Enjoy the Ocean in Martinique
One moment you’re deep in seemingly impenetrable jungle, hiking towards the pinnacle of a volcano. The next, you’re hopping from one secluded bay or secret cove to the next, feet deep in soft white sand and your eyes cast out over an endless blue sea. That’s Martinique for you. Here’s how to enjoy the water here.
Arrondissement of Saint-Pierre, Martinique
Imagine that beautifully serene bay as a boiling cauldron of death. It’s hard to believe, but that was the case during the 1902 eruption of Mt. Peleé on the island of Martinique. Hot magma rising from the earth’s core and a pyroclastic flow speeding down from Mt. Pelée left nowhere to run. It was a tremendous tragedy costing the lives of over 30,000 residents in under 2 minutes. Now, just south of town there’s a gorgeous overlook that grants the view above. I could spend hours there, Ti’ punch in hand, gazing back at the idyllic beauty the new St. Pierre has become.
The colonial town of St. Pierre, on Martinique’s west coast, has a colorful past. Rich from the earnings of the sugar and rum trades, it was once considered the Paris of the Caribbean—until 1902, when it was destroyed by the violent eruption of the island’s largest volcano, Mount Pelée. A volcano museum in St. Pierre displays items plucked from the rubble and historic photos of the town before and immediately after the eruption. Today, the fine church with historic displays bears testament to the town’s comeback.
Anse Ceron, Martinique
The coastline around Mt. Pelée is marked by crescents of rich black sand, a stark difference from the white-sand beaches of other parts of the island. These unique and secluded beaches come in varying shades, from light gray at Anse Turin to darker black at Anse Céron. But all offer stunning scenery, with calm, blue waters and verdant volcanic slopes rising up from the coast.
Pnt des Salines, Sainte-Anne, Martinique
Martinique can be busy in places—that’s the price you pay for paradise, I suppose—but Les Salines Beach can be yours and yours alone if you’re one of the early risers. One of the most iconic stretches of sand on Martinique, Les Salines is enjoyed by many revelers during holidays and peak season, but few folk arrive early in the morning—when the sun is still soft, the surf gentle, and the sand all your own.