Visiting Guadeloupe to Search for the World’s Largest Beetle, the Hercules Beetle, had Shocking Results

The world’s largest beetle, the Hercules beetle, lives in Guadeloupe and Dominica. The name comes from the hero of Greek mythology “Hercules”. A beetle bigger than 160mm is highly prized and hard to find, fetching prices upwards of 100,000 yen (approx. 950 USD). We went to Guadeloupe to search for this king among beetles. The ccTLD (country code top level domain) for Guadeloupe is “.gp”.

* This fact-finding mission was undertaken in early February, 2020.

◆Where is Guadeloupe?

Guadeloupe is an archipelago in the Caribbean Sea consisting of Grande-Terre Island, Marie-Galante Island and Basse-Terre Island etc. Like Martinique, Guadeloupe is an overseas region of France. This means that residents of Guadeloupe are French citizens. The main language is French and the currency is the Euro.

= Table of Contents =

◆The French Hawaii

◆Shrimp Tempura that Turns Out to be Fried Shrimp

◆Crayfish Falls Without Any Crayfish

◆The Search for the Hercules Beetle and the Shocking Outcome

◆The “.gp” Domain and Interesting Things Around Guadeloupe

◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed


◆The French Hawaii

There are no direct flights from Japan to Guadeloupe. You can go via the United States, Canada, France, etc. We went from Canada, via Antigua and Barbuda.

From Antigua and Barbuda, it took about 30mins on a Liat Airlines flight. We arrived at Pointe-à-Pitre International Airport on Grande-Terre Island, Guadeloupe. The official website for the airport uses the “.fr” domain, since it is an overseas region of France.

Taking a taxi from the airport to the hotel, the Karibea Beach Hotel, cost 40 Euros.
It was about 20 minutes drive.

Many flyers of the sort usually found in hotels. Lots of information on leisure activities. Guadeloupe is like the Hawaiian beach resort for French people.

The room is very comfortable. The shower dispenses proper hot water. On the Domain Island Tour,
we have been known to stay in places, like American Samoa, where there was no working hot water in the bathroom.

The cats that hang out by the breakfast area are accustomed to people.

This is the view from the hotel. I want to just hang out and eat good food, and not do a thing.

But we have a mission here, to find the Hercules beetle. I asked the staff in the hotel: “Where can I see a Hercules beetle?” And they said “Eh? What’s a Hercules beetle?” Never heard of it.” Even though it’s the largest beetle in the world, there are many people that are not interested in insects, so I guess its not surprising that they’ve never heard of it.


◆Shrimp Tempura that Turns Out to be Fried Shrimp

Our motto on the Domain Island Tour is to “Eat Japanese food wherever we go”. This time, we had dinner at a Japanese restaurant called “YOSHI”. Perhaps the owner of this restaurant immigrated from Japan to Guadeloupe because of the charming Hercules beetle. “YOSHI” is a popular restaurant with 3 shops in Guadeloupe.

We select what to eat from menus filled with pictures of hostess-like young ladies. Will a lovely young lady like one of these come to take our order?

Contrary to expectation, a young man came to take our order. Taking a look around the restaurant, we don’t see any Japanese staff.

We ordered sushi, shrimp tempura and green tea. Getting ready for the sushi to come, I picked up the Kikkoman bottle and poured a little soy sauce into a dish, finding to my surprise it was sweet sauce, not soy sauce. The soy sauce appears to be in a bottle for sweet sauce. They have things reversed.

And the green tea I ordered was actually mint tea. Only an overseas region, but obviously, still France. Very fashionable. And the price is 4 Euros.

Is this Shrimp Tempura? Its 8.5 Euros. I ordered shrimp tempura. Is this… supposed to be shrimp tempura…? From a Japanese point of view, it is most definitely deep-fried shrimp, not Shrimp tempura. But, I decided not to worry about it. The sauce was a bit sweet, like the sauce for Mitarashi Dango, but very good.

Next, the “Yoshi rolls” arrive. 18 Euros. This is a sushi roll made with salmon, avocado, imitation crab, deep-fried shrimp (not shrimp tempura), and cheese. The sushi is wrapped in Kinshitamago (thinly shredded egg omelet). It was like a very deluxe version of a California roll and so good!

The “Le Nid d’ oiseau”, this looks like okonomiyaki but is also a kind of sushi. 18 Euros. Since this was marked on the menu with a pencil for some reason, I decided to order it. It has a crispy texture with salmon, cheese and imitation crab, but it might be considered a sweet dish. The taste is like okonomiyaki. The items on this menu were like nothing I’ve ever seen in Japan, but they tasted like they might become popular in Japan.

