Martinique Travel Diary
For someone who is terrified of flying, I seem to travel quite a bit. Look forward to weekly Travel Diary posts about destinations from Europe, to the Caribbean, and everywhere in between. Here is my Martinique Travel Diary to help you get a sense of what my trip was like, and perhaps score some intel on what to do (or what to avoid).
Martinique is a tiny, friendly island just north of St. Lucia. Not 45 minutes north like the brochure claims – more like 1.5 hours north!
During a vacation to St. Lucia, My Man and I took a day trip to Martinique thinking it would be a cosy day of cultural exploration. Instead, we found ourselves aboard a power catamaran on choppy waters that just about made me hurl. It was my first time out to sea, and let me tell you – NEVER AGAIN. Maya + boats do not mix. My Man even (accidentally?) drugged me with drowsy medication that, unfortunately, didn’t prevent me from praying for the boat ride to end. I literally counted down every five-minute increment I survive on my watch and thanked the Lord for patches of travel where there was no gut wrenching drop in to the waves.
But I digress.
Once you get to Martinique…everything’s great on land!
Where I Stayed
During this trip, we were lodged at the Sandals La Toc in St. Lucia. Look for a review about all three Sandals properties there soon. We kinda dig their luxury travel style.
When I Went
We visited in May and the weather was pretty good. Only one day of full rain in St. Lucia, everything else was pretty warm and sunny. We were blessed with awesome weather on our Martinique day – I would have probably sacrificed myself to the sharks on that boat ride otherwise. MAKE IT STOP.
Who I Traveled With
I traveled with My Man, who is a great exploring companion because he loves to take photos. I tend to wander around and not really retain specifics, while he laps up the knowledge.
What I Did
Upon arriving at the port in Fort-de-France, we took up a walking tour of the small capital. The hour-ish walkabout took us past the library, museum, statues, and in to the main cathedral. I was totally fascinated by the Cathédrale St-Louis, which has sustained a fire, a tidal wave, a hurricane, and an earthquake (or two) since it’s first origins in the 1600s.
One of the key statues in Fort-de-France is of Joséphine Empress of France (and former wife of Napoleon). She grew up on Martinique before moving to France to marry and essentially social climb her way up through the ranks – eventually catching the eye of a certain shorty. What I found interesting is that Napoleon found a clever way of nullifying their 14 years of marriage because she couldn’t produce a male heir. Anyhow, when you go to visit her you’ll notice that her head is missing.
And that she is covered in “blood.”
Creepy much? Well, some 20 years ago vandals “beheaded” her and defaced her statue with blood, believed to be commentary about the re-introduction of slavery on the island before a major rebellion marked as May 22. That’s just unimaginably cruel – to have slavery abolished, live free, have it brought back, and then rebel.
Our informative walking tour ended in the main market (Grand Marché). It’s not the most exciting or vibrant market I’ve seen, on the contrary – there is a certain lull and busy bee hum as vendors sit and wait in boredom. Also worth noting – they only accept Euro. So we were SOL with only carrying USD. Which worked out well because everything was way too expensive (tourist markup + exchange rate = not worth it).
After a few hours in Fort-de-France, our boat zipped us to a black sand beach. This was by far our favourite part of the day (potentially the trip) because the experience was just so awesome. Feeling the volcanic sand is trippy – it looks coarse but is softer and silkier than a postcard-worthy white sand beach. It was a bit hot on the feet, but the little slice of heaven we were able to experience was mindblowing.
How I Got Around
This day trip was primarily through the power catamaran that I wish I could murder. Other than that, the main sights around the capitol are all walk able. Transport to and from the port in St. Lucia was all by van (and with its endless, very hilly roads was a total treat and a half to return to with my motion sickness).
The best part of the travel component was the flight to/from via WestJet (YYZ to UVF). We have always had a great experience with any of these vacation trips, though the airport (Hewanorra) was super humid and made me want to curl up in to a ball.
Travel: F (except beloved WestJet)
Food – On Resort: B-
Food – Off Resort: N/A
Official Tourism Board Link