25th of February
Another action-filled day lay ahead of us. At around 10am, we had made it to “Gorge de la Falaise”. The “gorge” can best be described as a narrow canyon leading up to a waterfall. The only way to visit this sight is with a guide in groups of typically around 15 people. There´s no need to book this one-hour tour in advance, everything is organized on sight. It costs 10 Euros per person and is suitable for anyone who feels safe swimming and climbing short distances. Bring swimwear, trainers and a waterproof camera. Everything else can be left in the car and the key stays with the “receptionist” at the entrance. The gorge itself it wonderful, however, I got quite cold as we waited for everyone to take pictures while being wet and in the shade. All in all, a fun activity, but quite the mass management.
Around midday, we drove up the Eastern coast to Grand´Rivière. On the way, we passed the J.M. rhum distillery, which we spontaneously decided to pay a visit. Walking around this informative and beautiful property is free, as is the rhum testing at the end. Want was especially fun for me, was smelling rhums with different flavours from vanilla to tabacco. I can only recommend this distillery, but their shop is overpriced. We saw their rhum for a lot cheaper in the surrounding supermarkets.
In a parking lot in Basse-Pointe, we spotted a food truck offering a “plat du jour”, the dish of the day, for 9 Euros. The chicken with noodles and couscous was delicious, and the portion size was without a doubt big enough for two people. Finally in Grand’Rivière, the beach was our first point of interest and actually the only one… Grand’Rivière does not offer much to see or do. Nonetheless, we spent pleasant hours with our feet in the unbelievably black sand and our eyes on the blue of the water. There are no toilets/showers or bars as most of the visitors are locals. It´s a very quiet beach until school ends and the kids come to play there.
Now that we´d seen everything in the North, nothing stopped us from moving down South to the Presqu`ile de la Caravelle. On our way to our new accommodation, we came across “Caraibe Price”, a supermarket operating in and around Sainte-Marie. Surely one of the best supermarkets we could find in Martinique. As we were already in Sainte-Marie, we took some sunset shots at the beach before ending our day at the “Hotel Le Manguier” in Tartane.
26th of February
Strengthened by a breakfast of pain au chocolat, croissants and pineapple, we put on our trainers, packed a small lunch and drove to the starting point of the popular Presqu’ile de la Caravelle hike. The parking is in front of Chateau Dubuc, so that´s what we searched for in google maps. Even though we arrived at 8am, there were already quite some cars and we were happy to find a regular parking spot. Parking is one of the reasons why it´s good to arrive early. When we came back at around 11am, cars were parked all along the road up to the first parking area, which is about 1.5kms from the starting point of the hike.
We decided to walk clockwise, which I can only encourage you to do as well if you want to do the full hike (Grand Sentier). There´s also a short version, but in my opinion, it skips the most beautiful parts. When walking like we did, you end your hike with the mangrove forest and you´re less exposed to the midday heat. We really loved the hike and the amazing views it offers of the island. There´s the possibility to visit Chateau Dubuc (5 Euros per adult, 3 Euros reduced), but what we saw from the outside couldn´t convince us to pay to walk around the ruins. Before heading home for lunch, we stopped at Anse l’Étang, which is said to be one of the best beaches of the peninsular. To our surprise, there we had most of this beautifully wild beach to ourselves and parking wasn´t a problem either. We spent the afternoon eating leftovers, checking out the boulangerie in Tartane and soaking up the sun.
27th of February
5:30 am. Our alarm clock awakens us. It´s time for a morning swim and breakfast at the Anse l’Étang. We´ve got the whole beach to ourselves again and as the clouds around us turned cotton candy pink from the sunrise, we couldn´t resist taking a dip.
At 9am, we´re in Le Robert at “Kayak de Robert”. We book a kayak for four hours and start exploring the area. On and around Ilet Chancel (about 30 minutes from the rental place) we come across starfish, iguanas and small beaches to take a break from kayaking. The time passes quicker than expected and at 1pm we´re back at the kayak rental place. Kayak de Robert: very nice staff, costs 15 Euros per person from 9am to 1pm or 1pm to 5pm and 22 Euros per person from 9am to 5pm. Parking available, but no toilets.
We then found a beach at Le Vauclin called Pointe Faula (popular among kite/wind surfers), where we spent the afternoon relaxing. Before checking into our AirBnB for the next three nights, we drove into the marina of Le Marin. Eating a sorbet de coco, we watched the sun set over the bay filled with countless boats of all shapes and sizes.
28th of February
I love waking up early, especially when it comes as easy as on this holiday. We´ve successfully kept our rhythm pf waking up at 6am, eating breakfast and getting out of the house at 7am. This beautiful morning, we got some “baguette epi” and “pain” at “Douceurs Marinoises” in Le Marin and drove towards “Les salines” in Sainte-Anne, where we parked our car (at the end of the road). We then went on the “Savane des Pétrifications” hike. This easy yet stunning hike leads through forest and over cliffs along the coast. It isn´t what you´d expect from the Caribbean by any means, but this surprising change of landscape is really worth the around two-hour adventure. You´re rewarded with amazing beaches on each side of the nature reserve. “Anse Trabaud”, a wild, quiet beach in the North and “Grand Anse des Salines”, the most famous beach in the South. It´s very calm, but busy.
Cap Macré was our pick for the afternoon. Personally, I think it´s among my top three beaches here. Few people, fine white sand, turquoise water, pleasant waves, plenty of (palm) trees for shade. Just perfect!