Martinique – A 2022 Travel Guide

February 10, 2022

AThe Lesser Antilles islands are a top choice for European and North American tourists. Eye-catching beaches, lush vegetation, delicious seafood food and endless parties.

However, what exactly makes every island unique? What to consider when planning a vacation on a remote island in the Caribbean’s? Just returning from a short vacation, we are happy to share here a small travel guide for nature lovers and relaxation seekers. We picked St. Lucia and Martinique, but let’s take them one at a time because there is so much to tell!

Where the Atlantic Ocean encounters the Caribbean Sea

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Martinique is so beautifully divided by nature itself that you can’t help but fall in love! The northern half is lush, wild, wooded, triumphant due to the active volcano that dominates the island, while the southern half is the paradise of bright, endless beaches that, in fact, cover the entire southern coast. Just to have an overview about it, these tiny islands meet the Atlantic, which, in its rush to the east, is tamed by the Lesser Antilles Archipelago. As a consequence, the east coast of the island has strong currents and surging waves, perfect for surfing or kitesurfing enthusiasts. However, the west and south coasts offer the calmest and clearest waters you can wish for.

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Martinique is considered a French department, so it is part of the European Union. The official language is French, along with Creole spoken among the locals, and the official currency is Euro. Once in Martinique, it was not a surprise to recognize the French culture. Chains of supermarkets and French brands are everywhere. Worth mentioning the so called ‘boulangeries’ that serve baguettes, croissants and delicious pain au chocolat?

However, most of the population are descendants of the West African slaves (45%). A small percentage (15%) is of European origin, and the rest of the population is mixed or native to India and China. Despite this intercultural mix, the locals are so kind! In traffic, people are patient with each other, they do not honk at each other, and tourists are greeted with a smile and kind words. French is essential for a population that speaks only French and Creole. Even a brief vocabulary helps in critical situations when you cannot speak a word, and only gestures can help the situation.

Fusion cuisine and a delightful experience

martinique rum

Gastronomy is also a fusion of different cultures. Of course, fish and seafood are part of any chef’s menu. Try the typical vegetables and fruits of this region because the traditional food is seasoned with Yuka, cassava, various types of sweet potatoes or fried plantains, meant to compliment fish or chicken. In Martinique we ate the sweetest-ever pineapple, harvested right on the island. We also recommend papaya, guava, cherimoya, or even green coconuts sold in the local markets. In Martinique you also find crops of cocoa trees, bananas, and sugar cane. The market in Fort de France, the capital of the island, is a point of attraction, precisely because of the multitude of fruits and vegetables sold here, as well as the spices and artisanal products. With a bit of luck, you might be able to find a seat, and have lunch at one of the two restaurants inside the market.

While on a holiday, the guilty pleasures are not meant to be neglected either. The rum produced here is internationally recognised. The Habitation Clément brand, which produces one of the most qualitative ‘Rhum Agricole’ in the world, is already a symbol of Martinique. With a history spanning hundreds of years, the Clément rum has managed to maintain its authenticity and unquestionable quality. Today, the old Clément rum distillery, along with storage cellars, Creole style buildings, and a lush garden, are open to visitors. The tour of the property, which covers 160 hectares of land, ends with a rum tasting session, and shopping at a small boutique where you can buy Clément products.

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Outdoors activities and the best places to visit

Driving around the island is the most convenient way to explore. The infrastructure is well developed, and the locals respect the traffic rules. In addition, the scenery is spectacular outside the tourist areas, as well. Get your camera ready, a pair of comfortable shoes and a hat to protect you from the sun because there are so many places to discover! North of Fort-de-France begins the Route de Balata that takes you to the heart of the island. The first stop should be the botanical garden, Jardin de Balata, lush and ornamental, perfect for spotting hummingbirds. This tourist route ends with Le Mourne Rouge town, the highest city, located right next to the volcano Mount Peleé.

Martinique-hummingbirds

Other tourist attractions to put on the list are Saint-Pierre – the former capital of Martinique, destroyed 100 years ago by a volcanic eruption, Museé La Pagerie – a historic site where you can learn a bit of a local history, and discover the connection between Martinique and Joséphine, Napoleon Bonaparte’s first wife, but also the capital of Fort de France for the museums, a big range of restaurants, parks, souvenir shops and even a small beach.

Trekking enthusiasts can explore truly spectacular routes. You can cross dense forests of mahogany, acai, you can admire huge trees such as bamboos, Ficus or Fern trees. Most of the trails are in the north of the island leading to Mount Peleé, but there are other natural attractions as well such as the waterfalls Couleuvre and Saut-Gendarme

Over 60 beaches to discover. From volcanic-sand to white-powder-sand

The beaches of Martinique are so diverse and precious that, as soon as you get here, you want to discover them all, even though time is limited. The northern part offers one of the most beautiful black sand beaches, Anse Couleuvre. The crystal-clear water and the fine, black sand offer a unique touch to this place. In addition, the uniquely dense vegetation bordering the beach creates a feeling of isolation and a deep connection with nature. The closer you get to the sunny south, the more the beaches turn into stretches of golden sands and turquoise waters. Among the most famous beaches here are Anse Mitan, Grande Anse d’Arlet, le Diamant, Plage de Sainte Luce, Plage de Pointe Marin and Plage de Salines – considered the most beautiful beach on the island that stretches for about two kilometres.

martinique calm beach

The east coast, especially the Caravelle Peninsula, is also spectacular. The sea currents are stronger here, the waves are bigger, but the beaches are special, surrounded by coconut trees and small terraces where exotic cocktails and fresh food are served. We recommend Plage de l’Anse l’Etang, and our favourite moment there was enjoying a Ti Punch from the Cocoa Beach Café terrace. At the end of the peninsula, there is the Caravelle lighthouse which reveals a view over the entire eastern coast. It can be reached only by foot at a leisurely pace for 20 minutes.

martinique east beach

Certainly, you can opt for a multitude of excursions. A boat trip in the mangrove forest, catamaran trips in the open sea, including diving or snorkeling, are just a few ideas.

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Where to stay

For a veritably relaxing holiday, our recommendation is La Suite Villa, a boutique hotel that stands out with an original and colourful design. Each suite and villa are accompanied by a private jacuzzi and a view of Fort de France Bay.

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Martinique is a truly a spectacular holiday destination, and we are excited to recommend it to you. Its exotic nature, its Creole culture, the French-inspired cuisine have charmed us throughout our stay, and the fact that the climate is mild all year round, it means you can choose to travel whenever you wish to get away.

Whenever you are planning to visit Martinique, contact us at [email protected], and we would be delighted to help you with a customized offer according to your wish.

Catch the sun and have some fun!

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Contact details:

Mail: [email protected]

Phone: +40724354016

                                         text & photo credit: Raluca Masud