Martinique - A Paradise with a Thousand Beaches
31 July 2018 - Destinations
This is probably the sweetest of the islands of the West Indies, with the most flowers. In the heart of Martinique lies a large garden where hummingbirds sip nectar from tropical flowers. Along its Caribbean coast, Martinique is comprised of a series of beaches dotted with thousands of palm trees among the white sand. Travel to the heart of nature on a preserved island where life is sweet.
A Series of Spectacular Beaches
Martinique is a perfect seaside destination. To the south, white sandy beaches border turquoise seas in a postcard-worthy landscape, while in the north harsh black sand lines the mouth of the volcano. To the east, remote untamed islands provide a getaway for adventurers, and in the west sea turtles come to eat from the vast aquatic plant beds. Whether you're looking for solitude in the wilderness or photogenic white sand, the beach of your dreams is somewhere on this island.
For a Long Jog: Le Diamant
The island's longest beach, Le Diamant, is a four-mile bay around the legendary pirate rock for which is named. Early in the morning, runners gather there to go for a long jog with their feet in the water. The entire family will enjoy this beautiful beach with full amenities.
For the Perfect Photo: Grande Anse des Salines
With its white sand and palm trees bowing over the waves, it is often considered to be the most beautiful beach in Martinique. The atmosphere is friendly. Street vendors offer lambis shells (large shelves characteristic of the Caribbean) in addition to Creole fabric, and families play in these safe, shallow waters.
Following in the Footsteps of Robinson Crusoe: Two Secret Islets
In the south and east of Martinique, small dots of land separated from the main island, becoming small secret lands to be explored. Among this multitude of little islets, two in particular are worth spending time on.
Ilet Chevalier’s astonishing vegetation is fascinating: a forest of candelabra cacti emerges from the rainforest, lending a feeling of the Wild West to this Caribbean adventure. The turquoise waters by the beach are particularly crystal clear.
How to get there: Park at the Cap Chevalier jetty and talk to one of the many fishermen in brightly painted boats. They will offer a return trip for approximately 4 Euros.
Ilet Thierry is the most beautiful of the Islands of François, east of the main island. Hues of deep blue pervade this area of clear, shallow water, a stone’s throw from the famous Baignoire de Josephine (Josephine's Bath Tub), a turquoise shoal in the middle of the ocean.
To Meet Sea Turtles: Anses d’Arlet
Don't forget your snorkelling gear! Both beaches in Anses d’Arlet – Anse Dufour and Anse Noire – are often named the best snorkelling spot in Martinique. Steps away from the shore, multicoloured shoals of fish and bright red sea urchins mingle. However, if you are patient, the best is yet to come: you may have the opportunity to meet sea turtles. With its vast aquatic plant beds of tender seaweed, Anses d’Arlet is the restaurant that these wonderful creatures prefer. You will need to get up early and hope for good luck. When the turtles are present, they provide a spectacular show.
For Adventurers: the Black Sandy Beaches of the North
On the black slopes of Mount Pelée, the north of Martinique is a series of sheer cliffs and basaltic rock. The northern beaches are not really made for swimming, as the waves and currents of the Atlantic threaten unwary swimmers.
Anse Couleuvre reveals itself in a nest of lush vegetation, providing the impression of solitude in a preserved wilderness.
Twelve miles from there tower the sheer cliffs of Grand-Rivière, the Martiniquan "world's end". The hiking trail connecting them, although challenging and exhausting, is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the West Indies as it runs through scenery worthy of Jurassic Park.
Places to Know in Martinique
Authentic food, luxury spas and magical gardens: here are some places where you can enjoy your Martiniquan trip.
Unwinding in the Spa
The Cap Est Lagoon Resort& Spa is a landmark establishment for well-being on the island: the Cinq Mondes spa is considered to be the most luxurious, dedicated spa in Martinique. Combining Creole influence and traditional treatments from around the globe, its extensive list of services will satisfy all your needs, whether you are looking for youth, slimming or simply well-being treatments.
Cap Est is also a four-star hotel in a tranquil, seaside environment, offering a large swimming pool, a small beach and an idyllic pontoon. Its marvellous fitness centre will make sport-lovers happy.
If you are looking for Creole-style relaxation, Jouanacaera spa is the place to go. Set among a flower garden, this spa offers treatments rooted in the Caribbean spirit in addition to Aqua fitness and Aqua biking lessons in a lovely swimming pool located in the heart of the facility.
Eating with your Feet in the Water
The most photogenic of the Martiniquan seaside restaurants is without a doubt Ti’Sable in the north of Anses d’Arlet. On a private beach lined with coconut trees stand tables built like yachts, made of old wood and white sheets flying in the wind, that open up onto the sea and the horizon beyond. The large salads and seafood dishes are excellent.
The best place to admire the sunset in a cordial atmosphere is La Dunette in Sainte-Anne. You can drink cocktails on a straw pontoon reminiscent of Polynesia, after which the evening service offers fresh fish and seafood dishes in a lovely setting.
A Typical Creole Meal
If you want to discover the original flavours of Martinique, visit Habitation Ceron at the northernmost tip of the island, by the creepers of Anse Couleuvre. In this vast garden which is home to one-hundred-year-old trees, where crayfish are bred and cocoa is cultivated, traditional cuisine from this exceptional area is offered. The dark, bitter home-made chocolate is well worth tasting.
Pura Vida in Sainte Luce is a Latin American-style restaurant combining the best of Creole and South American cuisine, with very high standards when it comes to choosing products and respecting flavours. It is this author's firm favourite: the most delicious of all Martiniquan meals!
An Enchanting Garden
You cannot leave Martinique without visiting the Jardin de Balata (Balata Garden), north of Fort-de-France. Nestled in the heart of rainy peaks, this garden of jungle and flowers is bursting with colour. You could play hopscotch in the middle of the water-lilies, reach summits on bridges made from creepers surrounded by giant bamboos, walk alongside hummingbirds sipping nectar from porcelain roses, and marvel at the red epiphytes hanging without roots in the humid air.
The garden’s restaurant offers Martiniquan specialities in a forest setting that adventurers will enjoy.
How to Get to Martinique?
Direct flights to Fort-de-France from Paris CDG with Air France, from Paris Orly with XL Airways and Air Caraïbes, and from Marseilles with XL Airways. The flight lasts approximately 9 hours.
Where to Stay?
In the south, where most of the beautiful beaches and tourist activities can be found. Rent a car to travel up and down the island.
What to Bring with You?
- Summer clothes: the weather is hot and fine all year round.
- A waterproof coat or windbreaker: in the tropics, a day rarely goes by without a short but intense shower of rain. The sun comes back very quickly.
- A mask and snorkel, for snorkelling.
- Mosquito repellent: as in any tropical area, the insects in Martinique are quite active, particularly at the beginning and the end of the day.
- A Villebrequin swimming costume with turtles on it, to bring you luck when you meet these sea creatures!