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2013 Caribbean Hotspot: 5 Surprises in Martinique

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4. The next Caribbean Hotspot for Eco-Adventure

The green movement is transitioning to a “get in or get lost” state, but Martinique is only getting ahead. Caribbean World Magazine named Martinique the “best eco island.” Those in the tourism business definitely agree, and are taking advantage as eco resorts and experiences are popping up in handfuls. If you really want the full eco experience, book the tree house at Domaine de Robinson. Another amazing option is Le Hameau du Morne des Cadets, the first agritourism experience on the island. The owner, “Uncle Leon,” leads Martinique in organic cultivation and invites his guests to learn how to grow, farm, cook, and live organically under a lunar calendar. If you have your heart set on an all-inclusive or art hotel, book a “Green Gardening Weekend” at Slave Savannah. Slave Savannah offers an authentic view into the history of Martinique’s slavery, and is completely sustainable as it once was. I loved their medicinal garden with ancient remedies, attracting locals and tourists alike.

Slave Savannah founder, Gilbert Larose, wearing a traditional Bakoua

Martinique’s natural wonders are a spectacle on their own. Wildlife lovers can spot iguanas on Chancel Island or puffins on Diamond Rock. For a swim, discover the small beach, Anse Dufour, where sea turtles might join you.

Martinique boasts 31 well-marked trails totaling more than 80 miles. You can walk “Fes Gorges de la Falaise” in the north and end up at a gorgeous cliff surrounded waterfall and lagoon. For the more daring, you can hike the majestic Mt. Pelée (a 4500 ft active volcano,) or go canyoning in the “slave canals” of the north. From the island’s idyllic white sand beaches to its lush rainforest, I never met a view I didn’t like.

The beaches of Martinique change color depending on the location. You can beach hop from volcanic dark silvery sand to white flour in just a few hours. Beach sports such as kite surfing, yole boating, and kayaking are easily accessible whether you’re looking for lessons, group outings, or equipment rental. If you find yourself enjoying “Les Salines,” a famous beach in the south, listen for a bell. Find the elderly woman ringing it, and try her homemade coconut ice cream.

Laurent Valére’s Anse Cafard Slave Memorial

Divers will find Martinique’s waters to be better than they could have ever imagined, as the island harbors some of the world’s most underrated sites. Beginners and experts alike can purchase the Madinina Pass and redeem it at any of the 12 PADI certified locations on the island. Skilled adventure divers can pass under Diamond Rock in a cavern stretching from one end to the other. That one is over my head, but there’s one dive site I just can’t get my mind off: Laurent Valére’s sculpture Manmandlo. It is a giant face that was placed on the ocean floor of St. Pierre’s bay. He currently has two faces in the bay and is working on a third…as if I need another excuse to return to Martinique. There are also immense wrecks in the bay, so a full day could certainly be spent diving this location.