Martinique – French culture and Caribbean customs
It’s getting a bit chilly around this part of the world and unless you’re considering a ski trip with your friends then you’re obviously searching for that special place to relax and enjoy a few drinks on a lounge chair under the sun. Hence why Martinique, one of the largest islands in the French West Indies, comes to mind.
A tiny piece of France located in the center of the Caribbean Sea, Martinique has warm temperatures all year round, with wintertime temperatures reaching 75-80 Fahrenheit and hardly noticeable rainy and dry seasons. If many choose the summertime for a trip to Martinique because of the clear waters and the blooming flowers, there’s room for the budget traveler to stop in during the least-traveled months that go from August to mid November. But one reason travelers avoid the Caribbean in the summer and early fall is the hurricane season.
So how about planning a vacation in Martinique in winter when you get clear blue skies and warm sands, without any threat from the Atlantic storm systems.
Paradise for beach lovers, divers, foodies, Francophiles and hikers, Martinique is a perfect mixture of Gallic culture and Caribbean customs, a place where good food and the latest fashions go hand in hand. The island is volcanic at its origins, with the active Mont PelÃ©e (among the deadliest stratovolcanoes on Earth) dominating the whole area, yet still offering plenty of hiking and nature-watching on its slopes.
What’s funny about Martinique is the many names it’s known for. Some call it the Island of Flowers because of the botanical gardens tucked into the rugged landscape, some call it The Rum Capital of the World (fighting with Puerto Rico for the title, maybe) and some say it’s The Culinary Capital of the Caribbean. Everyone’s right as the vibrant island charms with its awe-inspiring natural beauty, the rich cultural history, and the distinctive culinary delights.
Speaking of food, local and international chefs have taken gastronomy to art level, offering tourists a fare of the traditional French cuisine, the compelling Creole dishes or an eclectic mixture of African, Indian, European and Caribbean flavors. From elaborate fine dining to bistros and fast food shops, everything is an artful creation that will make you come back again and again.
One of the most alluring and enchanting destinations in the world, Martinique is appreciated by diving amateurs for its submarine canyons, falling perforated coral faults, caves, plates or wrecks (of the eruption of Mount-PelÃ©), dolphin, barracudas and even tortoises encounters. The best place to dive is in the southern part of the island which is protected from the Atlantic swell, and which also offers some of the Caribbean’s best beaches.
But if you’d much rather walk the grounds then a visit to the harbor-side capital of the island, Fort-de-France, is a must. The largest and most cosmopolitan city in the French West Indies, Fort de France is a colonial town at its roots, with narrow, busy streets to wander, friendly locals to have a drink with, and historic sites and museums to visit during the day.
Martinique is also popular for holding the Caribbeanâ€™s longest running jazz festival. Every year since 1983, the Martinique Jazz Festival has filled the air with melodious vibes between November 26 and December 6.
Martinique, câ€™est magnifique!