Martinique, nestled within the Lesser Antilles chain, is known for its diverse and dramatic geography. The eastern shore faces the tempestuous Atlantic, while the western shore cradles the calmer Caribbean. Each of the island's five bays are ripe for exploration, and intrepid visitors can still discover unnamed coves lined by beautiful beaches. Swimming is most popular at Trinite, and you can find quality scuba diving at Pointe Figuier. Martinique’s mountainous northern stretches are dense with tropical rain forests, home to a diversity of sea birds, hummingbirds, and various other island fauna. It’s possible to explore on your own, but many visitors will do well to hire a guide for their first time out in the wild; many a traveler has suffered from exposure after getting lost in the rugged underbrush and stifling heat.

Fort-de-France is a safe city that can still surprise. The capital features plentiful modern attractions—restaurants, galleries, cafes, and shops—alongside a rich cultural milieu of museums, churches, and historical sites. Visit the Musée Departemental d'Archeologie et de Prehistoire de la Martinique for a glimpse into the nation’s turbulent and complex history.