We wanted to see “Grand Anse des Salines” less crowded, so, we drove there right after sunrise. As hoped, we got an A+ parking spot and had the beach all to ourselves. Well, except for the bar and restaurant owners who were setting up their sunloungers. In fact, we ended up staying until 11am, because it really is an amazing place. It´s just a shame people can´t pick up their trash.
With a good amount of scepticism, we then approached Cap Chevalier, from where a boat from “Taxi Cap” took us to the tiny island Ilet Chevalier. To go to and from the island costs 4 Euros per person, but I´d advise you to invest your money in something else. Yes, there are some nice views and short hiking trail, but there are plenty of those on the main island of Martinique. The water is dirty, the actual beach area is ridiculously small and there´s an unauthentic bar/restaurant blasting music non-stop. If you´re already in the area, there´s a nice beach called Anse Michel right at the other end of the parking lots at Cap Chevalier.
The next morning, we picked up some delicious baguette from “Douceurs Marinoises” bakery in the marina of Le Marin. At 8:30am, it was time to go on the “Prestige” catamaran excursion we´d booked for 85 Euros per person. We´re usually not the ones to go on guided tours because they´re expensive, and you can´t do things at your own pace, but we decided to treat ourselves with something we couldn´t do on our own. We were greeted by very friendly staff and went on board with around 25 other tourists. The clientele ranged from a group of young man to elderly couples and families. It was a very enjoyable experience and it actually didn´t feel like there were so many people on board. The boat took us to “Diamond Rock”, a rock/island to the South of Martinique, then we went snorkelling at two beaches around the village of Les Anses-d’Arlet. We saw different kinds of fish and even swam with turtles! Lunch, snacks, drinks and snorkelling equipment were available on board. The rest of they day was spent sunbathing on deck and enjoying the occasionally turbulent ride back to Le Marin.
At 5:30pm, we headed to our hotel “Le Panoramic” for our last two nights in Martinique. We stopped at “Morne Gommier”, an observation platform, but it would´ve cost 5 Euros per Person to visit… No thanks, the island has enough beautiful views to offer for free. Our hotel in Les Trois-Ilets was everything we´d hoped for and the location was great as well. It was, however, on the pricier side, because this South-Western region of Martinique is by far the most touristy.
The first breakfast in the hotel was included, so we didn´t “have” to go to the bakery and got out of the apartment rather early. (Probably why I took my camera with me but forgot the SD card.) We drove to Cap 110, a slave memorial, and then went for a quick swim at Anse Noire (black sand) and Anse Dufour (white sand). Besides the fact that there is a white and a black sand beach right beside each other, I don´t really understand why they´re so popular. Parking is limited, there are tons of people and Anse Dufour is crammed with strong-smelling restaurants.
Luckily, we´d come to Martinique during carnival season. In the afternoon, we took a ferry (operated by Vedettes Tropicales, round-trip is 7 Euros per person) from Anse à l’Âne (where we were staying) to Fort de France. Usually, there´s only one ferry per hour on Sundays, so, we were rather worried we wouldn´t get onto the first one. Fortunately, they´d adjusted the timetable for the four main days of carnival (Sunday to Wednesday). We were informed that there´s a ferry every half an hour until 9pm. Before the official begin of the parade at 3pm, we walked around the city for a bit. If you just want to look at the buildings from the outside like we did, you´re done in an hour. What I found worth seeing was the Schœlcher library and St. Louis Cathedral.
The real highlight was the parade! I can´t put into words how much I loved experiencing this kind of carnival. It very hot and very loud and there were some quite annoying tourists, but it was absolutely beautiful. The time flew by and suddenly the sun was setting, and the parade came to an end. Filled with joy, we hopped on the 20-minute ferry-ride back to Anse à l’Âne.
Day of departure.
Our plan for the day:
- Buy two baguettes, eight pain au chocolat, two croissants and some stuff to try at the bakery. Accomplished!
- Eat all our (non-existent) leftovers for breakfast. Done!
- Take the ferry to Fort de France again to visit the covered markets. That didn´t go quite as planned, because the markets were just opening at 8:30am and honestly, they were all selling the same stuff. My favourite find was a small general store with the most random products selection. Consequently, we were back earlier than expected.
- Take a shower, pack our luggage and check out of the hotel. Check!
- Stay at Anse à l’Âne beach until around 2pm and drink a goodbye cocktail. That was the perfect end to this dream vacation! We ended up really liking this beach, even though it´s busy and there are a lot of restaurants.
- Clean and refuel our car at the McDonalds in Ducos (near the airport). You have to buy a card for 6 Euros at the service station to use the vacuum and the self-service car wash. Took us longer than expected but we got it done!
- Return the car at 4pm. ✔
- Catch our flight at 7pm to go to Paris Orly, take the shuttle bus to Paris CDG and fly back home to Munich.
That was it! We arrived on 5th of March at 2:30pm, tired but happy to be home. Well, not entirely happy because it was freezing…but yes, overall happy that everything had gone so smooth and we had spent such an amazing two weeks.
P.S.: No matter what the Air France staff tells you at the airport, it´s not enough to take your boarding pass to the bus driver of the shuttle between Paris Orly and Paris CDG and vice versa. You must get a separate bus ticket at the Air France transfer/info etc. centre. We were given wrong information twice and ended up waiting in line for the bus for nothing, because we hadn´t gone to the service centre beforehand.