Martinique Island is not simply a green flower of paradise on the blue ocean – it’s one of the most beautiful such flowers from the whole of the Caribbean Sea. A marvel of French overseas territories, one must experience Martinique Island in order to be truly amazed by its splendor. A true crown jewel of the whole sea, it stands as one of the most famous tourist destinations in the whole world.
Not to downplay the magnificence of the other islands surrounding it, but Martinique has a lot of things that you just won’t find anywhere else. From the awe-inspiring Mount Pelée to the city of Saint-Pierre, to Fort-de-France, or to the famed Diamond Rock to the south, Martinique has many attractions to present to its visitors. Being so big, one would need at least a year to cover the whole range of activities that can be undertaken. That being said, it’s easy to see why Martinique Island is also a great location that people like to revisit.
Before we go on to look at what people can do in Martinique, it’s essential that we answer a very common question: “where is Martinique located?” and, even more importantly, “how can you get to Martinique?”
Where Is Martinique?
The Lesser Antilles. You may have heard this name before. This small group of islands is located to the eastern part of the Caribbean Sea. It has many famous islands such as Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, or Martinique itself. Martinique Island is located between two other famous islands: Dominica to the north, and St. Lucia to the south.
Now for the problem of getting to Martinique Island: there are several options of doing so.
Most major airports in the US can provide transport to Martinique. However, a new partnership between Norwegian and the Martinique tourism department has made non-stop flights from the US possible. These flights leave as follows: 3 from the JFK International Airport in New York, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays; 2 from the Baltimore/Washington D.C. Airport, leaving on Mondays and Fridays; Wednesdays and Sundays are covered with 2 flights from the Boston Airport.
If you’re closer to Miami, Air France provides transport via three flights leaving on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Things to Do in Martinique Island
There’s no logical order in which to list these specific Martinique activities. What we do know is that they will surely keep you and your whole family entertained for the whole duration of your Martinique vacation. Whether you choose to climb a mountain or to go to the zoo, it’s really up to you: we would even recommend staying as long as is needed in order to fully experience all of these.
- Climb Mount Pelée. Standing in at 1,397 meters high, Mount Pelee is remarkable not only because it is by far the highest peak in the whole of Martinique Island, but also because it’s the only active Martinique volcano. Don’t worry, though, there’s no fear of eruptions. The last one was in 1929. It wasn’t much of an eruption, anyway. The previous one, however, from May 1902, killed approximately 30,000 people. The Martiniquais have since learned from the past and now house the Morne des Cadets observatory, specifically designed to prevent disasters such as the 1902 one. Tourists who feel up to the task can follow specially designed trails up to the summit which oversees the Caribbean Sea.
- Visit the Musee de la Banane. This literally translates to the “Museum of the Banana” and here you can find out all you’ve ever wanted to know and more about the history of bananas, the different species of bananas, and how the history of this fruit is directly tied with the history of Martinique. It may not be as entertaining as playing Fruit Ninja, but you may be the master of banana trivia after this visit.
- See the Bonneville Gardens. If you’ve had enough of the trees and plants back home, go into the Bonneville Gardens. There you will find over one hundred species of plants and trees. All arranged one after the other along a trail spanning 900 meters, trekking into a tropical arboretum of more than 1.5 hectares. A true delight for the senses. You can buy a coffee and the Martinique gardens are even open to pets. Other gardens within la Martinique are also worth visiting.
- Explore the Martinique plantations. Mostly sugarcane plantations, these sights are interesting historical monuments. While many of them have direct ties with the history of slavery, these houses also stand as important architectural feats of strength and as a testimony to the rich heritage of the Creole culture. Many of these buildings have been officially declared to be monuments and are thus protected by law.
- Take a trip to the Martinique Zoo. As far as tropical islands go, the Martinique Zoo is the most amazing and awe-inspiring. Filled with all types of amazing animals, from cute parrots, to cuddly mongoose, and to fierce leopards, the zoo is clearly not a place for pets. So, if you want to go see the nice animals, leave your pets with someone at the Martinique hotel.
- Go sailing. Sailing has always been a favorite pastime for tourists. There are several companies that offer sailboats for rent and even guides that offer to take you around the island for small fees. Most Martinique resorts have partnerships with one or more of these service providers and offer either discounts or free rides.
- Go hiking the tropical forests. A fascinating adventure for everyone, it may also turn out to be too challenging for some. We recommend undertaking these hikes only when the person is adequately trained or, at least, has the physical condition necessary to withstand the harsh humidity that makes it so hard.
- Go snorkeling or scuba diving. Another favorite for all the islanders out there, swimming along with turtles, fish, or dolphins is simply amazing. Seeing that the island of Martinique is such a large one, it’s recommended that tourists ask their Martinique resort personnel for the best service providers in their area. One thing is certain: it’s well worth the effort!
- Many, many, many other activities. It would probably take the average tourist a whole year to experience all that Martinique Island has to offer. Yachting, fishing, jet skiing, wind surfing, you name it! All these and more, a lot more, are available for just about anyone visiting Martinique! They even have diving baptism services – for those of you who want to baptize your child in the waters of the Caribbean.
Martinique Island is not only a wonder to behold, it’s a wonder to experience, to go, and have some fun. Fun with your loved one, with your family, with your kids, or maybe even with your coworkers! Martinique has it all, for everybody!