If you haven't already planned a trip to Martinique, here are ten good reasons you should! Beautiful scenery and a laid-back vibe make this French island, also known as the Island of Flowers, a hidden gem among the Lesser Antilles.
Take advantage of the tropical climate in a part of the world where health standards are on par with those in France.
In addition to the rich Martinican culture that comes from a happy mix of African, South American, Indian, and European origins, here are ten good reasons to pack your bags for a memorable trip to Martinique:
1. Stunning Paradise Beaches
Martinique has some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. From white sand beaches to volcanic black sand beaches, there is something for everyone. Several beaches are located in secluded coves, which makes them ideal for romantic getaways.
Grande Anse des Salines, the most famous beach in Martinique, is a two-kilometre stretch of white sand and coconut trees. You can find volcanic black sand beaches on the island's north coast at Anse Couleuvre.
A trip to Martinique would not be complete without exploring the beaches of Anses d'Arlet, such as Grande Anse, Anse Dufour, Anse Noire, and Petite Anse. Strike a pose in front of the enchanting setting of Saint-Henri church in Anses-d'Arlet for a classic Martinique photo before you head home.
2. Pelee Volcano
Mount Pelee is a volcano that became notoriously famous as a result of its catastrophic eruption in 1902. It is the third deadliest volcano in the world. Within five minutes of the blast, 30,000 people in Saint-Pierre lost their lives. However, rest assured that this mountain is now safe and very popular with hikers and mountain climbers alike.
If you are physically fit, you can conquer this mountain by exploring one of the many hiking trails. The Aileron trail is the most popular, but it is also the most direct and intense! The mountains become covered in clouds from 10:00 am onwards, so start the climb as early as possible, around 6:30 am, to ensure you have a good view.
3. A Hiker's Paradise
There are over 180 kilometres of marked hiking trails on the island of Martinique, in addition to those on the Pelee volcano. As Martinique is home to a lush rainforest that covers almost two-thirds of the island, it's the place to be in the Caribbean for hiking, birdwatching, and enjoying the beauty of nature.
If you are looking for an easy half-day hike, choose the Circuit de la Caravelle and discover breathtaking scenery on your way. Caravelle Lighthouse, which has been standing since 1862, is one of the most beautiful vantage points on the circuit.
4. Martinique's “Ti' Punchs”
"Ti' Punch" comes from Creole, meaning little and punch. Some say it’s because drinking a “Ti’ Punch” can hit hard and feel like getting punched.
Caribbean culture is centred around this drink, which brings people together to chat, tell stories, and even fix problems.
Take the time to observe how Martinicans enjoy their iconic drink. The rum is gently stirred before drinking, then studied and observed in an attempt to unlock its secrets. Just before taking a sip, the drinker swirls the rum and drinks it in one gulp.
You can order a “Ti' Punch” in any of the island's bars and restaurants.
5. Rum Distilleries
Martinique is famous for its rum, and you can find many amazing rum distilleries on the island. A visit to one of these distilleries is a must-do activity on your trip. These distilleries offer guided tours and tastings where visitors can learn about how the rum is made and what makes it so famous.
6. The Colonial City of Saint-Pierre
The city of Saint-Pierre, formerly the capital of Martinique, was known as the "Paris of the Caribbean." It was once a beautiful and prosperous city until it was completely destroyed by the eruption of Mount Pelee in 1902. Today, Saint-Pierre is a charming town rich in history. Visitors can explore the ruins of the old town, visit the Franck Perret Museum, and learn more about these tragic events. In Saint-Pierre, you can also take a walk along the beach and enjoy the scenery.
7. Creole Food
Martinique is known for its delicious Creole cuisine. There are many restaurants on the island serving traditional dishes such as accras (fried fish cakes), "Ti nain morue," and poulet boucané (smoked chicken). While you’re there, try Martinique's national dish, called 'féroce,' a combination of avocado, cassava flour, and salt cod.
One of the most appealing features of the island of Martinique is its abundance of waterfalls. The most famous one is the Cascade de Didier, which can only be reached via a private road. Several other more easily accessible waterfalls are located around the island, such as Cascade Trois Bras, Cascade Couleuvre, Cascade de la Ravine Baron and Cascade de Bô la Rivié.
Visitors can find these waterfall trails on a map provided by the Office National des Forêts.
9. Scuba Diving and Snorkelling
No matter how much or how little experience you have under your fins, you'll find a dive site in Martinique that suits your needs. For scuba diving, local diving companies suggest you visit one of four main areas: 1) the North (black sandy bottom and wrecks), 2) around Anse d'Arlet (white sandy bottom), 3) the Bay of Diamant (natural vault near the Rocher au Diamant), 4) the South towards Sainte-Luce as well as Sainte-Anne (large coral plateaus).
For a more autonomous and budget activity, you can also bring a mask and snorkel in your luggage so you can go snorkelling for free! If you are looking for an incredible experience, you can even swim with giant turtles just a few meters from the beach at Anse Dufour.
10. Car Rental and Accommodation Options
Martinique offers a variety of accommodations for every budget! Whether you stay in a luxury hotel or rent a cozy flat on Airbnb, there are plenty of options to choose from. When choosing a place to stay, look carefully at the map to see where it is located and identify nearby attractions and points of interest. The island may look small, but it can take a few hours to drive around.
The island is best explored by renting a car. If you usually drive a car with an automatic transmission, you should be careful when booking a car since most models have manual transmissions. The roads are winding but well-maintained. The scenery will enchant you as you drive around the island.
When is the Best Time to Travel to Martinique?
The best time to visit Martinique is from December to April, when rainfall is scarce and temperatures are mild. Hotel rates are typically higher during this dry season because it is also the busiest travel season. You can, however, avoid the crowds and get reasonable prices by travelling during the low season, which runs from August to November.
Paradise on Earth Awaits You
You will find everything you're looking for in Martinique, whether you're looking for idyllic beaches, lush nature, or a historic colonial setting. The island offers a variety of activities that will appeal to all tastes and interests. Talk to a soNomad agent about your travel insurance needs before you book your next trip to Martinique. Travel insurance is a must if you plan to leave with peace of mind.