14 Photos That Will Inspire You To Travel To Martinique
Martinique – what a cute hidden gem in the Caribbean.
In 2015, I went to Martinique for a little bit over one month.
Firstly, I wanted to improve my French and was, therefore, attending a four-week language course in Fort-de-France. Secondly, I FINALLY wanted to finish off my diving course, which I´d already started back in Malta in 2011 and then kinda put off for various reasons.
Martinique is an island in the eastern Caribbean Sea, with a population of almost 400.000. It is an overseas region of France and an integral part of the French Republic.
Find Out About My Top 5 Places To See In Martinique
I got here on a Thursday evening in late July and was intensely welcomed by 30°C and 90% humidity, which is a typical climate for Martinique in summer.
I was picked up by my Martiniquais host family, who then drove me to Trois-Ilets, a region on the other side of the Fort-de-France bay. Their house is beautiful and about 150m away from one of the town´s main beaches, Anse-Mitan. I went for a little swim there almost every day or simply sat there watching the sunset.
Other times, I would take a short walk to the other side of Point-du-Bout, the town that I stayed at. There’s a small port and a rocky shore nearby, where I usually watched the sun go down while zipping on a cold beer.
People have a very laid-back lifestyle. Even in Fort-de-France, which is the capital, people are relaxed, easy-going, they take their time – nobody´s in a rush…ever!
Caribbean time does not only apply to the Martiniquais people, but also to every service you make use of. Buses and boats are hardly ever on time, but it doesn´t matter because in the Caribbean everyone has a lot of time it seems.
Public transport in Martinique is terrible. Getting around without renting a car is nearly impossible. And renting a car in the French holiday season is unbelievably difficult. There are mainly three types of public transport: Taxis (which are way too expensive), Le Taxi Collectif (which are minibusses that go to specific locations for a fairly low price, but only leave the first stop once they are full – so sometimes you have to wait for a good 1,5 hrs) and public buses (there are only a few lines, and they only go to the outskirts of Fort-de-France).
The rhythm of life in the Caribbean is different from Europe. The sun rises before 5am, so people usually get up very early (one of the worst traffic jams in F-d-F is at 6am in the morning). Accordingly, the sun usually sets around 6pm and it is pitch-dark by 6.30pm, so people go to bed fairly early as well (However, another explanation for that might be the over-consumption of locally produced rum, which locals seem to be drinking 24/7).
I usually got up around 6.30am (which is NOT early here) to a blue sky and 30°C. After breakfast, I had to take the boat to F-d-F, where the language school is located. That usually took me between 40 and 50 minutes, depending on how much the boat was delayed.
On a typical day, I used to have lessons from 8.30am to 12pm, and afterward, I still had one hour before the boat ran back to Trois-Ilets. So to make good use of the spare time I usually went to buy lunch at either a supermarket or one of the local fruit markets, which sold all kinds of fruits – locally grown, imported from other Caribbean islands or imported from France.
Most of the afternoons I spent outside, enjoying some relaxing time at the beach or studying for my dive exam. In fact, Martinique is the perfect spot to sit back, relax and unwind.
Find Out About My Top 5 Places To See In Martinique
However, Martinique also offers excellent spots to get active or experience some adventures.
One day, I climbed Mount Pelée, which is a volcano and the island´s highest mountain.
I’d been told that if the weather is good, you can see both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea from the top of Mount Pelée. When I was there, I could at least see the Atlantic Ocean on one side of the mountain.
Nevertheless, climbing Mount Pelée was one of my overall highlights while visiting Martinique and I totally recommend adding it to your Martinique itinerary, too.
Another time, I went on a catamaran tour in the South of Martinique, which turned out to be another highlight of my entire stay in the Caribbean. The trip included a delicious lunch aboard the catamaran as well as unlimited snorkeling.
On my first weekend, I also visited the Forêt Vatable, a recreation park built close to the sea with all kinds of plants, trees and birds.
Very similar to the Forêt Vatable, but even better was hiking Le Jardin de Balata in the north of Fort-de-France, which is a famous botanical garden and is rated #1 on “Activities to do in Martinique” on Trip Advisor.
Apart from that, I absolutely loved sea kayaking through the mangroves and along the coastline of Anse Noire, where you can find hidden beaches and secret coves.
The sea has an average temperature of 28°C, which also makes both snorkeling and scuba diving awesome activities. There are hundreds of different diving sites around the island, including caves, wrecks and numerous coral reefs.