As we left the restaurant, I asked the staff again about the Hercules beetle, but he also said he’d never heard of it. I’m feeling a little worried about this, but we’ll go back to the hotel and prepare for tomorrow’s search for the Hercules beetle.


◆Crayfish Falls Without Any Crayfish

The next day we chartered a taxi for the sole purpose of searching for Hercules beetle. It cost is 160 Euros for 5 hours. I asked the driver in English to take us to a place where we could see the Hercules beetle, but he could only understand French, so I showed a photograph of the Hercules beetle and tried to explain again. But he also seemed completely clueless as to what it was…

I found this reaction increasingly strange so I did an internet search and discovered the reason behind it all. In Guadeloupe, the Hercules beetle is only found on the island of Basse-Terre. We were on the island of Grande-Terre, which has no king of the beetles in residence. I asked the driver to drive to the Guadeloupe Zoo on Basse-Terre Island. There are insects in this zoo. This makes it clear why the hotel and restaurant staff on Grande-Terre Island didn’t know about the beetle. On our way to the zoo, we enjoy the view of the sugarcane fields.

Along the way, I found a sign for a waterfall called the “Cascade aux Ecrevisses” (Crayfish Falls). We decided to stop and take a look. This is a protected area in the center of Basse-Terre Island.

At the entrance, there’s a map of the area with information about the flora and fauna that can be found there. Called “Crayfish Falls”, it seems there are a variety of crayfish here.

Taking a closer look, we see that the Hercules beetle is on the information board! !

Now pretty excited, we set off with high expectations for the forested area. The path is well maintained and easy to walk.

We keep our eyes peeled for any signs of beetles.

There are none…

Finally, we arrive at the waterfall.

Called Crayfish Falls because of the many crayfish that used to live here, sadly it seems most have disappeared. So, no crayfish at Crayfish Falls. I searched for the Hercules beetle about an hour, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find one.


◆The Search for the Hercules Beetle and the Shocking Outcome

We arrived at Guadeloupe Zoo. Located on the edge of the Guadeloupe National Park (Parc national de la Guadeloupe), this zoo features a vast natural rainforest with about 450 animals from 85 different species of reptiles, birds, and mammals from the West Indies and the Guyana region, including the spider monkey, racoons, iguanas, birds (such as parrots) etc. Admission is 14.5 Euros.

Crossing a suspension bridge 20 meters up. Not a little thrilling, it was dead scary!

Finally, we arrive at the insect museum.

The long-sought after Hercules beetle! They are not a wild ones in nature, but still amazing and so exciting to see!

Wow so big! They don’t move at all. But I feel the power through the glass.

I spend several minutes taking pictures. They still don’t move.

I started to wonder, so I asked the staff why they aren’t moving.

He said “These are just specimens”. The Hercules beetle in nature is extinct and there are none in Guadeloupe… Currently the insect is designated as protected and its collection and removal from the island is prohibited. Therefore, the Hercules beetles that are for sale in Japan are all bred by humans.
Thanks to the zoo keepers Henry (left) and Dominique (right) for telling me all this info.

Weighed down by this sad reality, we stop by the zoo souvenir shop.

I took a look for souvenirs related to the Hercules beetle, like key chains, stuffed toys, towels etc. but they don’t have anything. A souvenir shop in Japan would definitely have something… An illustrated encyclopedia of insects has only one page for the Hercules beetle.

I found a postcard. I guess the Hercules beetle is just not that popular on Guadeloupe? I bought the postcard and exited the zoo.

By the way, when I played Pokémon Go in Guadeloupe, there was a Hercules beetle character exclusive to the region. No Hercules beetle, but there’s a Pokémon-Go Hercules.


◆The “.gp” Domain and Interesting Things Around Guadeloupe

The huge French supermarket “Carrefour”.

It’s so vast. It has everything.

Even a McDonald’s. But there’s no yellow “M” symbol.


About 10 minutes by car from Carrefour, there’s a “Spice Market” which has an abundance of tropical fruits.


Opened in May 2015, Memorial ACTe is the Guadeloupe History Museum.


We stroll around downtown looking for the “.gp” domain.

There are all kinds of cool mural art.

Like on Martinique, I can find the French domain “.fr”, but I can’t find the Guadeloupe domain “.gp”.

Ah, I finally found a “.gp”!

