Guadeloupe is mostly known for its luxury resorts, azure waters and sandy beaches, but it is not just about that. Beyond the coastal areas lies a tropical paradise with majestic mountains and thick forests waiting to be explored. The diversity of the landscape ensures there are plenty of things for visitors to do, experience and enjoy while on vacation in Guadeloupe.

Some of the shores are privately owned by hotels, while others are open to the public. The protected and calm waters make them perfect for swimming. The most popular beaches are Ste Anne, Grande Anse and Le Moule. Water sports are available from independent operators and resorts on private land. Kayaking, motorboating, diving, and snorkeling are just some of the main activities to enjoy while on the sea. Heading inland, Guadeloupe offers a variety of hiking, trekking, walking, and climbing for those looking for adventures beyond the beach.

The Guadeloupe Islands Tourism Board is the best place to get started finding out about unique things to do. The staff can help you arrange scuba diving and sailing tours. Meanwhile, Kite Surfari SXM can arrange eco-tourism activities, adventure cruising and kite surfing.

Scuba diving and snorkeling are among of the most popular pastimes in Guadeloupe. Discover the amazing underwater life with a variety of tropical fish. Some of the notable dive sites include Pigeon Island, Grand Cul de Sac Marin, Basse-Terre’s west coast, and Iles des Saintes. Scuba Zen is one of the notable PADI-certified dive companies in Guadeloupe, and specializes in trips to 30 sites around St Martin.

Those who cannot swim or prefer to stay above water can arrange glass-bottomed boat trips. Le Nautilus leads excursions from Malendure Beach which last 75- to 80-minutes and include snorkeling on the side.

The beaches are perfect for swimming and sunbathing, too. Several of them allow topless tanning for those who want to avoid swimsuit lines.

Hiking up La Soufrière is challenging, but the reward is 360-degree views of the islands. Be ready for a strenuous climb, as it takes almost two hours to get to the top of this active volcano. Another popular hiking destination is the Galion Waterfalls. You simply need to follow the route from Saint Claude to La Soufrière until you reach Baines Jaunes, where you will see a downward trail that leads to the rainforest. The walk takes approximately 1.5 hours to complete.

Those who do not like stressful hikes, but still want to enjoy the lovely natural scenery of Guadeloupe can arrange a guided walking tour from companies like Breakaway Adventures. Walking is also the best way to experience the 650-acre marine park and mangrove swamp of the Grande-Terre, where you can meet doves and pelicans, or discover the Atlantic coast’s cliffs. Paddle boating and kayaking into the mangroves is permitted and facilities are available at Port Louis village.

It is possible to take a walking tour around the National Park of Guadeloupe, which boasts 188 miles of marked trails leading to the rainforest. See the island’s unique tropical plants, animals and lakes, including the Grande Etang and the Cascade aux Ecrevisses waterfalls.

Guadeloupe is also a paradise for cyclists because of the challenging, but doable terrain consisting of beaches, hills and thick forests. Delicious food awaits after an exhausting day on two weeks. When cycling in Guadeloupe, be sure not to miss La Soufrière’s volcanic terrain in Basse-Terre and the sugar cane plantations of Grande-Terre.

Those who prefer a more laid-back excursion can try rum tasting in Bellevue’s Rum Museum. After the tour, you may get the chance to sample some of the locally made liquor. Sightseeing at Place de la Victoire, the Hindu temple and the French Port can also be fun if you want to learn more about the history of the island.