OUR TRAVEL: 23 days on site, from 6 to 29 January 2020
WHERE ? Martinique or the island of flowers in the French West Indies
TIME ZONE: -6h in summer / -5h in winter
GETTINGAROUND: We advise you to rent a car to be free to move around. Car rental companies are available at Fort de France airport. You can also contactHabitation Desrosiers (our accommodation in the South, they offer Nissan Micra cars for rent). Good to know: the price of petrol is fixed on the island, all the stations have the same price.
WHY GO THERE? For the wild jungle at the foot of Mount Pelée, the heavenly beaches of the south coast, the agricultural rum distilleries... but above all for the welcome and kindness of its inhabitants!
ACCESSIBILITY: We were surprised by the accessibility of the island. There are PRM parking spaces in the towns, in front of the restaurants, near the beaches... So don't forget to take your parking card! Accessible toilets are also available in many restaurants, in town or on the beach. Access to the beaches is more difficult: despite the relatively hard sand and the often short distances between the beginning of the beach and the water, they are not supervised; no Tiralo or Hippocampe is therefore available. However, you can contact Noël de Martinique Access'Île to rent one and get more information on the most accessible beaches.
Find all our addresses on our Mapstr map!
As our world tour was stopped in April, we decided to take the time to discover our beautiful country. But France is not only Metropolitan France! It is also of course its overseas islands, of which Martinique is a part. Its restorative sunshine, deep blue waters and bewitching jungle are all elements that make Martinique the perfect destination to recharge our batteries!
We've put together a selection of the must-sees for you during your stay on the Isle of Flowers. Beaches, distilleries, excursions... It's all there! Are you ready to go?
The northern half of the island is certainly the wildest. The lush jungle is omnipresent and gives you new sensations. The black sandy beaches of volcanic origin have nothing to envy to those of the south: they are overhung by the majestic mount Pelée, which constantly reminds us of the power of nature.
In order to make the most of all these wonders, we have selected the most central base camp. The Le Carbet / Saint Pierre area is perfectly suited for this. We chose a suitable studio at Madi-Créoles.
Madi-créoles: One of their studios is accessible for people with reduced mobility. Rates: from 88€ per night. Accessibility: the studio is completely flat. There is a grab bar in the WC which is separate from the bathroom. In the shower, a shower chair can be lent to you on request.
The special feature of this accommodation is its access. The flats are above the main entrance and can only be accessed by stairs. It is therefore necessary to go around the building by the road (a few hundred meters) to reach the gate which will be reserved for you. The main disadvantage is the angle of the slope once you pass the gate. It is steep and help is needed in both directions. I can understand that this might scare some of you but be aware that this accommodation is one of the few accessible ones I could find in the North Caribbean part of the island. For other accommodation, don't hesitate to contact Noël from Martinique Access'Île (see practical information): he will be able to help you!
From the coast
Le Carbet / Saint Pierre
These two cities on the Caribbean coast each have their own charm and history.
Saint Pierre was wiped off the map of Martinique on 8 May 1902 when Mount Pelée erupted. The shock wave destroyed the town and its inhabitants (more than 20,000 at the time) in just a few minutes. The Franck Perret Museum retraces the events with the help of numerous objects recovered from the rubble, photos and survivors' accounts (fully accessible).
A little further on, the market comes alive every morning. Stalls selling fruit, vegetables and spices fill the air. Grab a few bananas to build up your strength, the small ones are the best! By mid-morning, the tuna fishermen return from the sea. The fish is cut up and sold on the spot.
Le Carbet is distinguished by its quietness. Between two houses, take a small street that leads you to the beach. The noise of the road fades away, the sound of the waves takes over. Take the ramp of the Wahoo Café and come face to face with the beach and a breathtaking sunset! This is one of our favourite places to see it!
La Belle Vue: This snack bar, located just behind the market in Saint Pierre, serves freshly prepared dishes. The atmosphere is cheerful and the number of Martinican guests on weekends reflects the authenticity of the food, all home-made. Prices: between 10 and 20€ per dish. Accessibility: located on the quay facing the sea, there are a few stones and a bit of sand to get to the tables but nothing too troublesome. No toilets on site.