It was the company “Fraikin”, which rents out commercial / industrial vehicles.


◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed

There was an SFR distributor in Carrefour.

SFR’s SIM costs 15 Euros (about 1,800 yen) for 600M. This is also available in Paris. The speed was 20Mbps.

Hotel WiFi was 6.2Mbps, and the SoftBank roaming service was 710Kbps.
Glocalme, which I used while taking a taxi from the airport to the hotel was 16Mbps.

■ List of Places Visited

■ For access to Guadeloupe click here

■ For “.gp” domain details click here

Grenada’s UniqueTourist Attraction: Sculptures in the Sea Overgrown with Corals Makes Both People and Fish Happy!

After flying 40 hours one-way to get to Tuvalu, now the 14th stop on the Domain Island Tour is Grenada. The ccTLD (country code top level domain) for Grenada is “.gd” which is used to represent the word “good”. All dollar notations in thise article are East Caribbean dollars, unless marked otherwise. * 1EC $ = 40.96 yen

◆Where is Grenada?

Grenada is an island nation located south of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. Besides the main island, other islands like the Grenadines, Carriacou island, and Petit Martinique etc. are part of Grenada. Grenada is also a member of the Commonwealth of the United Kingdom.

= 目次 =

◆A Smooth Arrival in Grenada

◆Jumping into a Waterfall as a Job

◆Eating Nutmeg, but Too Much Can Cause Hallucinations

◆Grenada Sushi

◆The Beach Mistaken for the Most Beautiful in the World

◆Dropping Sculptures into the Sea Makes People and Fish Happy

◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed

◆Finding “.gd” Around Town

◆Miscellaneous Grenada – “$100 Reward for a Bee Thief”, and “An Airport Shop You Should be Wary of”

◆A Smooth Arrival in Grenada

It has happened in recent times, that British Airways has sent passengers to Grenada in the Caribbean instead of to their intended destination of Granada, Spain. Fortunately, I traveled from Saint Lucia to Grenada on British Airways, and Saint Lucia has no direct flight to Granada, Spain, so I arrived in Grenada (Caribbean) without any problem.

◆umping into a Waterfall as a Job

I immediately head to Annandale Falls, which is about a 10-min drive from St. George’s. The pathways are well maintained and easy to walk.

At the entrance to Annandale Falls, I looked around for someone I could pay the $ 5.35 (about 220 yen) entrance fee to, but there was no one there. It’s a Sunday, usually a busy day for tourists. My taxi driver, who is also my guide around town, tells me that “today is free!”, so I believe him and head in.

This lady sells necklaces made only of spice nuts / seeds. I have never seen anything like it in Japan.

This is Annandale Falls. The water is clear and beautiful.

I found a young man just near the top of the waterfall.

I was wondering if he was some kind of staff watching over the waterfall, when he suddenly jumped into the water from 10 meters up!

I was stunned, and wondering why, when he came up and talked to me. Apparently, this is a performance, he jumps into the waterfall and gets tips. Afterwards, he climbed up and jumped again, and again. When I left a tip, he gave me thumbs up with both hands. He seemed very happy.

Next, the taxi driver took me to a sports bar. It was closed.
As it turned out, we didn’t stop for the sports bar, but rather for the botanical gardens behind the sports bar.

Gorgeous papayas, and lemongrass which is used in herb teas.

When I looked closely at the ground, it was covered in nutmeg shells, not gravel.

A shop across from the sports bar. It’s a small shop, but the sign says “Tourist Destiny Spice Shop”.

Cacao, the raw material for chocolate and cocoa. You can see the seeds inside; those are cacao beans. The cacao variety of Grenada is a hybrid of Amazon Calabacillo and Criollo from Venezuela, and is popular among chocolate lovers in Japan. Chocolate was sold as a souvenir.

Back in the taxi and on the move, the taxi driver says: “Look at that million-dollar view!” It is a beautiful view, but maybe only worth a million dollars at night-time.

◆Eating Nutmeg, but Too Much Can Cause Hallucinations

Grenada is also known as “Spice Island”. Nutmeg is especially popular
, and well known. Grenada is the 6th largest producer of nutmeg in the world, and Nutmeg even appears on the left side of the national flag.

Nutmeg, which is called “Nikuzuku” in Japanese, is one of the four major spices alongside pepper, cinnamon and cloves, which are said to be effective in promoting digestion, perspiration and preventing anemia. Of course, I wanted to eat nutmeg at its origin. “The Nutmeg” is a restaurant where the food is made with real nutmeg.

