If you’re daydreaming of surf, tropical sunsets and diversity in beautiful terrains, then you may want to consider the French Caribbean if you haven’t already.
The West Indie island combines the sanctity of seclusion with warmth and a thrilling energy, bringing a true getaway feeling to this hidden haven. The history of this sanctuary itself is enough to make you want to explore every inch of land – and sand. Find lush gardens throughout rainforests that extend through mountains surrounding the isle or experience the remains of Mt. Pelee’s volcanic eruption that took place nearly a century ago in what was once the main city of Martinique. The mysterious ambiance in the air is nourishing to the adventurous soul and provides a truly tranquil habitat for those looking to escape and relax.
En-Route | Travel Tips
No matter the number of miles you cross getting there, everyone deserves a stress-free vacation, and the portion spent traveling can have a huge impact on the beginning or end of your trip. To ensure no bumps in the road, plan ahead when it comes to seasonal weather, and converting currencies. Martinique’s main currency is the Euro, which means you’re going to have a difficult time finding someone to accept a US Dollar or UK Pound. ATM’s can be found throughout the island to withdraw money from wherever home is, to a Euro, but it’s a better idea to stop at the exchange office when you arrive at an airport in France. Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly serve as international bases and the two most popular, largest airports in France, but you’ll be able to find plenty of smaller airports to fit your convenience.
For the bold and brave, there are hikes around every corner, even to the top of Mt. Pelee if you’re up for an early rise. See Saint-Pierre from new heights with clear sight, the 2-kilometer trail hike leads to a spectacular view that is worth the work. There’s nothing like walking up a volcano to remind you of the power behind mother nature, exhilarating and humbling.
The historic Diamond Rock serves as another landmark in the history of Martinique. Le Diamant holds the stories of British soldiers being dropped on top of the volcanic mount back in 1804, while the physical rock is one of the best dive spots you can find on the island. Included in the mix of intriguing and electrifying activities, you’ll find some of the best waves for surfing. Whether you are experienced and can handle rocky reefs, or you’re stepping foot on a board for the first time, Martinique draws in waves for both beginners and pros – depending on the location.
Surfing in Martinique
Basse Pointe is an all around favorite filled with plenty of quality waves for beginners and intermediate surfers. The quality of the waves are consistent and continue to create an atmosphere that let’s experienced surfers have fun too. Other spots worth checking: Grand Rivière Slab, Anse Couleuvre, Anse Charpentier right
Best Bet to Score Surf: Winter – Early Spring
Just south of Basse-Pointe lies La Lorrain. This is a mellow beach made for beginners, no crowds and no need for experience. The waves reach about 3-4 feet and under primary swell can reach 9ft. Beachbreak is about all you will have to worry about underneath your board. If you haven’t met your match in open waters, Ask for Cocoa, near Tartan, and Pelle à Tarte, where you’ll discover powerful A-frame peaks for the brave. Cocoa has an aggressive edge with swells from 4-9 ft on average with only sand beneath you. Pelle, a Tarte’s waves are much more shallow and powerful reaching heights of 10ft but averaging 6ft.
Take your pick from some of the most luminous beaches your toes could sink into. Martinique’s coastline offers more than 15 different beaches, all providing a different taste in culture, activities, and sand. Idle hours and family time are best spent lounging and frolicking by the shores of Les Salines. White sands stretch one km to the most southern tip of the island, and coconut palms arch just far enough to keep you cool in the shade. Hidden coves abundant with palm fringes can be found in the heavenly borders of Saint-Anne, while snorkeling and scuba diving awaits you off the banks of Anse.
Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago
Geographic coordinates: 14° 24′ N, 61° 0′ W
Coastline km: 350 km km
Climate: tropical; moderated by trade winds; rainy season (June to October); vulnerable to devastating cyclones (hurricanes) every eight years on average; average temperature 17.3 degrees C; humid
Terrain: the island is dominated by Mount Pelee, which on 8 May 1902 erupted and completely destroyed the city of Saint Pierre, killing 30,000 inhabitants
Elevation: highest point: Montagne Pelee 1,397 m
Natural hazards: hurricanes, flooding, and volcanic activity (an average of one major natural disaster every five years)
Currency: euro (EUR)
Population: 429,510 (July 2004 est.)
Languages: French, Creole patois
Divisions: none (overseas department of France)