Our family trip to Martinique was unexpected. We had planned a trip to Guadeloupe and we're scheduled to fly Norwegian from Providence, RI on January 4th. There was a blizzard that day and I received a text that our flight was cancelled and we could get e refund or rebook for another date. I called and asked if the flight would be rescheduled and they repeated that I could get a refund or rebook for the next flight to Guadeloupe which was on Sunday. I got off the phone and discussed with family what to do. We couldn't wait until Sunday so I decided to take the refund and book a flight to Martinique scheduled to leave the next day. I tried calling and got a busy signal forever. Finally, I simply went online, cancelled the flight and booked flights, accommodation and car for Martinique. I assumed that my Guadeloupe arrangements would be covered by travel insurance because of the flight cancellation. When we got to the airport on the 5th, imagine my surprise and dismay when I heard flight agents calling for check-in for passengers to Guadeloupe! Turns out the flight had been rescheduled and I had not received the correct information! Nothing to be done at that point- we were headed to Martinique.
We had booked a rental car with Auto-Caraibes. I would highly recommend them over a major company. They met us right in the airport parking lot (no lines or shuttle) . They gave us a lovely, new automatic and we're really nice and helpful. We stayed at La Suite Villas in Trois-Ilets in a villa. Not really our style, but very comfortable and we loved the hot tub at the villa. Location is on a hillside with some view of the bay and lights of Fort de France. Nice restaurant with good food, although pricey. Overall, we would not choose that location were we to return to Martinique. We prefer more off-the beaten path locations and found the driving from the south to the north to be horrendous due to crazy traffic. We preferred the north- hiking and beautiful more quiet beaches.
Day one we drove up to Caravelle national park and hiked Pointe Rouge. Beautiful hike with empty gorgeous beach along the way. Then we made the crazy decision to drive to Les Salinas beach in the south- crazy because we didn't realize how far it was! But got there and had an ok late lunch on the beach and spent a little time on this gorgeous beach. Dinner that night at our hotel restaurant.
Day two we went to Anse Dufour hoping to snorkel. Although we went early, this was way too crowded on a Sunday and be forewarned that the parking is impossible! After walking down to Anse Dufour and not finding anyplace out sit, we went to the next beach over, the black sand Anse Noire, and had a lovely morning there. Much quieter and beautiful. We then went to Anse Milan hoping to rent SUP boards, but didn't like the beach as a place to paddle. We did have a delicious lunch at Barracuda restaurant on the beach. We then drove to Anse D'arlet and spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out on this beach. Long, narrow and cafes and shops all along the beach. We enjoyed the people watching and the walk on this beach. Dinner at Le Cafe de Paris in Trois-Ilets. Lovely, family-tun restaurant.
Day three we headed out early to hike the volcano, Mont-Pelee. Despite clouds and fog, we loved this rugged and beautiful, otherworldly hike. You need to be somewhat fit . Very steep and lots of scrambling up and down rocks. After this hike we had lunch on the beach at Anse Turin near St. Pierre. Loved this beach and Cafe! Delicious, big lunch of fresh fish followed by coconut flan and espresso. Terrible traffic back to out hotel, but a good day! Dinner at the hotel again because we did not want to drive anymore!
Day four we decided to hang out the Anse Noire the black sand beach near us. We also finally snorkeled Dufour, which was fabulous snorkling right off the beach. Dinner that night at Pignon Nouvelle Vague on Anse D'anne. Lovely meal right on the water. Again, delicious fresh fish!
Last day we planned a kayak from Le Robert at Kayaks de Robert. Kayak to Isle Chancel and around. But got started and the wind was incredibly strong. It was just too much and not enjoyable, so we aborted. Instead we drove back to Caravelle park which was not too far and did a great hike to mangroves and an incredible beach. After this we have lunch right nearby - I think it was called Le Phare. Beautiful sea view, friendly and delicious big lunch of, again, fresh fish. Terrible traffic back to the hotel. Stopped at a fabulous patisserie/Cafe in Trois-Ilets and bought salads, quiche and pastries to have for dinner at our villa. Packed up and relaxed in the hot tub.
All-in-all, a good trip although with advance planning it would have been great. We would stay up north and not have to do all that driving through traffic. The north also was less touristy and more authentic. I speak a little French from high school and this definitely came in handy. Not much English spoken, but everyone was friendly and tries. Other than traffic, driving is fine. Good roads and not hard to find your way around- but very hilly and curvy so not for nervous drivers. Food is great if you like simple fresh fish. Fabulous fish of all kinds- also amazing bread, croissants, etc. Loved the French influence and vibe. Great French wines too. And wonderful Agricola rhum. I would have loved to check out some of the many fine distilleries.
We hope to return at some point- but perhaps we'll do that Guadeloupe trip I had planned first! And hopefully I can get compensation from Norwegian and/or my travel insurance!
Happy to answer questions!