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Martinique island : Discovering the island of flowers

6 mins reading

The beautiful sandy beaches of the Caribbean Sea is why over half a million visitors flock to the stunning island of Martinique each year. Yet, this island in the Lesser Antilles offers much more.

Whether it be climbing the volcanic Mount Pelée or exploring colonial and historical sites, tasting the locally produced fruit and rum, or enjoying the flora and fauna. Martinique gets its nickname ‘The Island of Flowers (L’Ile aux Fleurs)’ from the early Carib Indian inhabitants, due to its dense and colourful vegetation. Nature lovers will revel in the biodiversity and natural beauty of the island. The north of the island is drier with abundant rainforests and mountains such as the Carbet Mountains.

Mount Pelée and Saint-Pierre

Your trip to Martinique would not be complete without taking in the natural beauty of Mount Pelée, a volcanic mountain over 1,300 metres high. Located in the north of the island, it is a popular hiking destination to explore the stunning mountainous and green island and enjoy the spectacular views. You can discover more about its history and hiking trails in previous articles!

The town of Saint-Pierre at the foot of Mount Pelée is extraordinary. As the island’s former capital and commercial town, Saint-Pierre was destroyed and the majority of its inhabitants perished in the volcanic eruption in 1902.

When visiting now, you can see some ruins and explore the underwater shipwrecks. If you get the chance, you should visit the prison dungeon which held one of the two survivors of the natural disaster.

Martinique Island’s beaches

You cannot visit Martinique without a trip to the beautiful Caribbean beaches and coves of the island.

You will find grey and black sand beaches in the north as a result of volcanic ash from Mount Pelée, but you can also explore the white sandy beaches in the south, such as Les Salines.

The southern part of the island is most popular with tourists. With 350 km of coastline to explore, the island is a perfect sailing, swimming and snorkeling destination, a true paradise for adventure seekers. You can frequently see turtles and other exotic marine life on the beach at Anse Dufour.

If your budget allows, take the opportunity to go on a boat trip from Fort-de-France or Anse Mitan to spot dolphins! On a trip like this you will head north towards Mount Pelée, at the foot of which is a perfect spot for snorkeling. A beach you must go to is Grande anse des Salines. Enjoy a cocktail (maybe even a well-loved Ti’ Punch!) on this idyllic white sandy crescent shaped bay lapped by blue waters and fringed with palm trees. Of course, read our article on the Top 10 beaches to visit in Martinique for a full list!

Cascade Didier

Adventure lovers must take a trip to the countryside north of Fort-de-France to enjoy Cascade Didier, one of many waterfalls on the island. You can only really access it by road in a car. It may well be the highlight of your trip as you will be hiking through the luscious rainforest and along rocky paths, and you will see an abundance of exotic plant species along the way. If you are afraid of the dark, make sure you bring a torch to navigate the 50 m tunnel just past the bridge – watch out for the bats and tarantulas, although these are very rarely seen! It is also recommended wearing or bring waterproof clothes and shoes. Once you reach the waterfall, after around a 2-hour hike, you can enjoy a swim or dive into the refreshing mineral water.


Martinique’s tropical habitat

This island of flowers is home to over 200 bird species. If you are a nature enthusiast you should go on a birdwatching trail to find the Martinique Oriole, a vulnerable species native only to Martinique. On your trip to Martinique, you must explore the Jardin de Balata botanical gardens, to the north of Fort-de-France, where you will find exotic plants such as bamboo and palm trees along with abundant colourful flowers. Enjoy the treetop view of the mountain landscape. You will more than likely spot birds such as hummingbirds. Entry to the gardens is free and they are open every day of the week.

Whilst in the island’s vibrant capital, Fort-de-France, take a stroll amongst the palm trees of La Savane Park and, if you are lucky, you may spot the exotic Lesser Antilles iguana hiding amongst the trees. A popular spot with tourists and locals alike, the park is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the occasional open air events.


La Savane Park, Fort-de-France

You can check out our travel guide of the capital to discover more. Highlights include fantastic shopping trips and savouring the flavours of the bustling market.

You will find that agriculture is important for many Martinicans and the favourable tropical climate allows for an abundance of delicious exotic fruits to thrive, such as bananas, pineapple, guava and many more. Bananas are one of the island’s main exports to France. The island even has the Banana museum (Musée de la banana) located in Sainte-Marie in the north east. Here, you can discover the history of the beloved fruit, enjoy the gardens where different varieties grow, visit its shop and restaurant and, of course, sample some banana dishes and products.

The spice market is over 100 years old, and you can find it located on the island’s lively capital – a great stop on your trip if you love spicy food. You must try a dish cooked with the widely used spice Colombo and local fresh ingredients, associated with delicious Martinican Creole cuisine. As an island, Martinique has seafood in abundance and your visit here is not complete without tasting Accras de Morue (Cod fritters,) or the delicious spiced octopus dish, Fricassé de Chatrou. This is just a taster of the amazing produce you will find on the island.

The ultimate nectar of Martinique: Premium rum

The island also exploits its sugarcane for the production and exportation of its treasured rum, Rhum Agricole. You should visit Dillon distillery to discover how some of the island’s rum is distilled and how it tastes! You must also try Ti’ Punch, a popular drink mixed with Martinican rum and sugarcane.

Martinique is the ideal destination if you have a sweet tooth! You should also visit La Maison de la Cane (the House of Cane) in Trois-Ilets, an exhibition of the island’s sugarcane history and its connections with the slave trade.

The island of Martinique is renowned for its stunning Caribbean beaches, delicious Creole food and rum, and its unique landscape, biodiversity and history. You just have to visit to appreciate all the island’s wonders!

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About the author

27 years old, Marving grew up in Schœlcher, in Fond-Lahaye and Anse Madame more precisely. Passionate about the digital world, he works as a digital marketing consultant during the day and regularly writes articles about his native island.

Marving Moreton

Copywriter & Cofounder of Tourcrib

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