Spread out on an island in the French Caribbean, the animals at the Guadeloupe Zoo may have the most scenic views of anyone. Also known as the Parc des Mamelles, it uniquely houses more than 85 species native to the area. With everything from birds and reptiles to monkeys and big cats, the park itself lines a tropical rainforest and a visit feels like a walk in the jungle. The animals are mostly from the Caribbean and Guyana, and many are rare and/or endangered.
Some of the most engaging exhibits include the jaguar enclosure and the bridges, slides, and paths that make up the play area for children. Other bridges pass through a dense canopy suspended above the forest floor. The entire area is full of native greenery, including colorful orchids and other tropical flowers.
The insectarium is particularly interesting, with a rhinoceros beetle on display (the largest in the world.) The zoo is a member of preservation societies and takes pride it the high level of care it provides for the animals. Tours include admission to the zoo and often, information on the conversation of the local rainforest ecosystem.
Located at the heart of the island’s national park in Basse-Terre, the zoo is open from 9am-6pm with the last admission at 4:30pm. It’s accessible on the main route passing through Basse-Terre, the Route de la Traversee. There is a small restaurant and a parking lot located at the zoo’s entrance. Audio guides are available to rent for 3€.