Martinique is a French island in the Caribbean, just north of Trinidad and Tobago. The island itself ranges from black sandy beaches to rain-forests and rugged, mountainous interiors, all sloping upwards to Mount Pelee, a still-smoking volcano which last erupted in 1902, killing 30,000 people when it destroyed the city of Saint Pierre. The island is a paradise for lovers of food, hiking, diving, beaches, and everything Caribbean…albeit with a slightly French feel overlapping everything.
Because of the volcanic corruption over a century ago, the landscape surrounding Mount Pelee is simply teeming with undergrowth and wildlife, a testament to the mineral-rich bed left behind. The forests and mountains combine to create a hiker’s dream come true, and the island has become unofficially known as the “Isle of Flowers”, with dozens of botanical gardens tucked away in the hidden valleys which snake their way through the countryside. And moving down to the southern edge of the island, visitors will be amazed by the length of beaches with pristine diving conditions and fishing villages.
The island is separated into two halves, essentially. The northern section of the island is extremely rugged and mountainous, while the southern section is beaches and resorts. Visitors can start out in the capital of Fort-de-France and then make their way to Le Marin, the port city, or Sainte-Anne, home to the white beaches that are so popular with the tourists.
The food is a blend of Creole and French, which offers visitors a chance to experience a unique blend of cuisines that sets the mouth to watering, day or night. The island is accessible to all levels of travelers, regardless of their veteran status, although public transportation can be a bit tricky if you are coming here for the first time. Fares are extremely high, and hitchhiking is the preferred method for most backpackers, although beach-dwellers can simply rent their own car or pay a hefty fee to get where they need to go. French is the common language, although English is understood by some natives.