A slice of Gallic culture in in the Caribbean, Martinique is a French oversea department and it is fully integrated in France and in EU. The currency is Euro. The island is very cultivated and green. The roads are in an excellent condition the villages clean and the home gardens full of flowers. Just a piece of France in the tropes! The Carib name for Martinique was Madinina meaning ‘island of flower’ and travelling through the island we understood why.
Fort-de France is the capital of Martinique and it is a busy commercial center and has an attractive historical kernel. Some interesting places are: the park La Savane, Bibliothéque Schoelcher, Cathedral St Louis, Fort St. Louis. Fort-de-France is much more interesting from the touristic point of view than Port-au Prince in Guadeloupe.
Close to Fort-de France, the Jardin de Balata is a botanical garden in a rainforest setting and has a tree walk. The botanical garden is interesting, but unfortunately it cannot top Jardin des Haies which we have seen on Guadeloupe.
During a drive through the south of the island we have passed several wonderful black and white sandy beaches, small yacht harbors. The Rocher du Diamant situated ca. 1 km away from the coast has been occupied during hundreds of years by British soldiers. Several attempts to conquer the rock by the French soldiers failed. In a last attempt the French sent some barrels of rum to the English soldiers on the rock. This time they were successful. One of the finest beaches in the Caribbean is the Plage des Salines with a long stretch of golden sand and hundreds of inclined palms. Like a post card.
The most important products on the island are bananas and sugar cane. Sugar cane is processed to sugar and to an excellent rum. The most popular rum drinks are: planteur (rum with some fruit syrup) and ti punch (rum with lime and cane sugar). We have visited the rum distillery La Mauny in Rivière Pilote. The sugar cane is harvested close to the distillery and 72 hours later they got the rum. Gorgeous!
As in Dominica, the most exciting experience in Martinique was the encounter with wild animals, in this case with dolphins. We saw a wild colony with ca. 1000 dolphins. There is a wonderful interworking between the dolphins, the frigate birds and the tourists. The dolphins push up the fish swarms to the surface which of course attracts the frigate birds to a delicious meal. The tourists see the frigate birds flying around and can come closer to the dolphins. Gorgeous! We booked a 4-hours tour with ‘Planète Dauphins’ with the motor boat. They went ca. 30 min off the coast, where we saw the dolphin colony. The dolphins were very social and played ca. one hour with the waves around our boat. Wonderful!
Location **** (out of max five). Ca 10 min walk up the hill above the beach Anse à l’Ane (Trois Islets). There are several restaurants on the very nice sandy beach, a supermarket, an ATM, a gas and a bus station in the village. Boat shuttle from Anse à l’Ane to downtown Fort de France (30 min).
Room. ***** (out of max five). Wonderful bay view. The room is functional and has a small kitchen where you can cook some small dishes. Very nice terrace.
Infrastructure, Service (internet, reception, pool etc): *** (out of max five). Nice pool. Very nice garden. Weak, unsafe internet. Max three devices with the same user ID (room) can login. Internet shut down at 10 pm!!
Breakfast. We didn’t have breakfast in the hotel . Fresh bakery can be ordered and are delivered at the reception every morning.
Overall rating. **** (out of max 5). Good hotel but downgrade because of weak internet.
We have enjoyed very much Martinique with very good roads, cultivated villages, wonderful beaches and a lot of flowers. On Feb 14 we took the ferry towards St. Lucia.