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 – Basseterre, 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 6pm

  • 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).

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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!

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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!

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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 sea glass 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.

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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. Ferry service on the island is convenient AND offers lovely views. It took us across the way to see the fort, which actually was not tourable. Boo!

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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. Unfortunately, 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 from the French Caribbean islands 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. Of course, 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!

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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 French Caribbean 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.

P.S. Want to see the English Caribbean islands we visited? Just check it out here!

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