Composed of two main islands, Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre, connected by a narrow channel and the surrounding smaller islands of Marie-Galante, La Désirade, and Les Saintes, GUADELOUPE is the ultimate Franco-fab find. A Caribbean paradise archipelago chock-full of rainforests, white sand beaches, and waterfalls, Guadeloupe centers on eco and culinary tourism.

For a taste of both, check in to the 1927 Colonial house and three-cottage hotel JARDIN MALANGA (jardinmalanga.com), surrounded by citrus trees and overlooking the stunning archipelago of Les Saintes.

Another top pick is the TENDACAYOU ECOLODGE SPA (tendacayou.com) in the Basse-Terre wilderness, where you will dine at LE POISSON ROUGE, run by chef and owner Sylvie, and relax in one of the most indulgent spas on the islands.

Visitors with a sweet tooth should not miss LA MAISON DU COCOA (maisonducacao.fr) in Pointe Noire, where you can wander a garden of cocoa trees and sample several kinds of chocolate.

Starting spring 2013, American Airlines operates a weekly nonstop flight to Pointe-à-Pitre (PTP), the largest city of the Guadeloupe Islands, from Miami.