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The Best Things To Do In Martinique, French Caribbean


by Romola Boatman


Beaches in Martinique

Martinique, a stunning French Caribbean island, is known for its pristine beaches and turquoise waters. Whether you are seeking relaxation, water sports, or simply a picturesque spot to soak up the sun, Martinique offers a variety of beautiful beaches to suit every preference.


One of the most popular beaches in Martinique is Les Salines. Located on the southern tip of the island, Les Salines boasts powdery white sands, swaying palm trees, and crystal-clear waters. It is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the paradisal surroundings. You can relax under the shade of an umbrella, go for a refreshing swim, or take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline.


Anse Couleuvre is another stunning beach worth visiting. Situated on the northern coast of Martinique, this secluded beach is nestled between lush green hills and offers a tranquil escape from the crowds. You can bask in the solitude of the pristine black sands, listen to the gentle crashing of waves, and swim in the refreshing ocean.


If you are a water sports enthusiast, Pointe du Bout is the ideal beach for you. Located near the popular town of Trois-Îlets, Pointe du Bout offers a range of water activities, including jet skiing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. You can rent equipment from one of the beachside vendors and enjoy an adrenaline-filled day on the water.


Other notable beaches in Martinique include:

  • Anse Dufour
  • Anse Noire
  • Grande Anse d’Arlet
  • Plage de l’Anse à l’Ane
  • Anse Meunier

Each of these beaches offers its own unique charm and beauty. Whether you prefer serene and secluded spots or lively beaches with plenty of amenities, Martinique has something for everyone.


As you explore the beaches of Martinique, keep in mind to respect the environment and follow local regulations to help preserve the natural beauty of the island. Enjoy the sun, sand, and sea, and create unforgettable memories on the breathtaking beaches of Martinique.


Visit the historic city of Fort-de-France

Fort-de-France, the capital city of Martinique, is a fascinating blend of French and Caribbean cultures. Steeped in history and filled with vibrant streets, this charming city offers a myriad of attractions and experiences that are sure to captivate visitors.


Start your exploration of Fort-de-France by visiting La Savane Park. This iconic park is the heart of the city and offers a relaxing oasis amidst the bustling streets. Take a leisurely stroll along the palm-fringed pathways, admire the beautiful statue of Empress Josephine, and soak in the tranquil atmosphere of this picturesque green space.


Continue your journey through Fort-de-France by visiting La Cathédrale Saint-Louis. This stunning cathedral, with its striking architecture and intricate stained glass windows, is a true masterpiece. Step inside and marvel at the grandeur of the interior, and perhaps take a moment of quiet reflection.


For history enthusiasts, a visit to the Schoelcher Library is a must. This historic library, housed in a stunning 19th-century building, is a testament to the island’s rich intellectual heritage. Explore the vast collection of books, manuscripts, and artifacts that provide a glimpse into Martinique’s past.


Fort Saint-Louis is another significant landmark in Fort-de-France. Built in the 17th century, this fortress played a vital role in protecting the island from invaders. Guided tours are available, allowing visitors to discover the fort’s fascinating history and enjoy breathtaking views of the city and the Caribbean Sea.


As you explore Fort-de-France, make sure to wander through the vibrant marketplaces. The Grand Marché, in particular, is a bustling hub of activity where you can find local handicrafts, fresh produce, and aromatic spices. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, interact with the friendly vendors, and sample some of the island’s delectable tropical fruits.


Fort-de-France is also known for its vibrant art scene. The Fondation Clément, a contemporary art museum located just outside the city, showcases works by local and international artists. Take the opportunity to appreciate the diverse range of artistic expressions and gain insights into the cultural fabric of the island.


Whether you are exploring the historical landmarks, strolling through the vibrant markets, or immersing yourself in the local art scene, a visit to Fort-de-France promises an enriching cultural experience. Embrace the mix of French and Caribbean influences, soak in the city’s charm, and create lasting memories in this captivating city.


Explore the lush gardens of Balata

Located just a short drive from Fort-de-France, the Jardin de Balata is a botanical garden that showcases the stunning natural beauty of Martinique. This lush oasis, nestled in the hills, is a paradise for nature lovers and offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city.


As you enter the Jardin de Balata, you will be greeted by a breathtaking sight of vibrant tropical flowers and towering palm trees. The garden spans over 16,000 square feet and is home to a diverse collection of plant species from around the world.


Take your time to meander along the winding paths that lead you through the garden’s enchanting landscape. Admire the colorful orchids, delicate hibiscus blossoms, and exotic bromeliads that add splashes of vibrant hues to the surroundings. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the beauty of the picturesque scenery.