When I asked the staff which items have nutmeg in them, he answered with a reassuring: “Everything!” So, I’m glad I came to this restaurant.

Although there is no nutmeg in it, I first ordered the local beer, “Carib Premium,” and then “STAG.” Both are easy to drink lager beers. Both are $6 (about 240 yen). You can see the harbor of St. George’s from the peaceful interior of the restaurant.

Overseas, I’ve found that bottled beer was often served without a glass and had to be drunk as it was, but here, they served me my beer with a chilled beer mug. I feel like there’s an affinity to Japan here.

Grilled chicken legs came. The rice looked like red rice, and sautéed vegetables were served on the side. The white sauce is rich, but you can taste the nutmeg flavor. $ 60 (about 2,400 yen).

This is Spice Island Lobster. It also contains spices other than nutmeg. Every time I took a bite, I enjoyed both the lobster flavor and the aroma of the spices. $ 85 (about 3,400 yen).

Next, breakfast at my accommodations. I ate while looking at a painting of nutmeg on the wall.

Of course, there’s nutmeg jam to put on the bread. It has a spicy flavor, but it’s kind of sweet and sour like apricot.

In the land of nutmeg, many foods contain nutmeg, and taste delicious, so I could have unknowingly eaten a bit too much. The amount of nutmeg that can cause oral poisoning in humans is 5-10 grams. Symptoms such as difficulty breathing, dizziness, vomiting and hallucinations etc. may occur. People usually recover within 24 hours but some take 2 -3 days. So please be careful not to eat too much nutmeg.

◆The Special Menu of Grenada Sushi

I had sushi when I was in the British Virgin Islands, which are famous tax havens, but I also found a sushi restaurant in Grenada. I couldn’t stop myself from going in.

“Carib Sushi” in the Lime district. There’s an open terrace which is full of locals and tourists.

The soy sauce is Kikkoman. A chopstick rest for the chopsticks. The atmosphere is just like a Japanese sushi restaurant.

It was a hot day, so I ordered cold green tea. I had intensely sweet green tea in the United States, but Grenada’s green tea was sugarless. Gum syrup and sliced lemon are also provided. It tastes like lemon tea, so this is good. $ 5 (about 200 yen)

My sushi has arrived. Sushi in any country looks pretty good. Six slices of fresh tuna and white fish. It was better than the sushi in the Virgin Islands. $ 38 (about 1,500 yen)

Next, a dish called “Leo Special Nigiri”. Named for the head chef Leo, this is the most recommended dish in the shop. One of the creative sushi dishes you only find overseas, this one has avocado and tenkasu (leftover tempura bits) on top of tuna. At first glance, it looks like a lively okonomiyaki! You can’t see it, but there were 4 slices of nigiri under the tuna. The sauce on top is like the kind used for Anago (Broiled eel.) $ 32 (about 1,300 yen).

The Tuna Crispy Rolls are sushi rolls topped with negitoro (minced tuna with green onion) and tenkasu. The tenkasu seem to be the “crispy” part. $ 44 (about 1,800 yen).

The Scotch Roll is without vinegared rice, and contains Scottish smoked salmon, avocado and cream cheese rolled in a thin omelet-like egg wrap. Surprisingly good with soy sauce, it also would go very well with Sake. $ 45 (about 1,840 yen).

The menu also had a wide selection of different dishes, such as mozzarella cheese wrapped with white fish and deep fried, etc. Although these were rather creative menu choices made with spices, they were all delicious.

◆The Beach Mistaken for the Most Beautiful in the World

CNN launched a “100 best beaches around the world” list and Grenada came in first place. That means I can go to the most beautiful beach in the world!

We arrive at the Mount Cinnamon Resort. Walk through the gardens of the resort.

I see the beautiful sea. The world’s most beautiful beach is right in front of me.

This is the Grand Anse beach, which won first place in the “100 best beaches around the world.”
The clear water and white sands are suitable for the #1 beach.

There are restaurants and bars on the beach.

Fries are the special at the restaurant on the world’s best beach.

However, when I went home and was organizing my information, I noticed something. The first-place spot in the “100 best beaches around the world” was not “Grand Anse”, Grenada, but “Grande Anse Beach” in the Republic of Seychelles (off East Africa).

What confusing names! I thought Grand Anse was the nickname for Grande Anse Beach.
Grand Anse in Grenada, which impressed me so much, was actually ranked 30th, not first.

So, it was ranked the 30th most beautiful beach in the world, but as you can see from the pictures, it’s not too much to say it is the most beautiful beach in the world.

