Why you should discover Martinique in the Caribbean-
Top things to do & best beaches in Martinique
Have you ever considered a holiday on the beach in Martinique? This affordable Caribbean destination should be on your bucket list if you need to escape the winter cold in a tropical paradise. This lovely island in the French Indies has it all, from gorgeous beaches in all black and blonde hues to lush jungles filled with exotic flowers, authentic creole villages and an impressive volcano shrouded in fog. I even saw sea turtles and humming-birds. Why you should go to Martinique, the top things to do and the best beaches in Martinique, I’ll tell it all!
An affordable Caribbean destination : low-budget holidays in Martinique
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If you’re looking for a gorgeous but cheap Caribbean destination, you should definitely consider a trip to Martinique. This beautiful island has everything you’d expect from a perfect holiday on the beach and it’s definitely cheaper than many Caribbean destinations such as the Bahamas or Saint Lucia. I spent a week there in January with my husband and our expenses were surprisingly low for such an exotic paradise. We spent 500 euros, which means approximetaly 600 USD for an Air BnB villa for ourselves with a pool and a view (and it could have been much cheaper without such amenities), and 350 USD for a car rental for 7 days with Alamo. Most activities, such as hikes and beaches, were free, which meant that we could afford a beautiful winter holiday without breaking the bank.
How to get to Martinique with direct flights
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If you’re looking for direct flights from the US to the Caribbean, consider Martinique: you can fly directly from New York City to Fort-de-France, with tickets starting as low as 350 dollars for both ways with Norwegian. Norwegian also offers direct flights from Fort-Lauderdale and Providence, and American Eagle has direct flights from Miami.
If you live in Canada, you’ll find direct flights to Martinique from Montréal with Air Canada and Air Transat. And if you live in Europe, you’ll fly either from Paris or from Munich for an immediate dive into paradise.
Awesome things to do in Martinique
When traveling to Martinique, the first thing on your mind will be the beach. Martinique can boast with long sandy coastlines and a great variety of beaches. But here are my favorites.
Best beaches in Martinique
Grande Anse des Salines is considered by many as Martinique’s best beach. It’s a picture-perfect moon-shaped bay with golden sand and dozens of palm trees overlooking the blue waters. Relax and enjoy a cocktail in one of the many sand bars.
Baie du Diamant is my personal favorite. This 7 kilometers (=4,5 miles) long beach is the perfect one for a long jog or stroll along the waves. It’s the ideal beach for families, with picnic tables in the shade, and safe waters without strong currents or treacherous waves. In a distance, you’ll see the famed pirate “Diamond” rock, which gave its name to the beach.
Little treasure islands: the Southern and Eastern coasts of Martinique are paved with little islets which will remind you of pirate movies. Two of them really caught my attention.
Ilet Chevalier is a truly gorgeous forest islet, filled with giant cacti, and a beautiful transparent beach. You just need to go to the harbor in Cap Chevalier and a fisherman will get you to the island for a few euros.
Ilet Thierry, on the East coast of Martinique, has the bluest water ever, and is a true hidden gem. You’ll get there on a kayak with the company “Kayak des Ilets du François”: rent a kayak, and go there on a self-guided tour. The operator will meet you later on a sandbank in the middle in the ocean and bring you food and drinks. It will cost you 15 euros for 4 hours of kayak rental, snacks and drinks!
Let’s now have a look at the Northern beaches which have been fed by the volcano: they are beaches of black sand. They are also rougher, trickier – use caution when going out, or don’t go at all when signs warn you about strong currents and dangerous waves.
Anse Couleuvre will make you feel like you’ve entered Jurassic Park. Spectacular sunsets await on this wild and remote black sand beach. It’s a local favorite.
Grand Rivière is the northernmost tip of the island, and is often called “the village at the end of the world”. The dark cliffs are gorgeous, but just don’t go into the water there! If you’re a (very) good hiker, you may try the famous path running from Anse Couleuvre to Grand Rivière, a beautiful 18 kilometers hike some compare to the Kalalau Trail in Kauai, and which isn’t for the faint-hearted!
