Martinique or Guadeloupe?Temps de lecture : 6 minutes
Holidays on one of the Caribbean islands is a dream that is becoming a reality for more and more people. We all are lured in by white sand beaches, blue sky and crystal-clear water all year long. However, when it comes to choosing which island to select, we can be overwhelmed by the number of possibilities. Even if you pick just one area or nation, there’s still a problem: which island should I choose?
Spending the holidays in the French Antilles is a brilliant idea but are you hesitating on which island to choose between Martinique or Guadeloupe for your stay on French Caribbean islands?
Tourists look for the island with the most gorgeous beaches and the most convenient access to spend the best time relaxing in the sun, although one should not solely use beaches to distinguish between Guadeloupe and Martinique. Therefore, this article follows an honest comparison of the features of these two islands, particularly regarding the landscapes and the cuisine.
Martinique or Guadeloupe – Main Similarities
In general, we can view Martinique and Guadeloupe to be very similar. Both lay in the eastern Caribbean region. They are both also departments of French overseas territories, making them easy for Europeans to get to.
Language, Currency and History
Language: French & Antillean Creole
Both islands have a very similar history. If you pick either Martinique or Guadeloupe, you can truly enjoy the water, the beaches and the jungle. You’d definitely enjoy your time both ways.
The distinction between the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe isn’t about the climate. Guadeloupe and Martinique are, in reality, two neighboring islands that depict the same seasonal variations with a year-round sun present. They are also suitable for seaside holidays (water temperatures range from 24 to 30 ° C).
Calm or Lively
Most of the visitors arriving in Martinique are searching for peaceful locations to relax and enjoy a few days in a quiet environment. The best term that describes Martinique’s touristic side is resort.
Guadeloupe is a lively island. It is also larger than Martinique and the urban network extends much further. It is also best known for its nightlife which is more prominent than on the other islands according to many locals.
Best Town to Stay
Sainte-Anne is the safest and best town to live in both of them. When staying in Martinique’s Sainte-Anne, you’ll realise that this area is the most comfortable place to stay – it is charming, quiet, and at the same time, offers gorgeous beaches, markets and good bus links with other towns.
The town of Sainte-Anne in Guadeloupe is likewise a pleasure to visit. It also has all of the necessities, such as shops and restaurants, and the beach is stunning.
The diversity in topography, including the lush rainforests, tropical trees, volcanoes and beaches, is extraordinary. Around 60 of them can be identified with all shades of sand, from green, golden and pink to grey and black. The north is known for its wild black sand beaches, darkened through volcanic activity, whilst the most famous white sand beaches are on the southern Caribbean coast. If you’re a fan of surfing, kitesurfing or windsurfing, then head for perfect waves and winds in Tartane, Vauclin or Anse Michel.
If you are looking for a remote place that is soaked with natural beauty, this is it. Located in the very north of Martinique, this beach features beautiful black sands bordered by coconut palms. With its rugged landscapes and overhanging cliffs, this location looks much more adventurous. The waters here are erratic, often encouraging you to enjoy snorkeling and swimming and experience giant waves at times.
Be mindful of the current, however, because it can be very high depending on the season. Many see this as an authentic landscape and enjoy spending time in this idyllic environment.
This beach is situated right next to the town of the same name and offers a wide variety of activities, from paddle and kayak rentals to fishing, windsurfing and beach sports.
This area is also famous for the festive atmosphere and restaurants. There are picnic tables where you and your family can enjoy meals. Usually, the waters are calm but bear in mind that they can reach great depths quickly.
This is one of Martinique’s most beautiful locations, with its picturesque fishing village, Creole homes, small 18th century Roman Catholic church and a pier right in front. The beach is long, sandy and you can leap into the turquoise waters from the pier. This place is perfect for swimming and picnics. In the centre, you can explore the rocks full of corals and is home to many colourful fish species. You can also buy fresh fish from the local fishermen directly.
A fun place to watch the ships and boats coming and going along the coast. This setting is streamlined with modern highways, and easily accessible. This beach has calmer waters and white sands, and is a perfect spot for young families. You’ll find cool places to get out of the heat and numerous restaurants and bars where refreshments and hearty meals can be found. You will find several different stands, where you can rent equipment like kayaks. You can also visit the Club Med, a popular tourist resort in this town.
