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Pointe-à-Pitre is a fairly uninviting place – a graffiti-sprayed concrete jungle of art-deco and socialist-style architecture, decaying traditional houses and terrible traffic – but it's the main town on Grande-Terre and, due to its central location between Guadeloupe's two biggest islands, it serves as the de facto capital. It's well worth getting off the beach for half a day to visit, if only to see the superb Mémorial ACTe, a world-class museum dedicated to the history of slavery and colonialism. The first of its kind in the world, Mémorial ACTe has quickly become the closest Guadeloupe has to a national museum and it's an absolute must-see for anyone interested in the history and culture of these islands.

Pointe-à-Pitre is a ghost town on Sunday, on national holidays and after dark, and is best avoided at these times.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Pointe-à-Pitre.