Marvellous Martinique: Tips from a Local Guide

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While much of North America is in the depths of January, sunny Martinique, a tiny island in the Caribbean Sea, remains a tropical paradise. Today our guide Meri joins us to share her knowledge of the island, so that our travellers can experience some of the Martinique’s local flavour, far away from the cruise ship port.

Name: Meri

Why I became a guide:
I have always loved discovering different cultures and traveling. This is maybe one of the reasons I chose to study anthropology! Moving to Martinique six years ago made me fall in love with the rich and mixed culture of this beautiful island, and after working in a cultural association, I turned to guiding. I really enjoy sharing my insights and allowing people to discover the most interesting places on the island.

Why I love where I live:
There’s always something to do or to discover in Martinique. Although the island is relatively small, its vibrant cultural life is really active; we have everything from concerts to fairs, culinary events, festivals and art exhibitions. And of course the nature never ceases to amaze me; we are lucky to live on a tropical island with really varied landscapes and a rich biodiversity.

Top 3 things travellers shouldn't miss when visiting Martinique:
You should definitely enjoy our beautiful nature in one way or another. For example, by going for a hike in the rainforest in the area around the Carbet Mountains, or snorkeling to spot corals and tropical fish at Anse Dufour in Anses d’Arlet. Visiting Saint-Pierre, the old capital destroyed by the eruption of 1902 that killed around 30,000 people, is also a moving experience. And let us not forget our excellent agricole rums, that are the only rums in the world to have the AOC label (Appellation d’origine contrôlée). For me the most interesting distillery to visit is the Habitation Clément with its old creole house, modern art galleries, garden and the old distillery.

Best place to go for a great photo:
Difficult choice! Two places that stand out in particular…A viewpoint on the Morne Larcher hill to observe the “Diamond Rock”, a small volcanic island situated at the coast of the town of Diamant. Or the Balata Gardens, for the views on the rainforest, the Carbet Mountains and hundreds of tropical plants and flowers.

One local food specialty everyone visiting Martinique should try: Martinique is famous for our tasty creole-style cuisine with French influences. I’d recommend tasting some fresh seafood, for example lobster, conch shell, crayfish or mahi-mahi. Another traditional favourite is the “accras”, cod-fish or shrimp fritters with local herbs and spices.

My favourite local restaurants:
I enjoy going to “La Chaudiere”, a traditional creole-food restaurant with a pretty garden in Morne-Rouge. For top-notch French pastries try “La Pâtisserie” in Cluny, Fort-de-France and for a cozy café with excellent pastries go to “O coup d’Coeur” in the Potterie village in Trois-Ilets.

Best place to celebrate a special occasion:
The Entre Nous, a restaurant in Saint-Joseph, is a hidden gem and perfect for a romantic dinner or any other special occasion.

Thank you for yoru insights, Meri! Any traveller shoping to spend time in the company of a smart, funny and knowledgeable local guide shouldn’t hesitate to get in touch with Meri to arrange a private tour of the island.
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