Diving

The main diving area at the Cousteau Underwater Park, just off Basse-Terre near Pigeon Island, offers routine dives to 60 feet. The numerous glass-bottom boats and other craft make the site feel like a marine parking lot; however, the underwater sights are spectacular. Guides and instructors are certified under the French CMAS (some also have PADI, but none have NAUI). Most operators offer two-hour dives three times per day for about €50 to €55 per dive; three-dive packages are €120 to €145. Hotels and dive operators usually rent snorkeling gear.

Les Heures Saines. Les Heures Saines is the premier operator for dives in the Cousteau Underwater Park. Trips to Les Saintes offer one or two dives for average and advanced divers, with plenty of time for lunch and sightseeing. Wreck, night, and nitrox diving are also available. Despite this operator's popularity, it has kept its prices moderate, with many packages available. The instructors, young and fun types from the Metropole, many of them English speakers, are excellent with children. The company also offers winter whale- and dolphin-watching trips with marine biologists as guides aboard a 60-foot catamaran. Inquire also about going canyoning and/or hiking with Les Heures Saines. Le Rocher de Malendure, Plage de Malendure, Bouillante, Basse-Terre, 97125. 0590/98–86–63; www.heures-saines.gp. From €55.

Pisquettes Club de Plongée Des Saintes. With more than 15 years of experience, dive master Cedric Phalipon of Pisquettes Club de Plongée Des Saintes knows all the best sites. He gives excellent lessons, and in English, too. Equipment is replaced frequently and is of a high caliber. Small tanks are available for kids, who are taken buddy-diving. PADI divers are welcomed. Les Saintes is known for its underwater hills, caves, canyons, and wall dives. Divers can see sponges of varied colors and gorgeous underwater trees that sway. Sec Pate is a famous underwater mountain, off the island's coast, in open seas. Le Mouillage, Terre-de-Haut, Iles des Saintes, 97137. 0590/99–88–80; www.pisquettes.com.

Plaisir Plongee Karokera (PPK). Plaisir Plongee Karokera (PPK) has a good reputation and is well established among those who dive off Pigeon Island. One dive boat departs three times daily, charging by the dive at rates are generally less than its competition. A second dive boat goes to Les Saintes, with two dives, one at a wreck, the other at a reef, lunch included. Snorkel gear can also be rented for a reasonable price. English-speaking dive masters are PADI-certified. Show your Fodor's guide and ask for a discount. Plage de Malendure, Bouillante, Basse-Terre, 97125. 0590/98–82–43; www.ppk-plongee-guadeloupe.com. From €35.

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