Martinique: what to do, what to see...

The island of Martinique sparkles jewel-like in the Caribbean—its beaches are of obsidian sand in the north, and golden sand in the south, with emerald foliage everywhere in between. The active volcano of Mount Pelée is an open invitation to view the island from above, while the undersea world is a whole new world for divers. From brightly colored fishing yole boats to typically Caribbean beats, Creole culture works its magic everywhere in Martinique.

Not to miss sights in Martinique

• The town of Saint-Pierre

At the foothills of Mount Pelee, Saint Pierre sits in the hollow of a bay bordered by a gray sand beach. Since the eruption of 1902 that ravaged the city and killed all its inhabitants, fishing and tourism have been the only resources of the city. Many vestiges of the past remain, like the old prison with the Cyparis dungeon, the Fort's old church, the Habitation Levassor ruins and the old theater.

• Fort de France

Nestled in the Bay of Flamands and at the foothills of the Carbet, the Martinican metropolis is the Creole soul of the island, with its historic center and colorful markets.

• The village of Sainte-Anne

The town of Sainte-Anne, in the south of Martinique, is home to some of the most beautiful beaches of the Lesser Antilles on 22 kilometers (13.67 miles) of shoreline. Its landscape is varied and surprising, lush with coconut trees, savannahs and ponds. The coastline is a place of tranquility, ideal for cocktail hour, as its also home to many lively bars.

• La Caravelle nature reserve

Formed 10 million years ago, the peninsula of Caravelle is the oldest part of Martinique. Jutting out 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) in the Atlantic Ocean, Caravelle is a protected nature reserve whose diversity of landscapes is absolutely remarkable.

• Le Carbet

Painted by Gauguin, the town of Carbet is among the most visited sites in Martinique. Aside from its artistic history, this is also where Christopher Columbus landed during his fourth trip in 1502. With its gray sand beaches and breathtaking views of the volcano, Le Carbet has a remarkable past and stunning present.

• The town of Grand-Rivière

This remote fishing village at the foothills Mount Pelee is located at the north of the island. Not as touristic as other spots on the island, its authenticity and true Martinican charm make it well worth the trip!
Grand-Rivière is also a great place to practice rock-climbing.

• La Savane des Esclaves Museum of slavery

Slavery and the slave trade are inseparable from the history of Martinique. This site of Trois-Îlets aims to trace this story through the reconstruction of an authentic Napoleonic village of the 19th century. A visit to the museum reveals the very difficult living conditions of slaves.

• Les Gorges de la Falaise

The Falaise River that descends the slopes of Mount Pelee meanders its way between the impressive walls of a canyon. A trip down the river is best accompanied by a guide to help navigat the slides, jumps and baths of fresh water in the crystalline basins of the Gorges.

• Cap 110, the Anse Caffard slave trade sculpture installation and memorial

Located in the town of Le Diamant, the Cap 110 memorial is a tribute to all victims of slavery in Martinique. Fifteen busts of 2.50 meters (8.20 feet) high are arranged at the top of the rock of the Caffard Cove, facing the tormenting winds of the Atlantic.

• Les Salines beach

The beach of Salines in Sainte-Anne is often cited as the most beautiful beach in Martinique, and the weekend crowds on this long strip of white sand lined with coconut trees testify to that. Picnic tables are available in the shade and some snacks vendors offer their services.

Things to do in Martinique

• Take in the incredible panoramic views from Morne Gommier

A magnificent 360-degree panorama awaits you on the heights of Morne Gommier—admire the city of Marin, and Sainte Anne, the reefs of Macabou, the point of Salines, Sainte Lucie, the Diamond Rock, the Lady Lying on Morne Larcher, the peaks of Carbet, Mount Pelee, the Mountain of Vauclin, Morne Sulpice, Crève-Cœur Volcano...

• Watch the start of a Tour des Yoles race from the end of July and the beginning of August

A yole is a motorless boat specific to Martinique, meant for rowing or sailing. The yole tour of Martinique is a regatta that has existed for more than 30 years. The regatta, established on a seven-stage course, is the largest in Martinique and runs for one week between late July and early August.

• Climb the active volcano of Mont Pelée

Mount Pelé is a still active volcano, around 400,000 years old, located in the north of Martinique. Today there is little change of eruption, as its last volcanic event dates from 1929. Mont Pelée is highest point of the island, with a summit of 1,397 meters (4583,33 feet).

• Dive the waters around Diamond Rock

This rock a few kilometers from the shore of the bay of the same name is the most famous spot in Martinique, where you can enjoy the beautiful fauna and flora and incredible lighting.

• Explore Treasure Bay by catamaran

This route along the coast of the Caravelle Penninsula towards Treasure Bay, is part of an ecotourism initiative, which encourages visitors to discover this exceptional but fragile natural environment in a non-invasive manner.

• Grab your mask and snorkel and head for Pointe de Borgnèse

Halfway along the coastal road that connects Sainte-Lucie and Marin lies Pointe Borgnèse. The place is charming on the gorund, but it's underwater where you can find its real treasures. Discover the richness of the gently-sloping, very accessible seabed of the island.

• List the thousands of species of tropical plants and flowers in the Balata botanical garden

Ten kilometers (6.21 miles) from Fort-de-France is the most beautiful botanical garden of the island. Jean Philippe Thorze horticulturist and landscape designer decided in 1982 to create this park with no less than 3,000 species of exotic plants and flowers imported from tropical regions of throughout world.

• Become an expert in banana growing at Habitation Belfort

If you want to know everything you can about the bananas of Martinique, you must visit the Belfort house and its banana plantation. Board the small train to start your journey towards banana expertise!

• Venture deep into Bat Cave

Away from the major tourist resorts of southern Martinique, Anses d'Arlets have kept an authentic charm. This is the starting point to visit the famed Cave of Bats, a grotto at water level, accessible by kayak, which is home to a large colony of bats.

• Take the Route de la Trace to the heart of the tropical forest

The wild and lush nature of this road commands admiration. There are many species of flowers, giant trees dripping with vines, multiple birds, gullies, rivers and many turns over 29 kilometers (18 miles). It's lovely during the day, but not suitable for night visits.

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