Martinique

Environment:

Martinique is a Caribbean island north of Trinidad and Tobago, between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean. It is mountainous with indented coastline, and beautiful beaches. The highest point is the dormant volcano Mount Pelee at 1,397 meters (4,583 feet). Marked hiking trails called “traces” make it possible to climb to the peak of Mount Pelee in 6 hours. Bwa Mondong is a company offering guided hikes and excursions. The Zananas Martinique web portal has a particularly good English language section on hiking in Martinique.

The regional nature park of Martinique, Parc Naturel Régional de la Martinique, was the first of its kind established on the island in 1976. Rocher du Diamant is a coastal protected area and bird sanctuary, a rock with its own website. Since 1970, the NGO SEPANMAR (Société pour l’Etude, la Protection et l’Aménagement de la Nature à la MARtinique) has been dedicated to protecting the biodiversity of the island of Martinique. L’association Le Carouge has worked since 1989 to promote and preserve the wildlife of Martinique, and in particular the birds. The sustainable development plan for the Sainte-Anne region in the south, Plan de Développement Durable & Solidaire de Sainte-Anne, shows a number of infrastructure improvements designed to better accommodate nature tourism in the area. Martinique Nature is a web portal providing a virtual tour of the island’s natural beauty.

More agritourism than ecolodges, Martinique offers a variety of rural lodgings. Le Hameau du Morne des Cadets is a certified organic farm offering bed and breakfast lodging by the week. Le Domaine de la Vallée is an award winning, solar-powered farm hostel close to black sand beaches. Auberge de la Montagne Pelee is a rural three-star hotel offering solar-powered, Creole-style bungalows, and gourmet dining. Hotel Cap Macabou is a countryside nature resort. In the north of the island, Habitation Anse Couleuvre offers historic plantation accommodation. At the end of La Caravelle Peninsula, Hôtel La Caravelle overlooks the long sandy beach of l’Anse-l’Etang. Other bed and breakfast inns are featured in the French language web portal, Gîtes de France en Martinique.

Beyond the usual Caribbean sun, sea and sand, a number of companies offer kayaking through the island’s mangroves, such as Fleurdo, Kayak Nature Evasion, and Kayak Aventure Mangrove. Not far from the main airport, La Ferme de Perrine is a petting zoo and restaurant.

Protected Areas:

  • Anse Couleuvre Land acquired by Littoral and Lakeside Conservatory
  • Baie des Anglais Registered Site
  • Cap Salomon Land acquired by Littoral and Lakeside Conservatory
  • Caravelle Nature Reserve
  • Caravelle Littoral Conservation Area
  • Etang des Salines Littoral Conservation Area
  • Fond Moulin Littoral Conservation Area
  • Grand Macabou Land acquired by Littoral and Lakeside Conservatory
  • Ilets de Sainte Anne National Nature Reserve
  • Martinique Regional Nature Park
  • Montagne Pelée Littoral Conservation Area
  • Morne Aca Littoral Conservation Area
  • Morne Larcher Land acquired by Littoral and Lakeside Conservatory
  • Pointe Rouge Land acquired by Littoral and Lakeside Conservatory
  • Précheur/Gd Rivière Littoral Conservation Area
  • Presqu’île de la Caravelle National Nature Reserve
  • Presqu’île de La Caravelle Land acquired by Littoral and Lakeside Conservatory
  • Rocher du Diamant Biotope Protection Order
  • Savane des Pétrifications Registered Site
  • Vallée de Rivière Blanche Registered Site
  • Village de la Poterie Registered Site
  • Village et Morne Champagne Registered Site
  • Zone des Caps Registered Site

Culture:

Colonized by France in 1635, the island has subsequently remained a French possession except for three brief periods of foreign occupation. As with other overseas departments, Martinique is one of twenty-seven regions of France (being an overseas region) and an integral part of the Republic. As part of France, Martinique is part of the European Union, and its currency is the Euro.

One historical factoid you will not be allowed to forget when visiting Martinique is that Napleon’s Josephine, Empress of France, was originally from Martinique. Le Village de la Poterie des Trois Ilets, the pottery village, is something of a living history museum, featuring arts and crafts. The music of Martinique is widely known today, especially in the context of Carnival. For more on the island’s Carnival, see the French language website Foyal, le site officiel du Carnaval de Fort-de-France.

Tak Tak Martinique is the agency responsible for the development of rural tourism, concentrating on the northern part of the island. Otherwise, the Comité Martiniquais du Tourisme oversees tourism promotional activities of the island. Noel Cicalini‘s accessible island Martinique website, Martinique Access’Île, presents an interesting guide to handicap tourism (his term) on Martinique.

References:

  • Tourism development in a Regional Context. Case study the Marina of le Marin (Martinique, France) by O Dehoorne, DC Ilies, A Ilies, 2010
  • Tourism and its Discontents: John Edgar Wideman in Martinique by M Feith, 2009
  • Evaluating the economic impact of tourism: an example of macro-sectoral modelling of the economy in Martinique by K Logossah & F Célimène, 2007
  • The Struggle for Sustainable Tourism in Martinique by M Burac, 2006
  • Post-colonial Linkages Between Tourism and Agriculture in Martinique by DJ Dornan, 2004
  • Tourism and the environment in Guadeloupe and Martinique by M Burac, L Briguglio & R Butler, 1996
  • An approach to rural tourism in Martinique: Which protagonists for which development? by E Nouvel, 1988