Villa Saint Pierre: The hotel's restaurant serves you directly on the seafront terrace. Accras, black pudding and grilled balaous are on the menu! Prices: from €15 per dish. Accessibility: only the terrace is wheelchair accessible (stairs to the restaurant).
Wahoo Café: The perfect place for sunset! Prices: from €10. Accessibility: fully accessible (including WC) thanks to a ramp leading to the terrace.
Franck Perret Museum: Discover the history of the 1902 eruption through testimonies and objects found on site. Price: 8€ per person. Accessibility: All rooms are accessible. There are 3 wheelchair spaces around the building.
Boat trips with Olivier, known as Toch, are taken from Le Carbet. Go in search of dolphins and other cetaceans (the whale season starts in February)! He knows the island and the best spots to observe the animals.
We were lucky enough to organise a sea trip with him from the Pointe du Bout, next to Les Trois Ilets. We left at 7am to be among the first at Anse Noire, the only black sand beach on the south coast. A turtle was even there to welcome us!
Do not hesitate to contact him to organise a tailor-made outing and avoid the crowds!
Opening hours: 8am - 6pm
Prices: from €60
Accessibility: His boat does not meet accessibility standards but Toch is there to help you get on the boat from the pontoon. He also helps you to get back on the boat after the swim stop. If you don't want to stay in your wheelchair, you should bring a gel cushion to sit on the boat.
Website: Captain Toch - Telephone: 0696 34 08 88
Cove and house Ceron
North of Saint Pierre, a single road leads to the colourful village of Le Prêcheur. Only a few kilometres away,Anse Céron stands out through the trees. Once parked (a reserved space), a concrete picnic area is accessible at the end of the beach. For those of you with a third wheel, weave your way through the roots and coconuts to put the wheels in the sand! The often quiet black sand beach is the perfect setting to watch the yellow crabs run at full speed.
Bonus: the light is magnificent at sunset!
Not far from there, theCéron dwelling houses two wonders:
- A gastronomic restaurant that will delight many of you. The dishes are prepared with products directly from the house, such as crayfish from the river or cocoa from the cocoa farm! A mixture of flavours that we will not forget!
- A remarkable garden that lives up to its name! Pass the ruins of the old sugar mill, brave the stumps, roots and rocks to find yourself face to face with a more than three hundred year old Zamana tree (we warn you, access to the tree requires a significant effort and help)! Its twisted and imposing branches are each the size of a trunk. An inexplicable feeling of protection envelops you once under its foliage.
Back on the main road, take the somewhat chaotic road to the car park atAnse Couleuvre. If you get there early enough you may be lucky enough to park at the very end, otherwise you will have to park along the road. The path to the beach is not really wheelchair friendly and we had to turn back. If you still want to try it, you need to be accompanied by brave companions ready to carry you over the rocks and the riverbed below.
Times: 9.30am - 5pm (allow 3 hours if you have lunch on site)
Prices: 8€/person for the visit of the garden. For the meal, two menus are proposed: starter, main course, dessert for 39€, blind tasting in 6 courses for 79€. Entrance to the garden is free if you have lunch there. Remember to book, there is not much room.
Accessibility: The restaurant is easily accessible: ask the staff to move the cart positioned in front of the flat entrance to get there. The toilets are equipped. The garden is very difficult to access. You need to be well equipped (cross wheels, 3rd wheel) and well accompanied. There are many rocks and roots. The Zamana is at the end of the garden and a part of the path is on tree stumps.
Website : Habitation Céron
At the northern tip of the island, this village must be earned! To get there, take the winding road from Macouba. At the bend in the road, you will come across a splendid bridge spanning the jungle. At the end of the road, the fishing port is surrounded on all sides. On one side, the dyke protects it from the onslaught of the ocean waves. On the other, the jungle-covered volcanic cliffs plunge into the water.
A 6-hour hike through the jungle links Grand'Rivière to Anse Couleuvre. Endemic plants and animals are there! Ask a fisherman to take you directly to the cove and hike back (clearly not wheelchair accessible).