This wild, natural beach is a prevalent place to camp and relax. Approximately 800 m from the shore, a coral reef shields the beach and creates a cove of calm and serene waters known for their beautiful depth of colors – from deep blue to turquoise. In the underbrush there are cool shaded areas, where you can easily set up your tent or hammock.
Guadeloupe is an archipelago consisting of several islands in the French-Caribbean region. Although access for US travelers is improving thanks to new, cheap flight routes, it’s still a fairly unknown jewel in the Caribbean. There are almost three hundred beaches around the five key islands that make up Guadeloupe. We have selected six of Guadeloupe’s best beaches, so you can sit back with a fresh outlook. From beaches of black, volcanic sand to perfect, golden bays, here are our top picks:
Grande-Anse Beach, Basse-Terre
It is Guadeloupe’s biggest and most popular beach. The beach has a fine, golden bay and is surrounded by thick palm trees where you can take a break when it’s time to avoid the midday heat. The sea can be a little choppy at times, so please take caution when swimming and keep an eye on the kids. The beach has an incredible sunset, so sit back in one of the shacks with a rum bottle and ponder your thoughts over the horizon.
Datcha Beach, Gosier
Datcha Beach on Grand-Terre Island has white sugary sand and turquoise seas. From the beach you can see a classic red and white lighthouse situated on the nearby island of Gosier. A few vendor shacks offer watersports like kayaking and windsurfing.
Plage de la Perle, Basse-Terre
Plage de la Perle, on Basse-Terre island, is a sparkling beach. A coral reef surrounds the beach, so it’s a perfect spot to snorkel or swim. In addition to tasty French-Creole meals, the beach has a few restaurants selling fresh seafood at lunchtime.
Plage Malendure, Basse-Terre
Plage Malendure is a stunning beach on Basse-Terre Island with grey, volcanic sands. If you are a diving lover then this is the beach for you. Many people visit to continue their dive excursions as it is close to the spectacular coral reefs on Cousteau Reserve and Pigeon Islands. Some great beach shacks serve fresh coconuts and tropical juices for when you need to cool down.
Bois Jolan Beach is a family-friendly beach on the island of Grand-Terre, with low water levels and partial development. The beach has lots of palm trees for shade and you’ll bump into just a handful of visitors and locals taking a swim during the week. There are a few restaurants which serve lunchtime meals.
Petite Anse du Pain de Sucre, Terre-de-Haut
Petite Anse du Pain de Sucre on the island of Terre-de-Haut is a hidden beach which is harder to access by land than by sea, due to the extremely steep route down to the edge of the ocean. The beach has beautiful white emerald waters, and the weekdays are fairly quiet. The beach pulls a larger crowd on the weekends.
Attractions and Activities
You will certainly love nature and holiday experiences on both islands, such as lying on the beach, water sports, trekking etc. No matter where you choose between Martinique and Guadeloupe, you’ll always have the chance to go trekking in the mountains, climb the volcanoes, snorkel, discover secret waterfalls, visit rum distilleries, and so much more.
Every island also has its own jewels and can bring special moments to your holiday adventure. Below are some of the best activities listed for your convenience.
|1.||Climbing the volcano Mount Pelée||Climbing the volcano La Soufrière|
|2.||Balata Botanical Garden||Deshaies Botanical Garden|
|3.||Discover Didier Waterfall||Discover Carbet Waterfalls|
|4.||Visit Fort-de-France and its fortress||Visit Pointe-à-Pitre with Mémorial ACTe|
|5.||Enjoy the Rum Distilleries||Enjoy the Coffee Museum|
|6.||Wander in La Savane des Pétrifications||Wander to the Pointe-des-Chateaux|
|7.||Explore La Savane des Esclaves||Explore the Costumes and Traditions Museum|
Eeny meeny miny Moe…
As you can see, both islands offer plenty of exclusive things to do. Whatever you like, all of the attractions ensure that you’ll have endless possibilities to enjoy your time.
But before you make your choice, there’s another matter to consider. Martinique is a largely mountainous island, which is one complete landmass. Guadeloupe is a little bit more complex, consisting of two larger lands – Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre – the former being very level and filled with plains, while the latter is mountainous and sunken in the forest.