Guadeloupe
The Matouba Waterfall
The falls may be safer to look at than to swim under.

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Time: 45 minutes. Difficulty: 2. A blazed and easy trail. The small, 5-meter high Matouba Waterfall is not well known. Trailhead: Depart and arrive at the Josephine Residence in Matouba.

To reach the Josephine Residence, drive the Matouba Road from Saint-Claude. After the bridges crossing the Riviere Noire and the Ravine des Ecrevisses (Crayfish), get off National Route 3 by turning left at the curve not far from a stele erected in memory of Delgres (former head of the Basse-Terre district).

After about 250m, first going in a straight line and then curving right, the road makes an abrupt turnoff to your right: a sign visible at the last minute indicates your destination.

You'll drive through a vast banana plantation, then encounter a straight road bordered by red mahoganies, Gabon tulip trees with big orange flowers, American palms, and--finally--the Josephine Residence.

Only the foundations of the main house and a few outbuildings remain. Park near the oak tree: a rare species for Guadeloupe .

Take a right after the banana seasoning shed and follow the rocky path until it curves to the left. Follow a sign there to an alley bordered by sang dragon (swamp bloodwoods).

After a beautiful view of La Soufriere and the Plateau Papaye, you'll head into the forest, and in just 5 minutes more you'll reach the bed of the Saint-Louis River and the Matouba Waterfall, a small cascade that spurts out of a volcanic gully into a deep basin.

However, what appears to be a refreshing paradise in the tropical heat may be dangerous to swimmers. Locals say a whirlpool at the foot of the falls has already caused some accidents.

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