The active volcano La Soufrière, in the south of Basse-Terre, produces Peléan eruptions that spew viscous lava; its last violent eruption dates back to 1976-1977. Since then, La Soufrière has been constantly monitored. So rest assured you will be under surveillance for the three hours it takes for ascent and descent. It is a hike that you can organise on your own or with an experienced guide who will show you the depths and the entrails of the 'Old Lady'.
Depending on the weather, opt preferably for a morning walk to get to the top in a cloudless sky. You leave from the Bains Jaunes parking lot for 90 minutes of ascension. On a clear day the view over Les Saintes, Marie-Galante, and Dominica is beautiful. Enjoy this interlude before the rocky path of the Chemin des Dames, no less than 300 vertical metres.
To earn your grail, the last 50 metres of the climb are the steepest. The reward at the top is a great show and a 360° view of Guadeloupe and its surrounding islets. It is equally beautiful on a cloudy day, when the landscape appears lunar and spooky.