Martinique is a picturesque French Caribbean island in the Lesser Antilles, located between Saint Lucia in the south and Dominica in the north. The island’s official languages are French, Creole and English. The temperature in Martinique is always perfect, with an average of 26 degrees Celsius. The terrain of the island is lush, green, and mountainous in the north, and there are hidden beach coves and craggy hills in the south.
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There are many reasons to visit Martinique, and I’ve compiled a list of the 10 best things to do in Martinique for many interests. It’s possible to chase waterfalls, go snorkeling, and attend a festival all in the same day. However, I suggest spending at least seven to ten days in Martinique for the complete experience. While Martinique is about the size of New York City, there are also 52 islets to discover, too!
Visit Martinique for Water Activities
For water sports enthusiasts, there are a ton of activities centered around Martinique’s crystal clear waters. It’s a great opportunity to take part in one of your favorite water activities or try a brand new one. Here are some ideas for water sports that you can do in Martinique:
- Snorkeling and scuba diving: There are two exceptional dive sites at the Natural Maritime Reserve of Le Precheur (Albert Falco Marine Reserve). There’s no shortage of snorkeling and dive sites all over Martinique with brilliant coral reefs, rainbow colored fish, and old shipwrecks to discover. Diving in Martinique is one main draw to visiting the island.
- Surfing, kiteboarding, and windsurfing: The north coast is perfect for surfing, and the south coast is ideal for windsurfing and kitesurfing.
- Kayaking: Go kayaking around the mangrove swamps or travel by small boat to numerous islets around Martinique.
- Swimming: There are so many gorgeous beaches where you can dip your toes in the water and take the plunge. The southern coast has picture perfect white sand beaches, and the north has silver and blue-gray volcanic sand.
- Sailing: You can take catamaran cruises, sailing tours, rent sailboats, or even charter a yacht in Martinique. It’s possible to observe wildlife like dolphins and sea turtles, too.
Best Things to Do in Martinique: The Beautiful Beaches
One main reason to travel to Martinique is for the magnificent beaches. There are so many incredible beaches in Martinique that it’s difficult to choose just one. You could easily plan an entire trip to Martinique around visiting several of its beautiful beaches. When you’re looking for places to visit in Martinique, here are the top beaches to check out:
- Les Salines Beach: Want a beach that looks straight from a postcard? White sands, turquoise waters, that’s exactly what you’ll get at Les Salines Beach. You’ll find Les Salines at the southern tip of the island.
- Anses d’Arlet: This pretty little beach in the south of Martinique is beside a long pier that faces towards a Roman Catholic Church. It’s at the edge of a small village, and there’s a long stretch of sandy beach. The waters are very calm and great for snorkeling, too.
- Grande Anse du Diamant: This beach is famous in Martinique for its views of Diamond Rock, an incredible dive site and cool rock formation in the middle of the sea. The beach is about 3km in length, so it’s popular among joggers and beach wanderers alike.
- Anse Couleuvre: For something a little different, head to Anse Couleuvre in the northern part of Martinique. There are black sands, rocky cliffs, and bigger waves. This beach has a wild appeal, and it’s great for both lounging in the sunshine and surfing.
Go Hiking on a Volcano or Nature Trails
Two thirds of Martinique are protected natural landscapes, which offer the perfect opportunity for hiking and exploring. There are 130 km of hiking trails through rainforests and beaches. You’ll also stumble upon gorges, waterfalls, and incredible scenery from the mountaintops.
For hikers and lovers of the great outdoors, a trip to Martinique isn’t complete without hiking up Mount Pelee. It’s one of the most deadly volcanoes in the world, last erupting in 1932. While there are multiple hiking trails around Mount Pelee, one of the most popular routes is the Aileron Route to the rim of the crater. You’ll encounter stairs, steep rocky surfaces, and clouds…yes, you’ll be able to hike through the clouds!
La Caravelle Nature Trails
On the Atlantic coast of the eastern side of the island, you’ll find the Caravelle Nature Trails. Walk along numerous paths through rocky coasts, vast grasslands, mangrove swamps and dry forests. You’ll also be meandering through the Caravelle Nature Reserve with many species of birds and wildlife. There are two loop trails at La Caravelle: one is 1 hour 30 minutes through the mangroves and the forests, and other is 3 hours and 30 minutes along the coastline.
Les Gorges de la Falaise
The Falaise Gorges are spectacular canyons and waterfalls in the middle of the jungle. You’ll have to take a guided, one hour long tour to experience Les Gorges de la Falaise. Descend down several flights of stairs into the gorge. You’ll be able to climb on rocks, swim in the natural pools and admire the waterfall. Be sure to wear your bathing suit and bring water shoes as this Martinique attraction can be a bit slippery.
Taste the Rum and the Ti Punch Cocktail
Did you know that Martinique is the Rum Capital of the World? There are 12 different brands of rum on this small island. Each brand of rum uses a specialized rum agricole method to produce truly unique and high quality blends. It’s possible to receive free rum tastings from all of the distilleries around the island. You can also book a rum tour that includes transportation.
Have you ever tried a Ti Punch? It’s a rum punch that’s popular in the French Caribbean made with white rhum agricole, lime, and cane syrup. A Ti Punch can only be made with rhum agricole, but other fruits can be substituted here and there.
Attend a Martinique Festival
Martinique is a hub for cultural events and festivals happening throughout the year. Here’s a brief calendar of events happening in Martinique so you can plan your travels accordingly.
