The Girlfriends Getaway Guide To The Magical Island Of Martinique
Looking for a destination with beautiful beaches, rich culture, lush jungles filled with exotic flowers and plenty of Instagrammable moments for you and your girls? Look no further than the gorgeous affordable Caribbean island of Martinique. North of St. Lucia and south of Dominica, Martinique is the sister island to Guadalupe and a distant cousin of France in the Caribbean Sea.
There’s so much appeal and charm in the undiscovered island that made it the perfect destination for planning an epic getaway for me and my girls. Here’s how to plan your own girlfriends getaway on the island proudly dubbed “Martinique Magnifique.”
How To Get There
Martinique is more accessible than ever thanks to Norwegian Air’s discounted and direct flights from the east coast. The flight, which is less than three hours from cities such as New York, Fort Lauderdale and Montreal runs seasonally for the winter season, from November through the end of March. Those flights complement existing six-times-weekly service from Miami to Martinique on American Airlines along with recently-launched flights from Atlanta to Fort-de-France.
The “Low Fare” fare type by Norwegian doesn’t permit an advance seat assignment or include checked baggage, but is totally worth it for the quick flight that is less than approximately $300 roundtrip (just make sure you’re equipped with water and snacks if you don’t want to pay for them on board).
Where To Stay
Anyone can stay in a hotel when they travel abroad, but for a true, authentic experience, you’ll want to stay in a HomeAway villa when you visit Martinique. The company, which is a vacation rental marketplace with more than two million properties in 190 countries, offers a variety of options when visiting the island. We searched endlessly for a space that could fit our group of seven until we found the perfect beach escape. Located on the water, and equipped with its own butler and concierge service, we couldn’t have asked for more beautiful or comfortable accommodations.
What To Do
Did someone say rum? At La Mauny Distillery, you’ll get a taste of some of the best rum that the island has to offer. Started in 1749, this is the largest distillery in the French West Indies and the largest distiller of rum in the Caribbean.
Habitation Clément is not only a rum house but also one of the most important heritage estates in Martinique. During your tour, you’ll not only indulge in the estate’s complimentary rum tasting (try the rum cream!), but also take a tour around the estate’s aging cellars and botanical garden, which are all open to visitors.
Gilbert Lacrose wanted a way to etch Martinican history in the spirits of islanders forever. He did so by creating La Savane des Esclaves, a typical Maroon village that replicates the years immediately post slavery on the island. His work is not only beautiful, it’s an honorable contribution to commemorating the history of all of the slaves, who otherwise would go unrecognized (like many slaves across the globe). It’s also a true reflection of the enduring and suffering that occurred for people of African descent — and a reminder of how they never sat in their sorrows. La Savane des Enclaves is a beautiful tour that everyone should experience to get a better understanding of the island’s culture and history.
The Slave Memorial
High on a hill in southwest Martinique are 20 white stone effigies, silently facing Diamond Beach and the Caribbean Sea. Perhaps one of the most chilling experiences you may have on the island, you’ll truly feel close to the ancestors when learning about the 1830 catastrophe where a slave ship failed to properly anchor in Anse Cafard and careened into Martinique’s Diamond Rock Mountain, killing many of the passengers and sailors as well as the slaves who were chained to the cargo hold. This experience is emboldened in the history of Martinique and necessary to visit. The monument is also a stark reminder that history for Blacks across the Caribbean and Americas is not much different anywhere you go, and it’s an enlightening and eye-opening journey you’ll want to experience with your girlfriends.
A spa day is necessary on every girlfriends getaway. And you and your girls will get your life at Cap Est Lagoon Resort and Spa. Offering a variety of treatments such as facials, massages and makeup applications, you can plan to spend the day here at the spa’s outdoor pool, jacuzzi and outdoor saunas. It’s the relaxation that you’ll need on any island getaway, and the service/staff does not disappoint in catering to your every need.
Where To Eat
Quite possibly the best thing about being on an island, is the fresh seafood and local fare. Le Zanzibar, which is owned by a Black woman, serves up a menu that features French and Caribbean specialties that will delight all of your taste buds. The famous accra (battered fish bites) is a delicious must-order dish here and at every restaurant you visit on the island. Have a cocktail on the main level and then head upstairs for the beautiful ambiance.
Ti Sable in Martinique would be the equivalent of Nikki Beach in Barbados. If you’re looking for an opportunity to dine, dance and enjoy the beach all in one place, this is your spot. Location is everything, and this beachfront restaurant is a must-add to any visit. It also serves up some of the best food on the island.
For more information on traveling to Martinique, visit us.martinique.org.