Messing up in a local pub, being locked in a dungeon and surviving a volcanic eruption…these things only happen in Martinique! Embark on an exotic holiday in the footsteps of a man who was definitely luckier than he was smart.

This picturesque Caribbean island of Martinique is so much more than just beautiful beaches inviting you to laze around and enjoy water sports and atmospheric pubs serving local rum and delicious seafood. Explore the island’s Caribbean nature and fascinating history, and, if you’re feeling brave (and energetic!) embark on a hike up a slumbering volcano.

Belleville in Precheur, Martinique © shutterstock
Belleville in Precheur, Martinique © shutterstock

How to get to Martinique and when to go

A direct flight to Martinique takes about 15 hours – plenty of time to get a good night’s sleep. If you opt for a connecting flight, the journey will be slightly longer. The best time to visit Martinique and enjoy the tropical landscape is in the European winter and spring, i.e. from December to April or May.

A thrilling holiday in Martinique – hike up the Montagne Pelée

Montagne Pelée is the highest peak on the island and the origin of all the fuss and the incredible story quoted in the introduction. It rises to 1,397 metres above sea level and is considered one of the most interesting attractions in the area. It is a dormant volcano that made itself known in 1902.

At this point it is worth mentioning a certain man called Cyparis. He was born Ludger Sylbaris and, by a bizarre coincidence, escaped with his life from a catastrophe that is estimated to have claimed up to 30,000 lives. Cyparis was captured by local uniformed officers after a fight in a pub. He was imprisoned in an underground dungeon which saved his life. He was discovered three days after the eruption of Montagne Pelée and although badly burned by the eruption, he survived.

There are three ways to climb Montagne Pelée: from the north, west or south-east. The most popular route starts at Le Morne-Rouge and takes around eight hours. A shorter option can be taken, but is only recommended for more experienced hikers due to the steeper access. The island has a rainy climate, so the paths are often very slippery.

Excursions in Martinique: The Frank A. Perret Museum – Disaster Memorial 1902

If you not only like to be active, but also want to learn more about the volcanic eruption that took place more than 120 years ago, then a trip to the Frank A. Perret Museum is a must.

The origins of the site date back to 1933. At the time, it was a site dedicated to volcanology and over time, it was enriched with an exhibition commemorating the 1902 catastrophe, when the town of Saint-Pierre was razed to the ground. Today, more than 400 different artefacts can be admired inside the museum.

Caribbean nature at your fingertips – Balata Botanical Gardens

Martinique is sometimes called the island of flowers and you can see them in full bloom at the Jardin de Balata botanical garden. You don’t need to book a ticket in advance, just pay on the day. As well as the natural beauty, you can also admire the Creole architecture of the founder’s house within this green oasis. When your stomach starts to growl from all the excitement, dine on Cajun and Creole cuisine at La Luciole restaurant, adjacent to the garden.

The Balata Botanical Garden is open every day from 9am to 6pm, including public holidays. The Jardin Balata can be reached by public transport (line 125 from Fort-de-France), taxi or car and free parking is available on site. You should allow at least 1.5 hours to visit the botanical garden.

La Savane des Esclaves – holidays with a touch of history

Something for history lovers – La Savane des Esclaves. Located in the village of Trois-Ilets, this theme park covers an area of more than three hectares. More than 400 years of Martinique’s history have been reconstructed here. There is no need to rush – you can explore on your own (you will be given a map) and the key information is presented on 26 panels in both English and French. You can also use the audio guide.

Please note that Martinique is an overseas territory that belongs to France, therefore no visa is required.



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