A beautiful garden full of humming-birds
Don’t miss the Gardens of Balata, north of the capital city Fort-de-France. This artist’s garden full of bamboos, moss and exotic flowers also harbors a flock of colorful humming-birds. They enjoy drinking from Martinique’s most beautiful flower, the “porcelain rose”.
Enjoy the view at Morne Gommier
Morne Gommier offers one of the most beautiful viewpoints on the island, with a 360° view over the South. Doesn’t it look like Peter Pan’s Neverland?
Meet Martinique’s sea turtles
The two beaches Anse Noire and Anse Dufour, both situated in Les Anses d’Arlet, are the best place in Martinique to encounter sea turtles while snorkeling. Green turtles come here to feast on the seagrass beds of the two sister beaches. Come early in the morning, and be patient, you have good chances to meet one… Stay at a respectful distance, don’t touch them and don’t disturb them!
Visit Saint-Pierre, “Pompeii of the Caribbean”
This is a striking, heart-breaking place. Saint Pierre used to be Martinique’s biggest and liveliest city, full of rich men and pretty women enjoying opera nights and tasteful parties. But there was a threat looming over this Caribbean jewel: Mount Pelée, Martinique’s old and angry volcano. On May 8, 1902, Saint Pierre was destroyed and its 30 000 inhabitants killed in less than a minute by fiery gases descending like an atomic bomb on what once was the West Indies’ most brilliant city. You can still visit the ruins and hear the crazy story of the only survivor, a convict on death-row who was protected by the thick walls of his cell (he was later graced).
You can also hike to the top of Mount Pelée… if the ever-present fog does lift!
Find a restaurant or hotel by the beach in Martinique
Martinique is full of beautiful beachside restaurants where you’ll enjoy specialties with your feet in the sand. Our favorite was without a doubt the Ti’Sable, in Les Anses d’Arlet on the Southwestern coast: beautiful atmosphere and great food!
Another great option is La Dunette in Sainte Anne, which is a lovely beachfront restaurant, cocktail bar and not too expensive seafront hotel.
Looking for other beachfront hotels in Martinique? For the luxury minded, check out Cap Est Lagoon Resort and Spa or even better, the beautiful all-inclusive resort Club Med Les Boucaniers with its absolutely perfect beach. If I go back to Martinique, I will definitely try to spend a night there.
These were my personal top things to do in Martinique, but there are many more things to see and do there: spas, art museums, great hikes, a zoo, or go to a rum tasting in one of the many distilleries.
Quick tips to fully enjoy your Caribbean beach holiday in Martinique
top things to do in Martinique best beaches in Martinique
* Money: you’ll pay in euros €, since Martinique is a part of France
* Electricity: European-style plugs, just like in France
* Driving: it’s very easy and safe to rent a car and road-tripping is a great way to explore the island. You’ll drive on the right-hand side. Do ask if you need an automatic geared car, since most French people prefer driving with a stick.
* What to bring: bikinis and beachwear! It doesn’t get cold, but it can get wet – take a very light raincoat, you’re in the Tropics. Don’t forget your snorkeling gear, Martinique is a great snorkel spot. Think of sun screen and mosquito repellent, it can get itchy in the morning and the evening, and mosquitoes may carry diseases, like everywhere in the Caribbean.
* Safety: Martinique is perfectly safe for all travelers, including families and solo women.
* Safety at sea: Nearly all beaches in the South of the island are family-friendly and safe, but beaches in the North can get trickier, with waves and strong currents. Respect warning signs, don’t go into the water if you’re being advised against it.
* Food: everything is safe, you won’t get sick! You can buy delicious local fruit such as pineapple, oranges and mangoes on the side of the road. Don’t go without trying the local specialty, called “accras”: fried cod balls, absolutely delicious.
If you’re planning a holiday in Martinique or might want to discover this beautiful and affordable Caribbean destination one day, consider pinning this post for later!