One of the highlights of the Jardin de Balata is the Tree Top Trail. This suspended walkway offers a unique perspective as you stroll amidst the canopy of the tropical forest. Feel the cool breeze on your skin, listen to the symphony of bird songs, and marvel at the stunning panoramic views that stretch out before you.


The garden also features a collection of unique and rare palm trees, including the majestic Royal Palm. These towering giants add an air of grandeur to the landscape and provide shade and shelter for the numerous species of birds that call the garden their home.


For those seeking a moment of relaxation, find a peaceful spot to sit and soak in the serenity of the surroundings. The Jardin de Balata offers benches and rest areas throughout the garden, allowing you to unwind and connect with nature.


In addition to its natural beauty, the Jardin de Balata also hosts art exhibitions and cultural events throughout the year. This offers visitors a chance to appreciate the fusion of art and nature and further immerse themselves in the enchanting atmosphere of the garden.


A visit to the Jardin de Balata is not only a feast for the senses but also a chance to gain a deeper appreciation for the abundant natural wonders of Martinique. Soak in the tranquility, breathe in the fragrant floral scents, and let the beauty of Balata’s gardens leave an indelible mark on your soul.


Hike through the stunning rainforests of Martinique

One of the most mesmerizing natural wonders of Martinique is its lush rainforests. With dense vegetation, cascading waterfalls, and diverse wildlife, the rainforests offer a captivating experience for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.


One of the best areas to explore the rainforests is in the northern part of the island, around the town of Grand Rivière. Here, you can embark on a hike through the Parc Naturel Régional de Martinique, a protected area that encompasses a vast expanse of rainforest.


The park offers a range of hiking trails suitable for all levels of experience. From gentle walks to challenging treks, there are options to suit everyone’s preferences. As you navigate the trails, you’ll be surrounded by the lush greenery, listening to the gentle rustling of leaves and the sounds of the forest.


One of the highlights of hiking in Martinique’s rainforests is the opportunity to encounter unique and exotic wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for the colorful plumage of rare bird species, such as the Martinique Oriole or the Rufous-throated Solitaire. You may also spot playful monkeys swinging from tree to tree or catch a glimpse of a timid agouti scurrying through the undergrowth.


As you wander deeper into the rainforest, you’ll come across enchanting sights such as hidden waterfalls and natural swimming pools. Take a refreshing dip in these crystal-clear waters and let the coolness rejuvenate your body and spirit.


For those seeking a more challenging adventure, consider hiking up Mount Pelée, an active volcano that stands as the highest peak in Martinique. The ascent can be demanding, but the rewards are unparalleled. As you reach the summit, you’ll be treated to breathtaking panoramic views of the island and the surrounding Caribbean Sea.


It’s important to note that when hiking in the rainforests of Martinique, it’s advisable to be well-prepared. Wear sturdy footwear, carry plenty of water, and bring a map or guide if venturing off the main trails.


Exploring the rainforests of Martinique is a truly immersive experience, allowing you to connect with the island’s natural beauty and witness its rich biodiversity firsthand. So lace up your hiking boots, embrace the serenity of the forest, and embark on an unforgettable adventure through the stunning rainforests of Martinique.


Discover the beauty of Les Salines

When it comes to idyllic beaches in Martinique, Les Salines ranks at the top of the list. Located on the southern coast of the island near the town of Sainte-Anne, Les Salines is a true paradise with its pristine white sands, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and swaying palm trees.


As you approach Les Salines, you’ll be greeted by a postcard-perfect scene. The powdery soft sands extend for miles, providing ample space for sunbathing, picnicking, and leisurely walks along the shoreline. Find your perfect spot to lay down your towel, soak up the warm Caribbean sun, and feel the gentle sea breeze on your skin.


One of the unique features of Les Salines is the presence of several small coves that are sheltered by waves. These calm areas are perfect for families with young children or those who prefer a more tranquil swimming experience. Take a dip in the azure waters and revel in the delight of the refreshing sea.


The natural beauty of Les Salines is enhanced further by the surrounding lush vegetation. Palm trees dot the landscape, providing shade and creating a picturesque setting. As you relax on the beach, you can listen to the soothing sound of leaves whispering in the breeze and admire the stunning backdrop of greenery.


Exploring beyond the sandy shores, you’ll discover that Les Salines offers more than just a beach experience. The surrounding area is home to mangroves and salt ponds, creating a unique ecosystem rich in biodiversity. Take a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk that meanders through the mangroves, immersing yourself in this serene and untouched natural setting.


For those seeking a bit of adventure, consider renting a kayak or a paddleboard to explore the waters around Les Salines. Glide through the calm lagoons, admiring the marine life beneath you and the beauty of the coastline from a different perspective.


