Pointe-à-Pitre is a fairly uninviting place – a concrete jungle of brutalist 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 brand-new museum dedicated to 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.
Despite its unlovely appearance, Pointe-à-Pitre is working hard to improve itself. Its central square, Place de la Victoire, is looking superb following a full renovation, and the port has been tidied up and is also looking better than it has done for years.