If you’ve ever wondered where you could enjoy the best parts of French culture and cuisine under the sunshine and palm trees, Martinique may be the answer. Just a few hours’ flight from New York City is Martinique, a little bit of France in the Caribbean. You’ll be whisked away by gorgeous views, white and black sand beaches, and tropical rainforests–all punctuated by French dining and Creole cuisine.
Martinique is an island that’s rich in culture and diversity, busy with marine and wildlife, and blossoming with colourful flora–they don’t call it the Isle of Flowers for nothing! Whether you’re an adventurous explorer or a culture and history buff, you’ll find one of these Martinique tours to your liking.
FROM: €74/per person
The north of Martinique is known as the island’s wild and rugged region, famous for being the home of the third deadliest volcanic eruption in recorded history. The Authentic North tour of Martinique is an excellent opportunity to get inside tips from a local on an introduction to the island. The tour will take you to a rum distillery where you’ll discover the secret that allows Martinican rhum to be designated an Apellation d’Origine Controlée–the same status and regional protection as French wine. From there, you’ll relax on a black sand beach in the foothills of Mont Pelée, where you may get a chance to see starfish and sea turtles! Next is a walk around Saint-Pierre, once known as the Little Paris of the Antilles, a place where artists and intellectuals like Paul Gauguin and Aimé Césaire were inspired. You’ll drive through the Trace road through the rainforest to the Montmartre Church of Balata – a replica of the Sacré Coeur Basilica in Paris with a view over the island’s capital.
From €36/ per person
Take the guesswork out of visiting Martinique’s dozen islets with this guided kayak trip from Le Robert. You’ll take your kayak from the coast of the mainland to discover the marine and wildlife in their natural habitat. A stop at Ilet Chancel, the largest of Martinique’s islets, provides the chance to see ruins of an old sugar plantation and Lesser Antilles iguanas–one of the last reserves of these protected Caribbean reptiles. From there, you’ll paddle over to the Fond Blancs, also known as Josephine’s Bath. The shallow sand banks in the middle of the sea are clear blue and rumoured to be where Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife, Josephine, onced bathed. Here you’ll enjoy an introduction to planteur (rum punch) and accras (cod fish fritters).
From €90/ per person
Learn to make Martinique’s signature Creole dishes during a cooking class in the garden of La Mauny Distillery in Riviere-Pilote. You’ll enjoy a lunch and tour of the distillery with rhum tasting and a trip to one of the best beaches in Martinique. In typical French dining fashion, you’ll learn to make an appetizer, main course, and dessert–all a mélange of the cultures and flavours that inspire Martinican cuisine. Enjoy the fruits of your labour during a collective meal with friends in the garden surrounded by palm trees and local birds. From there, you’ll take a refreshing dip at the nearby white sand beach of Anse Figuier, surrounded by it’s tall, imposing palm trees.
From €37/ per person
This is perhaps one of the most unique tours in Martinique–on an island where people will tell you ‘Il faut connaître des gens’ to get things done, it’s doubtful many Martinicans would know how to bring friends on a yole boat! The annual Tour des Yoles, a yawl boat regatta race around the island, is one of the hottest events on Martinique’s festival calendar. Getting on a boat and learning to sail would be an unforgettable souvenir. The group starts in Sainte-Luce on the Caribbean coast of the island. You’ll get out, do some sport, and learn something unique to the region with an expert guide.