View from the mountain plateau over the southern part of the island
La Désirade in her nature… The last adult cacti (needs ca. 100 years to reach this size plus cephalium)
Iguana “délicatissima” (native on the Lesser Antilles) in his natural habitat on La Désirade
widespread kind of orchid of the island “brassavola cucullata”
The island La Désirade, belonging to the Lesser Antilles, has been inhabited for centuries. First and foremost, the American Indians lived on the island and named it “Oualiri” and “Cayooli”.

The today’s name of the island owes to Christopher Columbus, who discovered the island on his long seaway in November 1493. The name’s origin is Spanish and was derived from the name “désirada” or “Deseada”, which means the long desired island.

The island is located 8 km from the peninsula Pointe des Châteaux (easternmost point of Guadeloupe), has a length of 11 km and is 2 km wide. The name of its capital as well as main port is “Beauséjour”. Firstly, La Désirade is caracterised by a mountain range, with stretches over the main part of the island and secondly, by a coastal area of 100-200m, which is famous for its coral reefs and which shows the inhabited part of the island. The highest point of the island reaches 273 m above sea level.

In various ways, extending over the mountain crests, you can discover the northern mountain slope, the natural cliff coast and the dense vegetation where only live some residential birds. Here you can find rare plants or those which are threatened by extinction.

The vegetation is characterized by a high dryness. You find plants like the columnar cactus, prickly pear and the native Mélocactus intortus (“Tête à l’anglais”). However, you find mesophilic vegetation in canyons shielded from the wind which surround the plateau. There are growing inter alia jotoba-, kapok- and guavatrees. Mangroves have almost completely disappeared from the island.

The bird fauna is also quite rich, with a number of seabirds such as frigates, pelicans, red-billed tropic birds and animals such as iguanas from the Lesser Antilles and agoutis, a tropical rodent with glossy brown.

Administratively speaking, the island of La Désirade is part of the commune of La Désirade which also includes the uninhabited Petite Terre Islands. The two islets of Petite Terre were designated as a natural reserve in 1998.

Moreover, La Désirade has a high scientific value. Diverse stones (basalt, andesite, limestone, sediments) and the plant diversity allow reconstructing the history of the island, from the Pliocene epoch until today’s soil formation.

The climate is very dry. The northerneastmost part of La Désirade is the most arid area of whole Guadeloupe.


Monuments and sights :
  • Lighthouse of Pointe-Doublé
  • Nature reserve Petite-Terre
  • Ruins of the leper hospital and the cotton factory
  • Sailor cemetery of Beauséjour
  • Many panoramic views around the island
  • Beaches Grande-Anse, Souffleur and Baie-Mahault
  • Chapel of Notre-Dame du Calvaire, constructed in 1905, last stage of the crusade. From there you have a unique view over La Désirade and the surrounding islands.
  • Church of Notre-Dame-De-Bon-Secours, constructed in 1754 and renewed after the hurricanes in 1899 and 1928. In 1935 there had been joined a church tower and two chapels. The altar
  • has been constructed from raw wood of pear trees
  • Cliffs around the island