Martinique is one of those paradise islands you will never regret to visit. Small enough to get it to know precisely in a week of vacation, it is still filled with great fun opportunities and activities. The island is a part of French overseas territories which means it’s a part of the European Union as well. So by visiting it, you will immerse in a fascinating mix of the Caribbean chill and French traditions. I spent the whole month in 2018 on this green island and I collected some wonderful memories about it. So now, let me show you the best things to do in Martinique.
A Guest Post By Dominika Bys from Sunday In Wonderland.
Getting Around in Martinique
Even if the island is tiny, it is not that easy to get around. Of course, it’s easy-peasy with a rented car, but if you want to use public transport, you might get confused. There are a few bus lines, even quite modern. But they are not easy to use when you want to travel at bigger distances.
The most popular way of moving around on the island is by using taxi collectif. You can find them especially in the center of the capital, waiting for passengers. The driver of a multi-person van waits until the maximum number of seats will be taken by individual passengers. Only then he starts the drive in a chosen direction. There is no schedule, but it still works effectively.
Click here to get more information and tips about public transport in Martinique from one of my blog’s posts.
The Best Things to Do in Martinique
Climbing to Montagne Pelee
Martinique is not only the paradise of beautiful beaches. Its highest mountain – Montagne Pelée – is actually an active volcano covered by dense greenery. Taking a hiking trail to the volcano is one of the main outdoor activity to take in Martinique.
The hike takes up to a few hours, but it’s relatively easy to do even with older children. And if the weather will be clear enough your effort will be rewarded with terrific views of the whole island.
Find the Didier Fall
We can assume that the hiking trail to Didier Fall is off the beaten path attraction in Martinique. You must be really clever to get there. But once you’ll find your way, through a forbidden entrance, behind the dark tunnel with bats, and among a swift river, you will not regret it!
You can finish your jungle trail on the Cascade Didier which also is terrific. But, if you’re brave and have a great condition, you can continue your climbing to the Didier Fall. This part of a trail is mostly dedicated to adventurous travelers.
Visit the City of Saint-Pierre
Remember I mentioned that Montagne Pelée is still active as a volcano. Its last eruption had a place in 1902 almost completely destroying the historical capital of the island – the city of Saint-Pierre. This catastrophe caused the death of almost 30 thousands of people. This incident might be compared to the legendary destruction of Pompeii. The city was partially rebuilt, yet we can still visit the places being the reminder of that memorable day, like the Volcanological Museum.
Explore La Savane des Petrifications
La Savane des Pétrifications offers the unexpected landscape change of the picturesque Caribbean island. This distant area of Martinique will surprise you with rocky cliffs, dried ground, and huge… cactuses.
It looks like a small micro-climate among the greenery of the island. Hiking there will be a nice rebound from white beaches, palm trees, and coconuts. Suddenly you will land in a totally different world.
Wanna see the stunning landscape of La Savane des Pétrifications? Read my description of this amazing trail!
Get a History Lesson in La Savane Des Esclaves
La Savane des Esclaves is the kind of open-air museum. You will find there historical slaves’ huts rebuild in an original way. The informative boards (in French and English) on each stand will guide you through the history of the Caribbean islands including the infamous times of slavery but also the ancient stories of first people living in Martinique and other islands.
You will also get to know what was the influence of herbs and plants on the life of people living in the islands. In fragrant gardens, you will discover how to make cocoa bars and other well-known kitchen ingredients.
Hang Around in Fort-de-France
If you have a bit more time to spend in Martinique, I can recommend you visit its current capital – Fort-de-France.
It’s small but ideal for spending a charming afternoon there. Beside tasting local food or having a coffee near the boulevard, you can visit its most significant monuments.
One of them is the old military port near the ferry terminal. You should also visit the main catholic church – St. Louis Cathedral, and the decorative and unique Schœlcher library.
Enjoy the Drink in a Rum Distillery
What would the visit in the Caribbean be without drinking some rum? Despite the facts that pirate theme is not that popular in Martinique, you can still enjoy their favorite drink in one of many distilleries.
Some of the rum distilleries offer tours in their compartments. It’s definitely worth taking! You will get to know how this sweet drink is produced. But also, you’ll find out how important the production was among the centuries.
Taste Some Local Food
You shouldn’t leave the island without tasting some local food. The seafood is an obvious choice, but there are some more meals to try in the Creole kitchen. Colombo chicken is probably the most popular. You can order it in almost any restaurant. The chicken is fried in a mix of species with some Asian influence. Usually, it’s served with rice.
Besides this, you can also try some goat meat, since it’s very popular and traditional on this small island.
You should also try bokit as a quick snack! Bokit is a fried sandwich with the ingredients of your choice: cheese, ham, egg, tuna, salad… Delicious and perfect to eat on the road!
Swim with Turtles in Anses d’Arlet Bays
The region of Anses d’Arlet is one of the most picturesque in Martinique. Cute postcard-worth bays surrounded by green hills are on the must-see list of any tourist coming to the island. They are mostly known as a great snorkeling spot. You can safely enjoy observing underwater life of these peaceful waters because thanks to the terrain shape waves are usually small in there.
This calm is also the reason why Anses s’Arlet is so often chosen by turtles to have some seaweed lunch during the day in this area. So not only reef and colorful fish will make your day in this place, but also huge sea turtles peacefully having dinner just a few meters away from the beach.
Take a Rest on the Beach La Grande Anse Des Salines
Of course, you cannot miss some lazy chilling on a beach while being in the Caribbean. Martinique offers the whole spectrum of different types of beaches. But the most popular is probably La Grande Anse des Salines.
It is located in the South of the island, near La Savane des Pétrifications. The beach is wide and covered with yellow sand, and offers an amazing view of the blue ocean spreading over the horizon. Perfect for the afternoon relaxing after intense sightseeing.
Where to Stay in Martinique
Martinique lives mostly from tourism. That’s why it offers a whole range of different accommodation options. I wouldn’t recommend staying in the Fort-de-France area. Since it’s capital, the whole economic and business life gathers there. In peak hours, you can always expect a traffic jam in the area.
Instead, I would choose a small town with a delightful beach. Since the island is so small, you don’t need to live anywhere in the center. The city that took my heart was Sainte-Anne with gorgeous city beach which was perfect for an afternoon chill.
Below, you can check out some hand-picked propositions of accommodation in Martinique.
Hotel-Restaurant La Dunette – The biggest advantage of this hotel is brilliant localization on the beach. You will definitely appreciate every morning coffee on the seashore.
Karibea Sainte Luce Hotel – In this hotel will get a bit more luxury. Located near the beach in Sainte-Luce it also offers a private swimming pool. Plus some delightful public spaces.
Hotel La Pagerie – Definitely recommended if you’re looking for a luxury vacation. Located in a charming area of Les Trois-Îlets, this hotel offers all the holiday facilities like swimming pool, bar, or massages.
Vacation in Martinique is a perfect idea if you want to get some unique Caribbean experience. If you have any questions about the island, feel free to ask in a comment section!
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