This peninsula on the Atlantic coast was the first land to emerge in Martinique when it was formed. Once past the village of Tartane, nature takes over. Several paths allow you to discover theunique ecosystem that has developed over several million years. Because of their difficulty, we could not do them all but we give you the main ones not to be missed:
- The Caravelle lighthouse: The path climbs steadily upwards (stones, earth and gullies formed by the rains) for the first half. After that, the serious stuff starts. The slope (rough and concrete) steepens until you reach the foot of the lighthouse. Three sets of stairs then separate you from the summit. For a moment, we are very disappointed when we arrive at the foot of the stairs... This is without counting on the help of a few people who don't want to see me stop so close to the goal! A few sporty minutes later, we are at the top, around the orientation table, facing a 360° view... We are speechless!
- The Baie du Trésor trail: In a few minutes, you can reach the wooden footbridges in the middle of the mangrove. Unfortunately, access is impossible for wheelchairs (steep steps at the beginning of the path).
- Dubuc Castle: An audio tour takes you through the ruins of this sugar house.
- You can also walk almost the entire length of the peninsula. It takes about 3.5 hours to do the whole trail (including the ones indicated above).
Accessibility: On foot, 30 to 45 minutes. By wheelchair, 1 hour to 1h30. To park, the main car park is located at the beginning of the path. Two disabled parking spaces are also available at the entrance to the castle. You then have to go up a fairly steep slope for 500 metres.
Treasure Bay Trail
Accessibility : Unfortunately, access is not possible by wheelchair.
Timetable: 9am - 4.30pm
Prices: 5€/adult - 2€ for children
Accessibility: The visit is not wheelchair accessible (stairs at the entrance)
The north of the island can also be discovered by road! Whichever road you take, you are simply caught up in the omnipresent nature. The plants do not have the same dimensions as in metropolitan France and the regular grains constantly feed the growth of a dense and enveloping jungle.
The Pitons du Carbet are not wheelchair accessible, but just being at their foot for a moment makes you aware of the power of nature (access by car).
On the road linking Morne Rouge to Fort-de-France, the Domaine d'Émeraude offers several trails in the heart of the forest. Despite all our good will, the access is not easy (slippery steps). To avoid any risk of injury, we prefer to turn back. We meet Nicolas at this moment. A former fireman, he volunteers to accompany us for a few hundred metres so that we can discover what he calls the silence of the forest. Myriam and Nicolas throw themselves body and soul into a balancing act to carry me up the wet and slippery steps. After their efforts, Nicolas puts his hands on a tree. In a few seconds, the magic happens: the leaves stop moving, the birds fall silent... The feeling of being one with the trees and the animals around us overwhelms us.
Beyond the forest, the garden offers a pleasant walk along concrete but steep paths.
When you emerge from the forest, stop at the Exploration Pavilion to learn more about the plants you encounter along the way.
Saut du Gendarme waterfall
Not far from the main road, the Saut du Gendarme awaits you. Go down the wooden staircase, past some rocks and discover this waterfall. The small pool of cool water formed is perfect for bringing down the heat. Even though it is not wheelchair accessible, you can listen to the thud of the waterfall from the parking area.
This botanical garden, created by Jean-Philippe Thoze in 1982, allows to discover step by step the endemic flora of Martinique. The nickname of "the island of flowers" takes all its meaning here! We particularly appreciated the view on the valley with these long palm trees.
Opening hours: 9am - 5.30pm (last entry at 4pm). It is possible to eat at the restaurant La Luciole.
Prices: 14€/adult - 8€ for 3/12 years old
Accessibility: The garden is easilyaccessible viaa concretepath . Some sections are a little steep and assistance may be required. A small electric wheelchair is available for visitors with reduced mobility, please call ahead to check availability.
Website : www.jardindebalata.fr
If you want to eat in the middle of all this vegetation, we recommend you go to Morne Rouge. We were recommended Le Bambou and La Chaudière. Due to a lack of space in the latter, we enjoyed some good local food at Le Bambou.