Grenada’s Grand Anse – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

There was also a travel blog that named Grenada’s Grand Anse as “the best beach in the world.” I guess we all have to be careful not to make this mistake.

◆Dropping Sculptures into the Sea Makes People and Fish Happy

The Underwater Museum, one of Grenada’s most popular spots. With the support of the government of Grenada,
sculptor Jason Taylor started making these underwater sculptures in 2006. You read correctly; the museum is at the bottom of the sea.
I went to the dive shop “DIVE GRENADA” to participate in a tour of the Underwater Museum.

I change into my bathing suit, and get in a boat.

It takes about 10 min by boat at high speeds. The instructor hands me a snorkel and fins, and we get into the water.

The sculptures are scattered in different places so the instructor guides you where to go.

A sculpture lying on the seabed.

Sculptures in a circle etc. A sculpture of only a face on a large rock. Can you tell what this is?

Fish? Bird? A girl on her knees with a fish? Or a bird in her hands?

A circle with more sculptures than before. These sculptures seem so real, as if they are moving!

The tour to enjoy sea sculptures is over in one hour. The instructor took videos for me the whole time. If you are not so great at diving, you can just ask the instructor to take pictures and videos for you. The tour fee is $ 55 US (approx. 6,100 yen) per person and includes the snorkel and all other rental fees. It’s best to make a reservation in advance.

In addition to building costs, a museum built on land requires money for many things, labor, electricity, repairs, security guards etc., but an underwater museum just needs sculptures dropped into the water, then it’s all done. Compared to a museum on land, it’s much easier to maintain. This not only makes a great tourist attraction, but it also provides a place for marine plants such as corals and sponges to grow, which in turn makes the fish happy. If anyone is thinking of making a tourist attraction, this seems like an excellent idea.

◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed

Although Wi-Fi rental services for going overseas are on the rise, certain areas are not covered. In such situations, you can buy a local SIM. In Grenada communications company “FLOW” seems to be popular. I couldn’t buy a SIM at the airport, so I looked for one in the city. I arrived on a Saturday and couldn’t make it to the store before closing time, and of course the next day was Sunday. So, I couldn’t buy a SIM card in Grenada.

However, in the shopping mall there were dedicated vending machines that can top-up data communication volume to existing SIM cards.

Since I had a SIM card from FLOW that I bought on one of the other islands, I added $ 10 to it (approximately 400 yen).

I got an email confirming my purchase. But it wouldn’t connect. I thought it might have to be activated, but calling the dedicated number didn’t change anything.

When I checked the status of the charge, it said it was already down to $ 7.54. Where did the other $ 2.50 go?

In my struggles to connect, I used up the whole $10, so I purchased additional data. However, I could not connect. But actually, even if you can’t use the SIM, if you have a SIM you can use the “FLOW” Wi-Fi at the airport.

◆Finding “.gd” Around Town

Grenada’s ccTLD is “.gd”. I found it at a taxi company for tourists and on a sign advertising yoga class in the hotel.

The “.gd” domain is under the Grenada branch of “NTRC” (National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission), and it is the same for the Grenadines and Saint Vincent etc. This is the building of the domain name registry. Unfortunately, I couldn’t talk to anyone as it was a Sunday and closed.

I also found the NTRC homepage address and “.gd” at the bus stop in front of the building.

◆Miscellaneous Grenada – “$100 Reward for a Bee Thief”, and “An Airport Shop You Should be Wary of”

St. George’s in the daytime. The scene reminds me of a port city in Europe.

I was bitten by a mosquito, so I went to the local supermarket to buy a mosquito coil.

Truly the spice Kingdom. There are so many spices.

There were no mosquito coils, but I found a little mat thing that seems to be for keeping mosquito away.
The package didn’t lie. It kept the mosquitos away.

On the supermarket bulletin board, I found a notice of a $ 100 reward for a honeybee thief. I pray for a quick resolution to the matter.

Then, while taking a walk through the “Spiceland Mall” I found a shop selling knockoffs of famous brands.

This is the shop. It looks like a nice shop from the outside, but be careful because they are selling knockoffs.

There are also some shops in the airport to watch out for.

This shop sells banana ketchup for $13 (530 yen).

However, another shop in the airport sells it for $ 5.85 (240 yen). Even in the same airport, they were selling it for more than double the price! Be wary of gift shop “KALALOO.”

=List of Places Visited=

■Access to Grenada

■For Domain details, Click here