I just got back to Paris from spending an amazing two weeks in Martinique for the holidays. If you have been following my IG, you have already got a sneak peek it all the fun I was having. I couldn’t have asked for a better trip: 30°C weather in December, beach days, tropical fruits, exploring the island, and just taking in the charm of Martinique.
I was lucky to be in good hands with my boyfriend and his family who knew the island like the back of their hand, so I feel like I really got a good insight into the culture, cuisine, and best of all the best things to do and see. Our days during the trip were jam packed with early mornings and late nights, we really tried to get in as much as we could. For such a small island there is so much to do. I’m already excited to go back and explore the parts we didn’t have time to see this time around.
In the meantime, here is an overview of the top things you should DO, SEE, EAT while you’re in Martinique!
Martinique Guide: DO/SEE/EAT/SHOP
Kayak du Robert
Visit the nearby islands via kayak. You can visit a small little island called îlet Chancel, where you can spend some time walking around trying to spot Iguanas (it’s quite difficult, they blend in so well but if you take the time to look and when you see one it is rewarding). Also, if your lucky you will spot some starfish.
Martinique is surrounded by the Caribbean sea but it also has an Atlantic coast which has a great little pocket for surfing. There is a beach dedicated to surfing called La Plage des Surfeurs where you can witness the surf culture of the island.
There are many surf schools in this area. We did a group surf lesson for 25€ per person with a cool guy named Frederic of Martinique Surf School, you can book a lesson by phone 06 96 05 30 18 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
He is a world citizen has adopted Martinique as his home for the past 10 years. He is full of energy, gives some surf theory on the sand before heading into the water with you to help you catch the best waves.
Scuba Diving at Rocher du Diamant
I did my first diving lesson ever and I am already looking into how I can get my PADI diving certification. I was super nervous before heading out into the ocean, but the team at Antilles Sub Diamond Rock were super nice and knowledgeable. As soon as I got in the crystal blue water all my fears went away. I saw so many fish, coral and urchins. Being in the ocean where you can only hear your own breath, surrounded by nature is one of the most peaceful experiences. I totally recommend checking them out.
You’re on an island! Take advantage and try a different beach every day. Check out my other post Beaches of Martinique to see all the different beaches we visited.
Mt. Pelée volcano is a recommended activity to do in Martinique but we didn’t end up doing it. Instead we did a different hike, Randonnée Presqu’île de la Caravelle. It is a very scenic hike along the ocean that leads you to Chateau Duboc. My favorite thing about this hike was that there was a beautiful creak where you can stop for lunch and swim.
St. Pierre Ruins
You can visit the ruins of a town that was once made of 30,000 inhabitants that was destroyed by the volcano eruption of Mt. Pelée in 1902. There was only 1 survivor who was locked in a dungeon of a jail who ended up being protected from the eruption. Today the town is made up of only 5,000 inhabitants. There is a small museum that you can visit the Musée Volcanologique that explains the history of the town and more details about the eruption.
Visit as many Rhumerie’s as you can. Martinique is known for its Rhum, and it is cool to see the different plantations where the Rhum is made( at the end of visits you can do a complementary Rhum tasting).
We ended up visiting 7 different distilieres :Habitation Clement, Dépaz, Habitation St.Etienne, La Mauny, La Favorite, St.James, and Neisson.
Dépaz was my favorite for the visit of the distillery, the land was immense…
La Savane des Esclaves
To add a little bit of culture and history of Slavery in Martinique I highly recommend checking out La Savane des Escalves. I learned so many things I didn’t know about the history of slavery in Martinique, but beyond that you also learn about life on the island after slavery. The museum was started by Gilbert Larose who does the majority of visits there. He is extremely passionate about the history of Martinique and sharing it with others.
Since we were staying in a huge villa where we could cook, we didn’t eat out that much. But the days we did here are some good places to try…
Chez Carole is a little cantine behind the grand market in FDF. Your greeted at the table by a complementary aperitif and you have your choice of menu (fish, chicken, seafood) for 14-16euros.
Oasis Grill, is located in Fort de France as well. It is a little kiosk stand with outdoor seating. It is a well known local spot. It gets so busy even on weekdays you have to make reservations to get a table, or just order to go.
Also, make sure taste any and everything ‘pays’, everything local seems marked with ‘pays’(country) at the end of it.
Grand Marché Fort de France (FDF)
If you’re searching for a market, the Grand Marché at Fort de France is a must. It is a bit touristic but the ambience is worth seeing, there is a lot of action and tons of stands where you can buy spices, local fruits, vegetables, and souvenirs.
Bring back local souvenirs like rhum and spices they are much cheaper than the prices in France…
I sure did…
NOTE: Make sure you check the restrictions on the maximum bottles you can bring back. From Martinique back to France you can bring a max of 10 Liters (however I am not sure how strict they are on regulating this). We had no problem bring things back. Just an issue of overweight luggage so make sure to pack strategically. Bring less and come back with more!!!
Hope this post gave you a little wanderlust to want to visit Martinique!