La Chaudière: We'll be sure to go there on our next visit! Prices: from 10€ for dishes and menus. Closed on Wednesdays, remember to book. Accessibility: The whole restaurant is accessible and there is a place for disabled people right in front of it.
Le Bambou: The restaurant's large dining room offers you a choice of seating. The service is fast, good quality and you eat well! Prices: about €25 for a single menu on Sundays. Accessibility: The whole restaurant is accessible (including the WC) and there is a place for disabled people right in front of it.
After Fort de France, the landscape changes completely: the vegetation diminishes and gives way to fields of bananas and sugar cane while the paradisiacal beaches appear.
Just as in the North, we prefer comfortable accommodation close to everything. Our choice isAnse à l'Âne andHabitation Desrosiers.
Habitation Desrosiers: Sandrine and Cyril welcome you just below their home in one of their five flats. The view over the bay of Fort de France is incredible! Little extra: the first breakfast is offered and a bottle of home-made planteur is waiting for you in the fridge! Rates: from 120€ per night for the PMR studio. The two-room flats start at 910€ (7 nights minimum). Accessibility: The studio has an Italian shower with a grab bar. Do not hesitate to discuss this with Cyril and Sandrine, they will do their best to make you feel comfortable during your stay.
History, Gastronomy and Traditions
If your schedule permits, take a morning stroll through the streets of Fort-de-France. Go to the covered market, one of the most typical on the island. The smell of spices will fill your nostrils even before you enter! This is where you can find all kinds of spices, fruits, vegetables and rum. Take the opportunity to try one of the two restaurants in the main hall.
Numerous buildings line the Savane Park, including the Schoelcher Library, which is well worth a visit. On the other side of the park, Fort Saint Louis stands out, encroaching on the bay.
The Slave Savannah
The Savane des Esclaves was created on the initiative of Gilbert Larose. After several years of development, it is now possible to discover thehistory of Martinique in the heart of a lush garden. The path is lined with explanatory panels on the different periods. Start at Rue Case Nègre with the reconstruction of the slave huts, then at the top of the park you will find the dwellings of the Caribbean Indians, the island's first inhabitants.
Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (closes at 1pm on Sundays). We advise you to come in the morning or at the end of the day to avoid the heat.
Prices: 12€/adult - 8€ for young people and PRM - 5€ for 3/12 years old
Accessibility: A concretepath leads to the site. The slopes are generally steep and some sections particularly steep: help may be needed.
Website : www.lasavanedesesclaves.fr
Traditional cooking courses
Martinique is not only about the beach or the jungle, it is also about a particular gastronomy. The traditional dishes are numerous: accras, boudins, chicken coco, blanc manger coco and many others! During our stay we wanted to learn how to cook one of them. Our hosts at Habitation Desrosiers gave us the opportunity to meet Nadia and Carlis from Délys Kréyol, two incredible Martiniqueans! We were given a private lesson (they only offer it exceptionally but their restaurant is worth knowing) to learn how to prepare accras with glycéria (a flower close to the wisteria) and titiri (a local fish)! In two hours, we did the preparation, did the cooking tests (it is always important to test to check the balance of flavours) and tasted our accras! We didn't leave empty-handed because to perfect our training, they gave us some of our preparations to make again at home!
This meeting, like many others, marked our stay. This exchange allowed us to learn more about the culinary customs of the island throughout the year.
It is also possible to take part in a culinary workshop with Tatie Maryse. She has become a reference in this field on the island!
In the memory of the Martiniquais, fishing has always been practiced on the island. Fish and shellfish are plentiful on both the Caribbean and Atlantic sides.
We discover with Georgie one of the traditional techniques: fishing with traps. He is based in Le François and every 10 days he goes out in search of his traps. For more than 30 years, he has been sailing these crystal clear waters. He knows every seagrass bed, every white bottom like the back of his hand. He doesn't need a landmark, he knows where each trap is. At each stop, he looks for them with his eyes. He throws his grappling hook, if nothing catches on it, he arms himself with his mask and snorkel to dive. The current, sometimes powerful, moves the traps a few metres and he redoubles his efforts to get them on board. Noam, his second-in-command, retrieves the fish and shellfish, taking care to release the youngest ones. Before putting the trap back in the water, he places a few pieces of coconut that will serve as natural bait for the next fish.