- Martinique’s Carnival (Starts on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday): Take part in the biggest party in Martinique! There are parades with colorful costumes, floats, marching bands, music, and parties throughout the streets.
- Martinique Surf Pro (April): The Martinique Surf Pro is an international surf competition featuring top surfers from around the world.
- Tour de Martinique des Yoles Rondes (End of July): All week long, there are races aboard locally built yoles (yawls), traditional Martinique open water sailboats. It’s a really unique sport – take a look at this YouTube video to see all the action!
- International Cycling Tour of Martinique (July): The Tour de France of Martinique!
- Martinique Jazz Festival (November/December): It’s the Caribbean’s longest running jazz festival, featuring local and international artists.
- Rum Festival (December): A celebration at the Saint James Distillery that also celebrates the holiday season with crafts, Christmas carols, and concerts.
Learn About the Cultural Heritage & History
There’s so much interesting history to discover in Martinique. For instance, Mount Pelee erupted in 1902, completely destroying the town of Saint-Pierre and instantly killing its 30,000 residents within minutes (the Pompeii of the Caribbean). You can visit the Franck Perret Museum to learn more about the volcanic eruption and the former capital of Martinique, Saint-Pierre.
Martinique has a rich cultural heritage that can be discovered through the museums, music, and art around the island. There’s vibrant street art in Fort-de-France, as well as a multi-artist installation of totem poles in Saint-Pierre.
Discover Tropical Gardens
If you love blooming flowers and plants, head straight to one of Martinique’s gorgeous gardens. The Jardin de Balata is a tropical paradise in Fort-de-France with numerous walking paths alongside ponds and gardens. There’s a Japanese garden, a bamboo grove, palm trees, and many species of flowers.
Looking for more things to do in Fort de France? You could easily spend an entire day in this bustling port city. Aside from the Jardin de Balata, I recommend checking out the St. Louis Cathedral (an ornate church), Fort Saint Louis (for history buffs), and the Grande Marche (a huge market full of food, spices, clothing, arts and crafts, and more).
The Schoelcher Library is one of the top Martinique attractions. The library was built in France in 1889, and then dismantled and shipped to Martinique to be reassembled. Not only is the architecture quite stunning, but the Schoelcher Library features an impressive collection of books. It’s free and open to the public.
Spend the Day at Les Anses-d’Arlet
On the southern coast of Martinique, you’ll find a charming fishing village called Les Anses-d’Arlet. There are sandy beaches and clear, turquoise waters with places to snorkel right off the beach. Jump off the boardwalk and into the water for added excitement. The Big Cove (Grand Anse) is one of the best beaches in Martinique.
The village itself is quite picturesque and you won’t be able to put your camera down. The Church of St Henry of Les Anses-d’Arlet is one of the most photographed places in Martinique. Surrounding the church, there are numerous cute painted houses and buildings. There’s also a row of cafes and restaurants for beach goers.
Visit From a Cruise Ship
Justin and I have visited Fort-de-France, Martinique from a cruise ship. It’s a great way to get an introductory taste to the island for a handful of hours before you’re off to the next destination. While it doesn’t even come close to being enough time to truly experience Martinique, it’s better than nothing at all! You can book a cruise ship excursion for a tour of the island, experience one of the activities I’ve listed above, or simply wander around Fort-de-France.
Many cruise lines include Martinique as a Caribbean cruise port. Some of the cruise lines that sail to Martinique include Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruises, Princess Cruises, Aida, Star Clippers, Club Med, Compagnie du Ponant, MSC, Costa, Disney Cruises, TUI Cruises, and P&O Cruises.
Martinique Travel Map
Want to see Martinique attractions and sights visually represented on a map? Here’s a Martinique travel map to help you with your vacation planning.
|Essential Martinique Travel Guide|
|Getting There: If you’re looking for how to get to Martinique, there are numerous ways. First, there are flights to Martinique from many worldwide destinations. From Canada, Air Canada operates up to three non-stop weekly flights from Montreal throughout the year. In addition, Air Transat has two non-stop weekly flights from Montreal from November to March. Next, you can reach Marinique by a daily ferry service from Guadeloupe, Saint Lucia, and Dominica. It’s also possible to stop for the day in Martinique on an ocean cruise.|
Getting Around: It’s possible to rent a car in Martinique from several major car rental companies. Compare car rental prices in Martinique to get the best rate. You can also get around by taxis from the airport, Fort-de-France, and from major hotels. You can also sail around the island by boat.
Fast Facts: Euro is the currency. Power voltage is 220 V 60 Hz using Power Sockets C, D, and E.
SIM Cards & Mobile: You can rent a portable Wi-Fi device with unlimited data that works in 130+ countries worldwide. We’ve used our portable device all over the world and love how we’re always connected!
Travel Safety: Don’t forget to get travel insurance before your trip. Whether you have an accident, have a flight delay, experience a theft, or need to return home sooner than anticipated, it’s always best to cover your bases. Get a travel insurance quote now for the best rates.
|Browse all of our Caribbean photos and read more of our Martinique travel blog posts.|
If you hadn’t heard of Martinique before or never thought about traveling there, I hope that this beautiful island has a place on your bucket list. It’s certainly a dream destination with its stunning nature, fascinating history, and amazing events and festivals. Which one of these 10 best things to do in Martinique is your favorite of them all?
This post is brought to you by La Martinique.