As with any beach visit, it’s important to be mindful of the environment. Follow guidelines and be respectful of the delicate ecosystems and wildlife in the area. Avoid leaving any trash behind and ensure you leave the beach as pristine as you found it.


Les Salines is a place where you can truly unwind, disconnect, and enjoy the natural beauty that Martinique has to offer. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, water activities, or simply a stunning beach to marvel at, Les Salines is a must-visit destination that will leave you with memories of paradise.


Take a dip in the natural pools of Les Gorges de la Falaise

Hidden away in the lush vegetation of Martinique, Les Gorges de la Falaise is a hidden gem that offers a unique and refreshing experience. Located in the municipality of Fonds-Saint-Denis, these natural pools are a perfect retreat for those looking to escape the heat and enjoy a dip in cool, crystal-clear waters.


Les Gorges de la Falaise is a series of cascading waterfalls and natural pools formed by the river that runs through the rocky terrain. As you venture deeper into the gorge, you’ll be surrounded by towering cliffs covered in lush vegetation, creating a stunning backdrop for your aquatic adventure.


To reach the pools, you’ll need to hike through the verdant forest, following the trail that winds along the river. Along the way, you’ll encounter picturesque waterfalls and smaller pools, inviting you to take a refreshing break. Take your time to explore and find your perfect spot to relax and unwind.


As you reach the larger natural pools, you’ll be greeted by the sight of inviting turquoise waters, framed by nature’s rugged beauty. The pools vary in size and depth, offering options for both swimmers and non-swimmers. The refreshing waters are perfect for a leisurely swim or simply lounging and enjoying the tranquility of your surroundings.


One of the unique features of Les Gorges de la Falaise is the natural waterslide carved into the rock formations. This thrilling slide allows you to glide down into the pool below, adding an element of excitement and adventure to your experience. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or prefer a more laid-back approach, the natural pools of Les Gorges de la Falaise cater to all preferences.


As you bask in the beauty of Les Gorges de la Falaise, take a moment to appreciate the untouched nature surrounding you. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the scenic landscapes and cascading waterfalls that make this place truly special.


It’s important to note that, due to the natural environment, there are no facilities available at Les Gorges de la Falaise. It’s recommended to bring water, snacks, and any necessary supplies for your visit. Additionally, take care to follow any safety guidelines and be mindful of your own abilities when swimming or engaging in water activities.


Les Gorges de la Falaise offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature and immerse yourself in a refreshing and beautiful setting. So pack your swimsuit, prepare for a moderate hike, and get ready to take a dip in the natural pools of Les Gorges de la Falaise for a memorable experience in Martinique.


Experience the vibrant culture at Foyal Art

Foyal Art, located in the vibrant city of Fort-de-France, is a hub of cultural expression and a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts and those seeking to experience the rich cultural heritage of Martinique.


This contemporary art center showcases a diverse range of artistic expressions, including paintings, sculptures, installations, and multimedia exhibits. The gallery features the works of both local and international artists, providing a platform to showcase the talent and creativity of the region.


As you enter Foyal Art, you’ll be immersed in a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere. The gallery space itself is a testament to modern design, with its sleek architecture and innovative use of materials. Each exhibit is carefully curated to engage and provoke thought, inviting visitors to explore different perspectives and interpretations.


One of the unique aspects of Foyal Art is its commitment to promoting cultural exchange and dialogue. The center regularly hosts workshops, artist talks, and performances that allow visitors to interact with the artists, gain insights into their creative process, and participate in the artistic journey.


Beyond the gallery space, Foyal Art extends its influence to the streets of Fort-de-France through urban art initiatives. Murals and street art installations can be found throughout the city, transforming ordinary walls into colorful and thought-provoking works of art. Take a stroll through the streets and let the vibrant art breathe life into the urban landscape.


For those interested in delving deeper into the cultural heritage of Martinique, Foyal Art also organizes exhibitions and events that explore the island’s history, traditions, and social issues. These exhibits provide a unique opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the local culture and its significance within a global context.


When visiting Foyal Art, don’t forget to allocate some time to explore the surrounding neighborhood of Fort-de-France. The city itself is a melting pot of influences, with its blend of French, African, and Caribbean cultures. Explore the colorful markets, indulge in delicious local cuisine, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere that permeates every street corner.


Whether you are a seasoned art enthusiast or simply curious about the creative expressions of Martinique, Foyal Art offers a window into the island’s rich cultural tapestry. Experience the vibrant energy, engage in meaningful conversations, and let the art of Foyal Art inspire and ignite your imagination.


