Welcome to Martinique, a stunning island of volcanic vistas and blooming wildflowers nestled in the heart of the Caribbean. Fusing French and Caribbean traditions creates a vibrant and unparalleled experience for visitors worldwide. Allow us to introduce you to a knowledgeable tour guide who will accompany you as you discover the wonders of this UNESCO-recognized ecological treasure.
Meet Maurice Michel Ventose: a seasoned guide with a deep understanding of the island’s history and attractions. Maurice often works with the Office de Tourisme du Centre. More than just a guide, Maurice is a captivating storyteller, eager to share the rich tales that make Martinique genuinely unique. His adoration for storytelling adds more depth to your exploration, forging connections with everyone he encounters. We chatted with Maurice to learn more about his travel recommendations, and Martinique on the whole.
Q: What do you think Martinique offers people that the other islands in the Caribbean don’t?
A: Martinique extends a warm invitation to its visitors, offering them the distinct French Creole touch, the flavors of French Creole cuisine, and a uniquely Caribbean lifestyle.
I often share with my guests that being in Martinique resembles being in France in the Caribbean. Here, they can experience a blend of French elegance with the advantages of the Caribbean setting. As Martinique is a department of France and uses the euro, it attracts individuals from other islands, particularly those primarily speaking English. They come here for employment opportunities or to make purchases, realizing they can access products and services that would otherwise require a trip to France or online ordering.
Q: What are some of the can’t-miss sites of Martinique?
A: There are numerous must-visit spots on the captivating island of Martinique, especially in the capital, Fort-de-France. Notable places include the Cathedral of Saint Louis, the vibrant Fruit and Spice Market, the Schoelcher Library, the Museum of Archaeology, the Museum of Ethnography and History of Martinique, and the Hotel de Ville.
For those interested in unique experiences, the island offers a range of distilleries. In Fort-de-France, the Distillery of La Favorite stands out as the only vapor distillery on the island. Other notable distilleries include Depaz in Saint Pierre, Clement in Francois, and the historical Savanne des Esclaves in Trois-Îlets. Nature enthusiasts can explore the Belle Fort Banana Plantation in Lamentin and embark on a rewarding hike up the Pele Volcano in Saint Pierre, either with or without a guide. Additionally, the Balata Garden, situated on the outskirts of Fort-de-France, is a serene spot that beckons visitors to immerse themselves in its natural beauty.
Q: Are there activities or places that are your personal favorites?
A: As a nature-loving individual, anything related to nature is a definite must for me. While Martinique may have few touristy waterfalls, I am keenly interested in exploring the offbeat and less-explored ones tucked away in the island’s interior, particularly near the community where my family lives on the eastern side of Saint Marie.
Given my love for history, I’ve already immersed myself in the rich historical experience of Savanne des Esclaves and ventured into several rum distilleries. When time permits, I enjoy spending time at rum distilleries like Depaz, Clement, Saint James, La Favorite, and La Mauny, when time permits, to delve deeper into their historical narratives.
Q: Imagine a visitor only has one day on the island. What should they do?
A: For visitors with limited time during a cruise ship or airplane stopover, my advice would be to stay close to the port to avoid potential traffic delays. Exploring the capital is a great option, where they can visit museums and local markets and even partake in some souvenir shopping for unique items like flowers, fruits, spices, and local cuisine.
To make the most of their time, I’d recommend visiting a nearby distillery, such as La Favorite Distillery in Fort-de-France or Le Clement Distillery in Le François. Moving around is best by hiring a taxi for convenience.
Visitors can take a ferry from Fort-de-France across the bay to Trois-Ilets for a change of scenery. Here, they can enjoy three beautiful beaches equipped with amenities and restaurants. For those with a bit more time and a sense of adventure, taking a taxi north to Saint Pierre, the island’s first capital, offers the opportunity to explore the volcano and delve into the historical charm of the region. Thank you Maurice for your time. You can learn more about Martinique at https://www.martinique.org/en.