After visiting Antigua (which wasn’t what we were expecting), we were wondering what the next island on our Caribbean cruise will be like. Fortunately, we really liked Martinique and found that the island was a mixture of European style architecture, beautiful sand beaches and Caribbean culture.
This was the only island, where after disembarking the ship, we were not immediately surrounded by tour guides and taxi drivers, offering tours of the island.
There were only representatives of the Martinique Tourist Bureau, who gave us general information about what we can see and do for several hours, and what are our options for exploring the island – by taxi, by foot or by electronic tricycles.
The cruise terminal in Martinique is right in the heart of the island capital of Fort de France and the city can be seen by foot. However, we decided to rent an electronic tricycle for € 10 per person, where the driver was also our tour guide and we stopped at some of the most famous sights in Fort de France.
The tricycles were resembling rickshaws – with a driver at the front and two passenger at the back seat with the only difference that they were electronic. They could be found just steps away from the welcome area after disembarking. The company is called CycloComm and started offering the tours in July 2014.
Our tour guide Sebastian was very talkative and give us information about the city and the island. Here is what we explored on our tour:
- The seaside park La Savane – a place to take a stroll on the boardwalk or sit on a bench amongst the palms and contemplate the cruise ships. La Savane is next to a small beach over which is perched the medieval fortress Fort St Louis which is now an active naval base.
- Schoeler Library – this is a building in European style which was built in 1889 in France and then deconstructed and shipped piece by piece to Martinique, where it was assembled again.
- The headless marble statue of Empress Josephine – located right across the library. Empress Josephine was Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife, born and raised in Martinique. In 1995 a group of locals decapitated the statue and “decorated” it with red paint.
- The covered market – buzzing with people and cars, here you can find all kinds of exotic spices, fruits and vegetables.
- St. Louis Cathedral – built originally in the 17th century, the cathedral was damaged during natural disasters that happened in Fort-de-France. The current construction was built in 1895 from iron frame so it can withstand future disasters.
Having explored these main attractions of Fort de France we had more time and decided to take a ferry to a beach called Anse A L’Ane. The ferry cost was € 7 per person.
This beach was so relaxing, beautiful and peaceful and it felt like the time has stopped there. It didn’t feel crowded although the ferries were arriving every half an hour in the morning and every hour in the afternoon. After exploring the beach we sat down to have a drink at one of the beach cafés (which owner didn’t speak any English).
We didn’t want to leave but we had to if we wanted to be back on the ship on time. On the way back the ferry had a stop at another beach called Anse Mitan and from there it went straight back to the cruise terminal at Fort-de-France.
From all the Caribbean islands we visited, we loved Martinique the most. The main reason is that it had this European feel mixed with the Caribbean culture.