Martinique Winter Escape

If you’re looking to take advantage of Norwegian Airlines’s fare deals from New York to Martinique here are some tips and observations from my recent New Year’s Eve trip.

img_20190104_173241

TIPS

1. You’ll need a car.

There’s no Uber or Lyft, taxis are expensive and buses are hard to figure out schedule wise.

Driving in Martinique is similar to the US. They have more traffic circles and the roads along the coast are buttery smooth. If you’re staying in Fort De France at Hotel Simon, they have a partnership with a rental car company and will bring the car to the hotel and just add it to your hotel bill.

IMG_20190103_145144

 

2. White sand beaches are in the south on the island, black sand in the north.
If you’re looking for postcard perfect beaches with white sand the beaches at Sainte-Anne and Grand Salines are the place to go. They aren’t overrun with restaurants and hotels like Anse Mitan and Anse a l’ Ane.
The black sand beach at Carbet is a good option in the north to watch the sunset and try the food at Le Petitbonum, famous for its chef known as chef Hot Pants.

 

1180686
Saint-Anne

IMG_20190103_170041Carbet at Sunset

3. Make use of the ferries from Fort De France to southern beaches.
Remember they are on island time and sometimes leave earlier or later than scheduled.

 

IMG_20190104_075338
IMG_20190104_075329
IMG_20190104_075319
4. Try the Accras Morue/Cod Fish Fritters
You’ll see them on almost every menu and at roadside stands.
maxresdefault
5. Check out at least one Rhum distillery.
Habitation Clement also has a sculpture garden, modern art collection and restored house to explore. Admission is €13 and includes Rhum tasting.
IMG_20190103_122833
6. Bring lots of sunscreen. The sun is strong even when there is shade or clouds.
IMG_20190104_170415
7. Bring your own beach towel. The shops sell them for €15-25.
img_20190101_155217
8. If you want to stay in a charming beach town with restaurant options stay in Anse Mitan or Saint-Anne.

 

 

9. If you want to stay in a posh boutique hotel, Hotel Simon in Fort De France is a good option and you’ll be near the ferry terminal.
img_20190102_155007
img_20190103_084143
10. Lounge chairs on the beach are very affordable compared to places like Miami or St. Barts. Expect to pay €5-10 for the day.
IMG_20190101_113658.jpg

Things I’m happy I packed

  • Snorkel – If you’re planning to snorkel and have space its great to have your own setup.
  • Flip flops – you don’t really need fancy shoes here.
  • Travel Adapter – they use the two prong European sockets.
  • BPA Free Water Bottle – great for taking your cocktails to the beach.

Things I wish I packed

  • Hat – thought I would buy one there but the options were limited.
  • Beach towels – they are a bit pricey to buy at the souvenir shops.
  • Bug Spray – mosquitos are no joke.

Things to do besides chilling at the beach

If you’re looking to explore the island there are lots of things to get into and towns to visit. We were there for a week and couldn’t fit everything in.

  • Rhum Distilleries

img_20190103_113128_591

  • Cooking Classes

f0

  • Snorkel and Scuba

800px-biscayne_national_park_h-snorkel_on_elkhorn

  • Balata Botanical Garden

Jardin_de_Balata_3.JPG

  • Le Mémorial de l’Anse Caffard

Cap110.jpg

SUMMARY

Where to Stay

I’d recommend staying in Anse Mitan if beach and restaurant options in walking distance are a priority. If staying in a boutique/posh hotel is the priority Hotel Simon in Fort De France is a great option. If you’re looking for a family friendly all inclusive Bambou in Anse Mitan and Club Med in Sainte-Anne are two options.

Getting Around

Rent a car, even for just a day or two, to explore the island.

If renting a car is not your thing check out the island with organized group tours. Viator is a great resource with lots of options from various tour operators.

Language

You can get by on English near Fort De France, but download Google Translate if you’re planning to go outside of the capital. Do not assume everyone knows English and ask if they do before trying to ask questions or explain your request. The phrase is

Parlez Vous Anglais? (par-lay-vu-ong-lay)

Food

The food is either French or local. French options are grilled steak, fish, fries, salad…Local is accras, fritters, Chicken Colombe, and Ti Punch.

One of our best meals was at Bodlanme at Anse Mitan beach. It’s part of the Bambou resort and it’s right on the beach.

I also enjoyed La Dunette in Sainte-Anne, Bao Beach in Sainte-Anne and Le Petitbonum in Carbet.

Martinique can be enjoyed for a long weekend or longer. It caters to mostly French tourists but with Norwegian’s great fare deals I expect more and more Americans to visit this island paradise in the next few years.

img_20190104_172348_1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s