This sea trip has a considerable advantage. In addition to discovering a trade, you have the opportunity to bathe in Josephine's Bathtub before the arrival of the other excursion ships. You are therefore alone, accompanied by a homemade rum (8 am may seem a bit early, but we don't force anyone), on one of the most famous white bottoms of Martinique, a few meters from the coral reef. A dream come true!
Back at the harbour, to finish in beauty, Georgie prepares a grill of freshly caught fish. A real treat!
Excursions What do you say?
Contact: 0696 39 98 12 / 0696 07 89 70
Instagram : qtd972excursions
Accessibility: Georgie and his crew will help you get off the boat, which is large enough for you to stay in your manual wheelchair during the trip. For the swim stop, he will be the first to put you in the water!
Diving and marine excursions
Martinique Diving Area
Based at Pointe du Bout, Espace Plongée Martinique is a well known diving centre. Walter and his team are attentive to the needs of each participant and take into account their level of experience. Thanks to their location, they can choose the most appropriate dive site in the morning, depending on the weather.
Not having any levels yet, we did two baptisms during our stay. Each trip has its share of surprises: dozens of fish, an octopus, a lion fish, moray eels, or even a turtle for the luckiest ones! The seabed is full of coral wonders that will fill your eyes. Besides the marine diversity, the other advantage of diving in Martinique is the water temperature. It is the same on the surface and in the depths... About 27 degrees.
For those of you who have their PADI, opt for a trip to Le Diamant and cross a fault line under the rock!
Each outing ends with a glass of planter on the way back, ideal!
Opening hours: 8.30am - 6pm
Prices: 60€ for a baptism - see website for other prices
Accessibility: The current location is not wheelchair accessible, but the team will do its best to accommodate you. A new accessible area at the edge of the marina is under construction. They have two boats: one is adapted for PRM to get in and out of the water, the other one is not but it's all the same with the help of the monitors. The size of the boats allows you to stay in your chair during the journey.
Website : www.espaceplongee-martinique.com
Embark with Laurent in search of dolphins. You will sail along the coast from Saint Pierre to Anse Dufour to see them and by chance, depending on the season, you may see sperm whales and even whales!
We then drop anchor at Anse Dufour for a swim. Arm yourself with your mask and snorkel and you may see a turtle!
Opening hours: 8am-12pm or 1pm-5pm
Prices: 55€/adult - 35€ from 3 to 10 years old - 15€ up to 3 years old
Accessibility: The boat is boarded from the Anse à l'Ane pontoon. Even with Laurent's help, a person with a disability needs to have good mobility to get down onto the pontoon and then slip into the boat. Once inside, a central seat is available to settle down (bring a gel cushion).
Website : www.planetedauphins.com
From Pointe Chaudière, Marc will take you to discover the white sea bed and its ecosystem. Aboard your transparent pirogue, observe the evolution of the underwater vegetation after each paddle stroke. At each stop, Marc explains what is going on both under and above the water. He then takes us to a white bottom to enjoy a Creole aperitif and his homemade planter. With the current, the return to the bank is much more sportive. Don't worry, it is possible to be towed by Marc's boat if needed!
Timetable: 9.30am - 12.30pm with snack and planter. Due to the health crisis, Marc does not currently offer a day trip with lunch.
Prices: 35€/person for half a day - 60€ for a full day
Accessibility: At the end of the Pointe Chaudière road, a small boat ramp allows you to get as close to the water as possible. Help is then needed to get into the boat. Marc has a green kayak that is more stable than the fully transparent canoe (rest assured, it also has a transparent bottom). Remember to check your back and buttocks to avoid injury.
