Volcano Mount Pelee
An active volcano Mount Pelee (what means “bald mountain” or “peeled mountain”) is situated in the North of the island. The road to the volcano through the middle of the island is harsh: narrow and curvy. It gives you a real jungle feeling though. However, if you are prone to movement sickness, better take the road along the coast, which is quite serpentine-like as well, but much broader.
The hike to the crate of the volcano is definitely challenging. You’d rather not start without proper hiking shoes, sunscreen, and enough water. Partly, you have to climb over big stones and after the rain the hike can be treacherously slippery.
We climbed from the parking (about 800m above the sea level) to the middle of the track (1050m) and turned around, as we had a valid excuse: a baby who was not at all excited about the whole idea of conquering the volcano sitting in a baby carrier without good observation opportunities. This route took us about 1,5 hours. I was hoping for more space on the way for Mia to crawl around, but the track was mostly steep stones and stairs, so there was no chance for a decent tummy-time. In total, if you’d like to reach the top, I would count with 3-4 hours of quite difficult hiking (pauses excluded). And you will definitely want to have a lot of stops, first, as the views are breathtaking and second, because the hike is simply exhausting.
Memorial Cap 110
Memorial Cap 110 on the Promenade Aime-Cesaire is the tribute to the slaves who were lost at sea in the shipwreck in 1830 and a memorial to those who survived the transatlantic crossing. From here, you also have one of the best viewpoints to the Le Diamant.
During a hot day you can find a refuge in the Habitación Clement: a former rum factory and a botanical garden. There you can take a long walk in the garden and admire art compositions along the way. Usually, the entrance fee is quite high, but we were lucky visiting the domain on the day when it was free. You can read more about this place here: http://habitation.fondation-clement.org/.
Trois Rivieres is no longer used for production of rum but the original pieces are still intact. You can visit them on a brief tour. On the territories of the distillery you will also find several craftsmen shops and a nice showroom offering tastings as well https://plantationtroisrivieres.com/en/.
Erected in 1721, the chateau fell into disrepair in 1815, so only ruins are left now. Visiting the ruins of a former sugar plantation with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean is definitely worth it (as you can combine the visit with swimming at very nice beaches in Presqu’Île de la Caravelle). However you’d rather do it in the morning or in the afternoon when the sun is not so high. There is almost no shade on the terrain of the Chateau.
Canal des Esclaves
Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to hike this route ourselves because of time constrictions (tired or sleeping baby, you know…) However, friends of ours have recommended this hike to be one of the most fascinating on the island, and reviews of other travellers confirm that. The former slave canal, the path curves around the side of the mountain and offers amazing views of the lush greenery and the valley. Those who took this path warned that the path was narrow and could be very muddy. Besides, they claim this hike would not be suitable for those afraid of the heights.
You can read more about hiking routes on Martinique here: https://us.martinique.org/discover/5-flagship-hikes-martinique.
Jardin Bolata is an impressive botanical garden built around the Creole house of the grandparents of its author, the landscape designer Jean-Philippe Thoze. The garden features a tree canopy walk and lots of exotic plants and flowers. On rainy days, you have a feeling you were in the middle of a jungle. To plan your visit, check the homepage of the Jardin Bolata: https://www.jardindebalata.fr/welcome. To plan your visit even better, check the weather forecast for the day. We weren’t lucky and had to leave the botanical garden earlier as it started raining heavily.
The Zoo of Martinique
The Zoo of Martinique, housed in the remains of the Habitation Latouche, one of the oldest houses on the island (middle of the 17th century), nested in the heart of the valley, is one of the most charming places on the island. The path through the domain features equipements of manioc workshop, indigo, and of course sugar and rum, the great paddle wheel and the aqueduct. Along your way you could see monkeys, jaguars, pumas, lorikeets, great anteater, racoons and many other animals. In the butterfly house you will be surrounded by its fragile inhabitants and on the path you may also take a close-up of tiny hummingbirds. The zoo is not big, you will need 1,5 hours max to complete the visit. However, this was the most beautiful zoological garden I’ve seen before. For more information about the zoo, visit its homepage: https://www.zoodemartinique.com/english.
Next to the zoo, you can have a decent lunch or dinner at the Restaurant 1643.
Some cafes and restaurants
- If you visit the green Presqu’Île de la Caravelle peninsula (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/martinique/presqu-ile-de-caravelle) for its gorgeous beaches, have a stop in its main village Tartane and drink delicious freshly roasted coffee at the Ti Cafe and roastery (https://www.tikafe.fr/).
- When you are in Sainte-Anne (and you will definitely go there for the most beautiful beaches), you can hide from the heat around noon at the People Beach restaurant (Domaine Anse Caritan, Sainte-Anne 97227, Martinique). In the restaurant there is also a big pool with sunbeds and sun umbrellas which you can use if you order something at the restaurant.
- In Le Diamant, you can hard chill at the Chill cafe (https://www.facebook.com/chillmartinique/) which is situated directly on the beach and features huge sunbeds and cozy sofas. Perfect for a summer cocktail during the daytime!
- When you visit Fort-de-France, the administrative capital and chief town of Martinique, go for lunch to Djole dou (27 Rue Garnier Pagès, Fort-de-France 97200, Martinique). This is a small family-run restaurant with a home-like atmosphere and tasty local creole cuisine.
Not to overload the text with the price tags, here is a summary of some entrance fees on the island:
|The zoo + Jardin Bolata
Status: October 2020