perfect!

Exploring these islands was definitely a big highlight, no matter the weather! With beautiful beaches, quaint shopping areas and stunning views, I hope to get back to each and every one of these islands someday (especially Guadeloupe!). Whether you are planning a honeymoon or a getaway trip (like we did!) this experience with Windstar Cruises was one of our most memorable.

  • Dalene Ekirapa - The Caribbean is very beautiful and full of beach vines! Stuff like that is just what I love. But I think I’d love your day 10 more; that beach is even more beautiful. You must be so happy to have had the experience of a luxurious trip on 11 days on 8 different islands, right?

  • Jennifer - It was such a wonderful time. I do have to say that it was SO hard to come home, though. 🙂

  • Shalee - Wow wow wow! The water, the view, just everything! What an amazing opportunity to visit these islands. I hope you enjoyed every second of your time there and thank-you so much for sharing with us!

  • ELaine - I have actually wondered but never had the time to look up the french carribian islands. Wow, I felt like I am right there with you. It is so beautiful and serene. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Niki - You took some great pictures honey!

  • Kate Werthmann - The cemeteries on the islands are simply amazing! There’s a historic one in Old San Juan that is only accessible from the prominent families over the last thousand years. You can go there and walk around if you want but it’s at the bottom of a fort and the only people who can be buried there are either the family members of the prominent families that were originally buried there or Puerto Rican celebrities of any sort like actors or musicians are artists. Isn’t that wild??

  • Laura Dove - Oh wow the Caribbean is somewhere I have wanted to go for a long time now! All of these places look amazing, I need a holiday!

  • Amalia Silva - This cruise seems like a dream to me, loving your photos make me feel like I’m there too! Also the colour of the water looks incredible!

  • Jennifer - That is so interesting! We were just in Old San Juan and stumbled upon the cemetery you’re referring to. It was so lovely! And I didn’t know the history. Very interesting! 🙂

  • Alison Rost - Imagine coming away to these lovely islands during your honeymoon. I think it’s the best choice to be honest. They’re all a must see and totally worth it!

  • Jhilmil Bhansali - All these islands are more than stunning. I so much need a break far away from this digital world into the lap of nature, like these islands. Indeed bookmarked to plan a travel soon. 🙂

  • Dogvills - These islands in the Carribean are so beautiful! It would be an experience to treasure to go island hopping there! Wish I could have a vacation there at least once in my lifetime!

  • ANITA ZYCH - This looks like a dream trip and I am a dreamer! This part of the world is still unknown for me, but looking forward to discover it. Those islands look like a paradise!

  • Vivian - Wow, sounds like you had a jam packed itinerary! Fabulous photos too, I’m definitely putting the French Caribbean islands on my travel bucket list!

  • Masha - Oh visiting Caribbean islands is on my bucket list, pretty much near the top of the list! This looks like an absolutely perfect vacation!!!The photos you shared are all so lovely (and only make me want to go even more!) I also loved reading your great post!

  • fashionandstylepolice - I would love to explore these islands. That would be a great adventure. Definitely on my travel bucket list now.

  • MELANIE EDJOURIAN - Wow looks like you did quite a bit. I would love to go there the sea looks crystal clear. The cocktails would be a highlight for me too lol.

  • Mayuri Saxena - Wooow! Your travel photographs are tempting me to book my next vacation today. This looks like an amazing trip! I have never been on a cruise so I am going to check out Windstar cruise!

  • EscapeWriters - Hope your both business plan ideas will be successful so that you can have your dream island life at one of the French Caribbean islands. Lovely Pics!!!

  • Msddah - I plan on traveling more to the caribbean. I havent even been to any island yet. That ends this year!

  • David Elliott - All of those places look amazing. I know I would love to explore any or all of those islands. That’s so awesome you were able to see so much of them. Hopefully I can plan a trip out there someday.

  • Nayna Kanabar - Wow what an experience, each island looks great and it’s like being on paradise. I am sure you are glad you went exploring and chose not to stay on board.

  • Komal - My brother recently went to Grenada and he absolutely fell in love with it. Great list!

  • Ana Ojha - Your pictures speak for itself how surreal these islands are! Each one looks like a little paradise in itself! I’m planning a trip to the Caribean Islands soon and can’t wait to explore these destinations!

  • Sigrid Says - The Carribbean has been a long-time dream destination for me. Any of the islands will do. If I get lucky and get to visit 3, wow, that would be a bonus. Now, my interest in these islands has been reignited.

  • Sayanti - The Caribbean gives some really refreshing beach vibes. Personally, I would love to visit St. Barthelemy. The pictures of St. Barthelemy caught all my attention.

  • Denni - everything looks superb! I would love to go in a Caribbean cruise or something like that! beautiful photographs btw

  • Echoesofhervoice - Nice post!

  • Tahnee - Les Saintez looks incredible. I also love when getting lost equals adventures and finding treasures. Love you had such a great time x

  • Margaret Smith - What beautiful photos, I want to go.

  • LaiAriel Samangka - A stunning and refreshing place to enjoy. I love the scenic view!

  • Holly - What a fun trip. It looks like you had a great time. Such beautiful photos…I definitely want to visit!

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