Website : Fleur d'O
Kayak Nature Évasion
In the heart of the Vatable forest a pontoon appears, several kayaks are waiting for you. Follow the guide along the bank to reach the Vatable river. This is where you can go into the mangrove. A mangrove is when fresh water and salt water meet to form brackish water. The emblematic tree of this ecosystem is the mangrove tree, which can be found here in red, black or white. Keep an eye out for dozens of small yellow crabs scuttling along the roots in search of food! At each stop, your guide will tell you more about the importance of this ecosystem and its role in preserving the coastline.
Back at the dock, a snack of planter and brioche will help you recover from your efforts!
For those who wish to extend the walk, the Vatable forest is entirely wheelchair friendly.
Times: 8.30am - 4pm (last departure at 2pm)
Prices : Self-guided tour: 20€/adult - 10€ for children under 12 - 5€ for children under 5 / Guided tour: 25€/person
Accessibility: There are four steps to the start of the walk. You then need help to get to the water and the kayak. It has a good, comfortable backrest but once you're in, remember to check your support (and bring a gel cushion for the seat).
Website : www.kayak-nature-evasion.com
Martinique is beautiful from the ground, but if I tell you that it is even more beautiful from the air, do you believe me?
Sophie has been flying an autogyro, the ancestor of the helicopter, for just over 3 years now. Climb behind her in an open-air cockpit, take off from the main runway of Fort-de-France airport and there you go... you're in the air above the turquoise waters! The discovery flight takes you to Anse à l'âne via Pointe du Bout. In a few minutes, you will discover colours that have no equal. This is clearly one of our favourite activities in Martinique!
Sophie also offers other longer flights, notably to Les Salines.
Schedules & fees: Contact Sophie on 0696 90 40 25 for more information
Accessibility: I was the first person in a wheelchair to try out his gyrocopter and it went very well! You need a hand to climb into the machine but the seat is quite low, which makes it relatively easy to access. Sophie is very attentive and ready to help you if needed!
Website : www.aerodream.fr
Our favourite beaches
Anse à l'Âne
This cove is located just below the Habitation Desrosiers. It's the perfect place to put your feet in the water after a day of hiking... And enjoy a planteur and some accras.
From here you can take the shuttle to Fort-de-France. The pontoon is easily accessible and they will be happy to help you get on the boat.
Accessibility: A car park with 3 accessible spaces is available right in front of the house. A concretepath provides easy access to the beach. The sand is very hard and flat and makes it easy to get to the sea and the various restaurants.
Vedette Tropicale: The ATM is located in the car park. Fares: €5 one way, €7 return. Accessibility: You will be helped to get on board. Toilets available on board (closed during the COVID period).
Kréol Kfé : One of the best restaurants on the beach and a great planteur! Opening hours: Monday to Thursday until sunset, lunchtime cooking only. Friday to Sunday: open kitchen in the evening. Prices: From 6€. Accessibility: The toilets are accessible but you will certainly need help to get up the steps to the covered terrace (a ramp is under construction).
Pignon Nouvelle Vague: Less friendly, a little more expensive but a great place to enjoy a freshly caught lobster. Accessibility: ramp at the entrance and accessible toilets.
Kaza Glass: A decent restaurant. Opening hours: daily, lunch and dinner. Prices: from €6. Accessibility: The toilets are not accessible.
Anse Noire and Anse Dufour
These two handles are unique. We are overwhelmed by their beauty! They are separated by a few hundred metres by Dufour Point and yet they are so different.
Anse Noire owes its name to its black sand, which comes from an underwater volcanic rise. Protected by a thick jungle, its setting is idyllic: a pontoon, coconut trees and turquoise water like we have rarely seen. More quietly, you can sometimes see turtles near the pontoon!
Anse Dufour is white sand. It is the perfect place to see turtles! They love the grass beds around the beach. When you arrive, look for a group of swimmers, a turtle should probably be just below!
From Anse à l'Âne, follow the signs "Anses d'Arlet". Between two bends, Anse Dufour will be indicated. To get the most out of it, we advise you to go there as part of a boat trip with Captain Toch for example. You will have the possibility to go there early in the morning. We were there at 7:30 am and the beach was empty!
