In Martinique, close the guidebooks and let a local lead the way.
By Alyssa James
I hadn’t even heard of Martinique until a month before I decided to apply to work on the island. I wanted to live in France to improve my French while nibbling baguettes and savoring wine, but as soon as I heard “France in the Caribbean,” I was sold. I pictured vineyards, the Champ de Mars, and the Louvre with a beach setting.
Little did I know, the island was much more unadulterated than that. Martinique, the Island of Flowers, explodes with culture, history, and personality unique from mainland France. Besides the infrastructure and education system, Martinique isn’t France in the Caribbean — it’s the Caribbean with a French twist.
Getting around Martinique under your own steam or navigating public transport can be complicated. To really see what is special about Madinina, as the locals call it, view the juxtaposition of manicured seaside with the wild nature in the north of the island. Take a day trip and head up to Saint-Pierre on the Caribbean coast to see the ruins of the Mont Pelée eruption; venture to Saint-Joseph to spend the afternoon at the river and see wild plants you’ve only seen in botanic gardens; or make your way to La Trinité to surf or do the circuitous Presqu’île de Caravelle hike. You won’t regret….