Enjoy delicious local cuisine at Le Marché de Fort-de-France

Le Marché de Fort-de-France, located in the heart of the capital city of Martinique, is a bustling market that offers a tantalizing array of flavors and aromas. This vibrant market is a paradise for food lovers, providing a chance to sample delicious local cuisine and immerse yourself in the culinary traditions of the island.


As you enter Le Marché de Fort-de-France, you’ll be greeted by a sensory feast. The market is a vibrant tapestry of colors, with stalls overflowing with fresh produce, spices, and mouth-watering delicacies. Take a leisurely stroll through the market’s aisles, explore the various sections, and engage with the friendly vendors who are eager to share their culinary expertise.


One of the highlights of Le Marché de Fort-de-France is the wide variety of tropical fruits on offer. Succulent mangoes, juicy pineapples, fragrant guavas, and exotic passion fruits are just a few of the delectable options available. Indulge in the sweetness of these local fruits, and allow their refreshing flavors to transport you to paradise.


Seafood aficionados will also find their haven at the market. From freshly caught fish to succulent shrimp and delectable lobster, the seafood section of Le Marché de Fort-de-France showcases the wealth of marine delicacies that grace the shores of Martinique. Whether you prefer grilled, fried, or steamed dishes, there is something to satisfy every seafood craving.


No visit to Le Marché de Fort-de-France would be complete without sampling the island’s traditional dishes. Try the renowned accras, deep-fried fritters made with salted codfish, herbs, and spices. Pair them with a side of boudin, a spicy blood sausage, for a true taste of Martinique’s culinary heritage.


The market also offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in the flavors of Creole cuisine. Discover the complex flavors of dishes such as colombo, a spicy curry-like dish, or poulet boucané, which is marinated and smoked chicken. These dishes are a true reflection of the island’s rich cultural heritage and are often passed down through generations.


While exploring Le Marché de Fort-de-France, be sure to stop by the various food stalls and small eateries scattered throughout the market. You can feast on delectable street food such as accras, grilled seafood, and local pastries. The market is the perfect place to try new flavors, as you can indulge in a wide variety of dishes at affordable prices.


Le Marché de Fort-de-France is not just a culinary destination; it’s a cultural experience that allows you to connect with the vibrant spirit of Martinique. So, venture into the market, immerse yourself in the sights and smells, and allow your taste buds to dance with delight as you savor the delicious local cuisine.


Dive into the underwater world of Martinique with a snorkeling or scuba diving excursion

If you’re a water lover and crave adventure, then exploring the vibrant underwater world of Martinique should be at the top of your list. With its crystal-clear waters, colorful coral reefs, and abundant marine life, Martinique offers a paradise for snorkelers and scuba divers.


Snorkeling is a fantastic way to discover the underwater treasures of Martinique. Grab your mask, snorkel, and fins, and dip into the warm Caribbean Sea. From shallow bays to offshore reefs, there are numerous snorkeling spots to suit all skill levels and preferences.


One of the most popular snorkeling sites in Martinique is Anse Dufour, located on the western coast of the island. This picturesque bay is home to a vibrant reef teeming with tropical fish, sea turtles, and even dolphins if you’re lucky. Explore the underwater world at your own pace, marveling at the kaleidoscope of colors that unfold before your eyes.


For a more immersive experience, scuba diving in Martinique is a must. Dive into the depths of the Caribbean Sea and discover a whole new realm of marine beauty. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a beginner, there are dive sites suitable for all skill levels.


One of the most iconic dive sites in Martinique is the Diamond Rock. This volcanic rock formation rises majestically from the sea, creating an underwater paradise for divers. Explore the crevices and caves, adorned with vibrant corals and sponges, while encountering an array of marine life that calls the rock home.


Les Trois-Ilets is another popular diving destination, known for its stunning coral reefs and diverse marine ecosystems. Dive among colorful fish, graceful rays, and maybe even spot a curious sea turtle gliding by. The underwater world here is teeming with life, and every dive is sure to be filled with awe-inspiring encounters.


When planning a snorkeling or scuba diving excursion in Martinique, it’s important to ensure your safety and respect the delicate marine ecosystems. Choose a reputable dive center or snorkeling tour operator that emphasizes responsible diving practices and environmental stewardship.


Whether you opt for snorkeling or scuba diving, immersing yourself in the underwater world of Martinique is an unforgettable experience. Discover the beauty and diversity of the coral reefs, swim alongside colorful marine life, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


So, grab your gear, dive into the inviting waters of Martinique, and unlock the door to a whole new world of adventure and discovery beneath the surface of the Caribbean Sea.