Accessibility: At Anse Dufour, a concretepath leads to the sand. Anse Noire can be reached on foot from the car park of Anse Dufour... A staircase of more than 100 steps awaits you! Definitely better to access it by the sea for us...
Les Anses d'Arlet
There are three of them: Grande Anse, Anse d'Arlet and Petite Anse.
Grande Anse is a huge white sand beach with several restaurants. Ti Sable was highly recommended for lunch. We advise you to avoid going there on weekends, it is often crowded!
Anse d'Arlet, this small village known for its church in the extension of the pier is one of the most beautiful we saw during our stay. A few meters away, an incredible snorkeling spot allows you to see dozens of fish species!
On the road to Le Diamant, we advise you to get up early to find a parking space in Grande Anse. Enter the address of the Ti Sable restaurant in your GPS to be a little out of the way. You should have better luck on that side of the beach.
For Anse d'Arlet, there are two PMR spaces just in front of thechurch and two more at the nautical centre. If they are not available, a large (free) car park is located at the entrance to the village.
Accessibility: Access to the beach is easier at Anse d'Arlet with the promenade directly on the sand. The water is then not far away.
On the road to Le Diamant, at the foot of Morne Larcher, take the time to discover two historical sites linked to the history of Martinique.
- Cape 110 commemorates the sinking of a ship in the early 19th century with Africans on board for slavery.
- The convict's house, built by a former convict in Guyana.
Continue towards the village of Le Diamant. The beach faces the unruffled rock. The waves are more powerful than in Anses d'Arlet, so be careful of the current if you go swimming!
The Grande Anse des Salines and Anse Moustique
The Grande Anse des Salines is certainly the most famous beach in Martinique! Coconut trees, fine sand, turquoise water... Everything is there for the perfect postcard! Come at sunset, you won't be disappointed!
Anse Moustique combines paradise with a certain wildness. In the middle of the day, the sweltering heat drives holidaymakers to hide under the trees, giving the impression of being alone.
On the way to Anse Moustique, stop at Chez Sylviane et Coco for a poulet boucané to go. Enjoy it on the beach and once you're full, wait for the ice cream lady to ring her bell to show up. Choose from the different flavours: coconut, peanut (incredible!) and fall to the ground with pleasure!
Grande Anse des Salines
Accessibility: Access is fairly easy from the parking spaces.
Accessibility: The access road is chaotic, but if you get there early enough, you may be able to park in the PRM space right next to the main access to the beach. If not, be patient as you drive through the rocks to reach the beach. A third wheel is highly recommended.
Right next to Sainte Anne, this beach is almost hidden. The first parking area gives access to a spit of hard sand. It is possible to sit in the shade of the trees so as not to blush like a crayfish. You can also go to the very end of the road. Park and walk down to the beach. Be careful, the slope is steep for wheelchairs. A few metres further on, there is a swing in the turquoise water!
This is where the Trace des Caps trail begins. You can then go from cove to cove to Petit Macabou, 27 km away, passing through Les Salines and Anse Michel!
Accessibility: This is not an easily accessible beach for wheelchairs but with a little help it is possible. To avoid the slope at the end of the road, you can reach this part of the beach via the water. The path is fast and the water is warm all the way!
Paille Coco : On the port of Sainte-Anne, this restaurant offers good local dishes and fresh fish. Prices: Starters from 6€, main courses from 15€. Accessibility: The terrace is easily accessible by wheelchair. The toilets are not equipped but the door is wide enough and there is enough space inside.
On the Atlantic side, we found a heavenly beach: Anse Michel. Right next to the îlet Chevalet, this beach is the landmark of kite-surfers! The waves break in the distance and break on the coral reef. A spectacle that will amaze many!
Accessibility: Follow the signs for Anse Michel. At the last intersection, follow the sign for accessible spaces (to the left). Once at the end of the roadTurn right towards the restaurant, where there are two accessible spaces. Accessible toilets and a picnic table are available. If you can, go to the side or under the barrier to access the beach. The other option is to go to the main car park but we did not test the beach access from this side.
