Thursday, March 17, 2016

Toya T Travels to Martinique

If there is one thing that you need to know about me, it is that I love to travel. I like discovering new places and experiencing new cultures, especially the food. My top bucket list item is to travel to 6 out of the 7 continents before age 50---thus far I have traveled to North America, Asia, and Africa (note: Antartica is not on my list because I do not like the cold). 

Out of all the places I have been, the Caribbean has been alway, and will always be, my favorite. I am a Caribbean girl. My parents immigrated to the US from the small island of Dominica. I spent the first five years of my life traveling between my mother's home in Boston and my grandparents' home in Dominica. The Caribbean is home. 

So, when I saw this super sale from Boston to Martinique from Norwegian Airlines, with prices as low as $49 one way for direct flights, I could not pass it up. Plus, I had never been to Martinique. I was not able to take advantage of the unbelievably low (low low low) $49 flight because of my class schedule, but I was still able to get a great price--$188 for roundtrip ticket for Sunday, March 13 to Wednesday, March 16. 


If you have never heard of Martinique, it is a French island located in the Caribbean Sea, south of Dominica and north of St. Lucia. The capital is Fort-de-France. The island features black and white sand beaches, rainforests, and a volcano, Mt. Pelee. Once a longtime colony of France, the national language is French, and the culture, food, and architecture are mix of French and West Indian. 

Highlights from My Trip: 

The Hotel
I was lucky to find a reasonably priced 4-star hotel in the capital Fort-de-France on Booking.com. Simon Hotel is a brand new contemporary hotel, featuring modern furnishings, free wifi, a bar/restaurant, clean, spacious rooms, English-speaking staff, and views of the city and the sea. It is also within walking distance of restaurants, air conditioning, shops, local attractions (e.g., the public garden La Savane and Fort St. Louis), the cruise ship terminal, and the ferry (which provides easy access to the southern beach town of Les Trois-Ilets). 

hotel entrance 
hallway of rooms
view of the hotel from the ferry

The Food & Drinks
I am a foodie and I love to drink. My favorite thing to do when I travel is to try the local food. Here are some of my favorites from my trip. 


First night, I tried a local ti punch, which is a rum based mixed drink, popular in the French-speaking Caribbean islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, Haiti, and French Guiana. Funny thing is when I saw it on the menu, I thought it was rum punch, a staple of the English-speaking Caribbean islands.  To my surprise, the waitress brought out a glass of rum, a bowl of brown sugar, and a lime wedge. As you can expect, this drink is STRONG. If you are not a drinker, skip it. But if you are a drinker, start your stay in Martinique with this local drink.


My first full day in Martinique I took the ferry over to Pointe du Bout in Les Trois-Ilets. I spent some time on the beach and then walked over to Havana Cafe in Creole Village. Food looked good on the menu. Unfortunately (for me), the staff did not speak English and I do not read or speak French; and so, I ended up picking my food based on the pictures on the menu and my rudimentary translation of the menu (thanks to 6 years of latin classes at my high school alma mater). With all of that said, I ordered th 1/4lb rotisserie chicken and french fries and Copa Cabana Sun cocktail and they were delicious. Note: if I could read the menu, I would have ordered my favorite, codfish fritter, which I learned too late is "les accras de morue" in French.


My last full day in Martinique I took the ferry to Anse Mitan in Les Trois-Ilets. I hit the beach for an hour and then walked over to the beachside restaurant Le Barracuda for lunch. Luckily, the restaurant had staff that spoke English and a bilingual French/English menu (thank goodness!!!). Without hesitation, I ordered the codfish fritters, stuffed crab, french fries, and a rum punch. Honestly, I was not a fan of their codfish fritters. It tasted more like oil and batter than codfish. But, the stuffed crab, french fries, and rum punch were so delicious. Highly recommend those three items if you find yourself at Le Barracuda.

The Beaches

The main reason I love the Caribbean is because I love the beach.  I am beach baby. A water sign. A summer baby. I was meant to be near water.





Day one, I headed across the waterway on the ferry to Pointe du Bout beach. I really like this beach. It is located a short walk from the ferry dock. Pointe du Bout beach is a large beach separated into three distinct areas, one part is next to a hotel resort, a middle part that has a small pool feeling, and a third part that faces toward Fort-de-France. I spent the majority of my time lounging in the middle part. The water is very calm and a nice cool temperature that warms up quickly. This beach is not ideal for sun-worshipers/bathers because the sand is a hard and rough and the area is small. But for someone like me who just wants to relax in calm, shallow water, this beach is a great place to spend a day.




Day two, I took the ferry from Fort-de-France to Anse Mitan. The ferry to this beach is bit longer than the one to Pointe du Bout because it stops at Anse a L 'Ane before it reaches Anse Mitan. This beach is significantly different than Pointe du Bointe. The ferry drops you off right at the beach, which is covered in soft sand. The beach is long and features different water activities, including jet skis, water trampolines, and dolphin watch tours. The water is clear and perfectly cool. I stayed in the water for a complete hour, relaxing and observing the scene. I highly recommend this beach. Wish I could have stayed longer. 

Overall, I had a great mini-vacation in Martinique. If you want to know more about this French island or travel experience, comment below.