Visit the rum distilleries to learn about the island’s famous spirit

Martinique is renowned for its rich history and tradition of rum production. As you explore the island, a visit to the rum distilleries is a must-do experience that allows you to delve into the world of this beloved spirit and learn about its significance to Martinique’s culture.


One of the most well-known rum distilleries in Martinique is Habitation Clément. Located in the town of Le François, this historic estate offers guided tours that take you through the rum-making process from start to finish. Explore the beautiful grounds, filled with lush gardens and colonial-era buildings, and step into the distillery to see how sugarcane is transformed into the flavorful elixir that is rum.


During the tour, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the distillation process, where sugarcane juice is fermented and distilled into rum. Learn about the different aging techniques and the importance of the wooden barrels used in the maturation process. The knowledgeable guides will share fascinating insights into the history of rum production in Martinique and the unique qualities that make Martinican rum so exceptional.


Anse Cafard, another renowned distillery, provides visitors with an immersive experience that combines history, culture, and the art of rum-making. Located in Le Diamant, this distillery is set amidst a beautiful plantation with stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. Take a guided tour and witness the craftsmanship that goes into each bottle of rum, while also learning about the historical significance of sugar cane in the region.


As you journey through the distilleries, you’ll have the opportunity to taste a variety of rums, each with its own distinct flavors and characteristics. Sample aged rums with complex profiles, white rums with vibrant and fruity notes, or even flavored rums infused with local ingredients like vanilla or coconut. It’s a sensory journey that allows you to appreciate the complexity and versatility of this beloved spirit.


Besides learning about the rum-making process, visiting the distilleries also offers a chance to explore the beautiful estates and their picturesque surroundings. Many distilleries are nestled in areas of natural beauty, providing stunning views and opportunities to connect with Martinique’s lush landscapes.


It’s important to note that if you plan to indulge in rum tastings, it’s always advisable to drink responsibly and know your limits. Many distilleries also offer non-alcoholic options and activities for non-drinkers or those who want to take a break from alcohol consumption.


A visit to the rum distilleries in Martinique is a cultural and gastronomic adventure that allows you to discover the island’s rich rum-making heritage. Immerse yourself in the history, traditions, and flavors of Martinican rum, and gain a deeper appreciation for this iconic spirit that holds a special place in the hearts of Martiniquais locals and visitors alike.


Attend a cultural event or festival to immerse yourself in the local traditions and celebrations.

Martinique is a vibrant island that celebrates its rich cultural heritage through a variety of festivals and cultural events throughout the year. Attending these events offers an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in the local traditions, music, dance, and cuisine, providing a deeper understanding of the island’s unique culture.


One of the most famous events in Martinique is the Carnaval de Martinique. This colorful and lively festival takes place in February or March and lasts for several weeks. The streets come alive with parades, vibrant costumes, and the infectious rhythms of traditional music such as zouk and biguine. Join the locals as they dance through the streets, marvel at the elaborate floats, and indulge in delicious local street food and rum punch.


To experience the richness of Martinique’s Creole heritage, don’t miss the Fête Patronale (Patron Saint Festival). Each town and village in Martinique has its own patron saint, and throughout the year, these saints are celebrated with elaborate religious processions, traditional dances, and cultural performances. The festivities are accompanied by traditional Creole music, and locals proudly showcase their traditional dress and culinary specialties.


For those interested in the island’s agricultural traditions, the Fête des Fruits et Légumes (Fruit and Vegetable Festival) is a must-attend event. This festival celebrates the bounty of Martinique’s fertile lands, showcasing the wide variety of tropical fruits, vegetables, and spices that grow on the island. Enjoy live cooking demonstrations, taste local fruit jams and liqueurs, and learn about traditional farming practices from local producers.


If you’re a fan of music, the Triskell Festival is not to be missed. This music festival brings together a mix of local and international artists to celebrate Caribbean and world music. Enjoy performances ranging from traditional folk music to contemporary jazz, reggae, and zouk. The festival takes place in various locations across the island and provides a platform for both established and emerging artists to showcase their talent.


In December, the Fête des Lumières (Festival of Lights) brightens up the streets of Martinique with dazzling displays and illuminations. This festival takes place during the holiday season and marks the beginning of the Christmas celebrations. Delight in the magical atmosphere as the streets come alive with lights, music, and festive decorations. Enjoy local delicacies, watch live performances, and join in traditional dances as the island celebrates this joyous occasion.


Attending a cultural event or festival in Martinique offers a truly immersive experience, allowing you to witness the island’s traditions, celebrations, and vibrant spirit. Be sure to check the festival calendar ahead of your trip to plan your visit accordingly and soak in the lively atmosphere of these unique cultural experiences.