Located in the Less Antilles, the island of Martinique, French controlled, is the largest island in the Lesser Antilles. The temperatures range from the 70s to upper-80s all year. The heart of tourist season coincides with the dry season, which runs from December through May (the wet season starts in June and ends in November). Typical “diving season” runs October - May. This is the time of year that’s considered best for diving but tours and dive operators run all year. English isn’t as common as it is with other more touristy destinations but that’s slowly changing as Martinique tries to woo travelers from English-speaking areas.
Martinique offers a lot to visitors—more than we could cover in a short article, but it will mainly appeal to nature tourists and historic/cultural tourists.
Being an island, Martinique is no stranger to beach-goers and divers. If it’s a water activity, you can find it. The cerulean water and soft sandy beaches are absolutely delightful, but the tropics offer more than water activities.
The land itself holds delights and stories. Mount Pelee, a volcano, offers great views on clear days. No photo array from Martinique would be complete without shots of the iconic Diamond Rock. In the 1800’s it was the site of a military battle between the British and the French and today it’s home to a variety of birds and a playground for divers. Other shoreline rock formations can be accessed via the hiking trails at La Trace des Caps; it takes 7 hours to complete the whole one-way trip. If you don’t have a day to dedicate to hiking, perhaps you’d be interested in the boat tour to Rocher du Diamant, a volcanic islet that’s popular with divers. No matter your skill or desire, Mother Nature will take your breath away in Martinique.
Cachot de Cyparis, a street dungeon from the 17th century, is likely the strangest attraction. Legend has it that a prisoner survived the volcanic eruption that destroyed Saint-Pierre.
Musee de la Pagerie is the former sugar plantation of Empress Josephine Bonaparte. It has been turned into a museum about her life and they have a collection of love letters to her from Napoleon. You can walk the grounds and enter the main house. A must-see destination for any military history buff!
Martinique is very popular with the French and practically unknown to Americans and perfect for people looking for a destination beyond the norms. Check out our Vacation Planning Resource Center for information to guide you on your next trip!
- Zoo de Martinique, English signage
- Jardin de Balata, English audio-tour
- Mount Pelee
- Diamond Rock
- Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico