Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond

Best Martinique Shore Excursions

St. Pierre Martinique
Shore excursions include St. Pierre and Mount Pelee, in the background. © Martinique Tourist Board

excursions will cost around $50 to $100 U.S. dollars and can be ordered in advance with the cruise lines or via tour operator Web sites. Some have discounts for children and some do not.

The first and most obvious excursion offered by cruise lines and local operators is a walking tour of the cruise port at Fort-de-France, which also is the island’s capital.

Fort-de-France’s population of 100,000 people makes it the largest city in the French West Indies chain that includes Guadeloupe, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy.

Guided walks—or independent walks for the more adventurous—may take visitors to the capital’s historic neighborhoods, buildings with colonial and Creole architecture, the St. Louis Cathedral, Fort St. Louis, a neoclassical courthouse and the 12.5-acre La Savane park, which lies next to Fort St. Louis.

Another popular attraction is the Balata Botanical Gardens and its display of 3,000 species of flowers and tropical plants. The walking tour can be completed in less than two hours.

After the tour, visitors can wander the streets on their own to see more sights, shop or dine.

The countryside offers more shore excursions with a sense of adventure that range from three to four-plus hours in length.

The island has about 80 miles or 130 kilometers of hiking trails. Again thanks to heavy annual rains, Martinique has both dense rainforests and some popular waterfalls including La Fontaine Didier.

If ocean water is more appealing, visitors may be able to reach the island’s most popular and well-known beach in about an hour via excursion bus. Grande Anse des Salines lies on the southern coast; it is considered one of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Another nearby option is Pointe Marin.

A major natural excursion is Mount Pelée, an active volcano on the northern coast of the island that is famous for a 1902 eruption that destroyed the town of St. Pierre. Visitors will see not only the volcano but also the restored town, black sand beaches, excellent bay views and a visit to a rum distillery.

Closer to the port for people on a limited schedule is one of the oldest and most famous plantations in the Caribbean, Clement House Plantation, which is located due east of Fort-de-France. This historic rum plantation is the only plantation open to the public and offers gardens, examples of Creole life and presentations on the production of rum.

Other shore excursions include activities that can be found on most islands such as snorkeling and ATV rides through the city or countryside. These tours also last three to four hours.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the America.

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February 17, 2020