Bonus (the last one) :
Jean-Alphonse Christian has launched a new kind of initiative to highlight the beauty of Martinique. He has built, in new spots, swings, a nest... Check their instagram account not to miss the next installations!
We let you go and see for yourself, it's worth the diversions:
- Anse Caritan : A swing with your feet in the water awaits you
- Anse Michel : A nest overlooking the beach with a breathtaking view of the ocean
- Le Marin : Just before arriving in Le Marin from Anse Figuier, two swings for children face the bay
- Les Salines: A swing hangs from a palm tree. We'll let you look for it, we haven't found it!
One cannot talk about Martinique without talking about its rum. We are talking about agricultural rum made from the crushing and pressing of sugar cane, as opposed to industrial rum made from molasses (a mixture made from the refining of sugar extracted from sugar cane). In 1996, agricultural rum obtained the only AOC in an overseas department. The production period lasts about 6 months between the end of January and the end of July. The rest of the year is dedicated to the maintenance of the machines for the next production. The distilleries remain open during production.
There are many distilleries on the island. We visited three of them.
Distillery La Favorite
Since 1905 the Dormoy family has been at the helm of this distillery. They perpetuate the Martinique tradition of hand-cutting the sugar cane to preserve its goodness until it is crushed in the mills. La Favorite is the last distillery to work with a steam machine self-powered by the residues (bagasse) of sugar cane. One of their most famous bottles is La Flibuste. The rum is aged for 25 years in oak barrels that have previously been used for cognac. New aromas are added until it reaches hints of vanilla, no less!
We were lucky enough to be accompanied on the tour by Franck Dormoy, the current production manager. During the visit, he shared with us his passion for this exceptional profession.
At La Favorite, the tradition does not stop there! For the past 4 years, at the end of January, they have been shipping barrels of rum on the sailing boat Tres Hombres of the Frères de la Côte company. The barrels are rolled onto the beach and then swam to the boat where they are reassembled by hand. During 6 months, the ageing of the rum in the hold of the ship becomes dynamic. Its taste is then unique!
The Habitation Clément is not only known for its rum, but also for its garden. Here, sculptures by local and international artists can be seen around the old distillery and the ageing cellars. On the heights of the estate, the main house is located, allowing you to better visualise the extent of this dwelling.
Opening hours: 9am - 5.30pm (last entry at 4pm)
Prices: 13€/adult - 6€ for PRM and accompanying persons
Accessibility: The garden is almost entirely accessible (concrete path, short grass cut) despite the sometimes steep slopes . The Creole part is less easy to access (path of stones and roots quite steep). The shop is not at all accessible (several steps) but the employees told us they could help if needed.
Website : habitation.fondation-clement.org
Not far from Grand'Rivière, the JM distillery is hidden in the middle of sugar cane fields. Once there, the bright red of its tin roof contrasts with the green of the surrounding vegetation. In full production during our visit, we watch with interest the sugar cane being crushed in the mills.
The visit focuses on the olfactory side of rum production. A garden gives a first idea of the floral notes that can be found in rum. A small olfactory laboratory is then proposed to make your nose work. Smell each old rum and try to find the notes of cinnamon, vanilla... All that's left to do is to taste it!
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am-4.30pm; Saturday 9am-2pm. Closed on Sunday.
Rates: free visit.
Accessibility: The factory and the garden are unfortunately only accessible by steps. The cellar, the olfactory experience and the tasting are accessible and adapted toilets are available on site.
Website : https://www.rhum-jm.com/fr/
How to conclude... A few days after our arrival, we were already conquered by the Island of Flowers, so imagine after three weeks! We were only supposed to stay 15 days initially but we couldn't resist the idea of extending our stay by a week to discover more about the life of the Martiniquais. Each day had its own set of discoveries whether it was in the heart of the jungle in the North or on one of the paradisiacal beaches in the South.
We thought Martinique was only for experienced hikers, but we were surprised by all the activities available in the four corners of the island! We could count on the kindness of its inhabitants always ready to help us to realize our adventures.
We already know that we will be back!