Martinique Adventure Activities

 

Activities for Adventure/Eco-travelers & Nature Lovers

David Rentsch

President, Cruise Holidays

Martinique spoils both hard-core adventure travelers and soft-adventure nature lovers with a plethora of “green” and “blue” settings, from the national park to – and into – the sea. Its gear shops and tour operators are the first rate as the scenery, offering rentals, instruction and guided tours in all manner of activities.

Hiking: About 20 trails traverse all quadrants of Martinique, including the flat, sandy south, the windy Caravelle Peninsula on the east coast, the forested flanks of Mount Pelee (where hikers have a choice of approaches and routes), and the sparsely populated, lost-in-time north coast. The government keeps these trails in good condition and produces detailed trail maps for independent types, but many visitors opt for guided hikes, and nature walks.


Canyoneering: With so many rivers and waterfalls flowing off the mountains, Martinique is a big draw for fans of canyoneering, which involves descending rivers, rapids, and waterfalls by floating, rappelling, swimming – whatever is appropriate at a given place. The Martinican canyoneering guides emphasize safety, and they offer experiences not just for seasoned athletes but for absolute beginners as well.

Mountain Biking: Since Martinique is part of France, then inevitably, there is bicycling. And if the island has mountains and hiking trails, then that’s where much of the biking takes place. Again, bike shops provide excellent gear and excursions for beginners as well as gung-ho mountain bikers.


Horseback Riding: A dozen of more stables offer instruction and trail rides in various parts of Martinique. This is a beautiful way to explore the island; it gets visitors away from the main roads and helps them experience Martinique the way local people did well into the 20th century.

Many, although certainly not all, of the green activities take place in the national park, a 270-sq.-mile playground that covers more than half of the island. Indeed, maybe it’s better to use the plural word, “playgrounds,” because this protected 60 percent of Martinique includes the volcanos and virgin rain forests of the north, the east coast’s Caravelle Peninsula, and in the south, pristine Pointe des Salines, La Savane des Petrifications, and Diamant. To say that these areas represent different ecosystems with different scenery and recreational options would be an understatement.


The choice of blue/maritime activities is as enormous as the variety of eco-systems, which include beaches, reefs, wrecks, calm water, wind-blown seas and many kinds of game fish. Here is just a peek at what green and blue activities await adventure and eco-tourists in Martinique.

Golf: The Golf de l’Esperance country club course is not only gorgeous, as befits Martinique, but ti’s a par 70, 7,262-yard layout designed by the great Robert Trent Jones, Jr.


Tennis: In addition to hotel facilities, there are about 40 tennis clubs in Martinique. That’s an astonishing amount of tennis for one island, but remember, tennis, like canyoneering and bicycling, is one of those pursuits beloved by the French, whether their roots lie back in Europe or in Martinique.

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