Porte d'Enfer

(The Gates of Hell)

 

Porte d'Enfer is located on the northern coast of Grande Terre, due North and a short drive from Campeche. It is a long cove of high limestone cliffs, higher on the east side than the west. Due to the length of the cove and the height of the cliffs, the Porte d'Enfer looks more like a large canyon more than it does a cove. When viewing the Porte d'Enfer, a friend remarked that it was as if someone had taken the Grand Canyon, and then made it more beautiful by dropping the Atlantic Ocean in it.

At the end of the cove, there is a small palm-lined white sand beach which is popular with the locals on the weekend. Although there are certainly nicer beaches on Guadeloupe based upon size, it is tough to imagine more specular surroundings to a beach than the high cliffs stretching forward on either side.

Legend has it that Madame Coco departed this world by strolling into the Atlantic carrying only an umbrella. I have no idea who Madame Coco was, or what point the umbrella would serve in the crashing surf. Perhaps some legends are best left shrouded in a bit of mystery.

The road to the Porte is appropriately named the "Route de la Porte d'Enfer". The Route is well marked and runs North from Campeche to the Porte, then turns West, intersecting the coastline again at Pointe a Claude, just South of the Pointe de la Grande Vigie.

The Pointe and the Porte d'Enfer can both easily be viewed in a single morning or afternoon, unless one is planning to spend a significant amount of time at the beach at the Porte. Coming from the West, pick up the D122 and visit the Pointe first. Coming from the South or the East, pick up the Route de la Porte d'Enfer outside of Campeche in the town of Marie Therese. Other activities which may be combined with a day at the Pointe and the Porte include horseback riding (available in Campeche) and excellent dining at nearby Chateau de Feuilles (lunch only).