With its lush mountain rainforests, fish-bearing reefs and a good dose of French Creole culture, this Caribbean department of France has its own I don’t know what.
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Average water temperature: 70 to 80 degrees.
How to dress: Short suit to 3 mm full suit
Average of 80 feet
When to go: All year round
To know more: Martinique diving centre
Rising 3 miles off the south coast, the 574-foot rock is the island’s tent dive site. Follow a series of steep ledges falling on a 52-foot geological fault, then cross the rocky tunnel leading to entangled rocks encrusted with anemones, sea fans and hard corals.
The colours and textures of this 40-foot plateau evoke a magical and flourishing land suffocated by barrel sponges, sea whips and a riot of hard corals. Walk over the ledge to the 180-foot wall and follow the current while observing the snapper, stingrays and turtles.
The “Pompeii of the Caribbean” is known for its 1902 eruption that killed 40,000 islanders, but the climbing of the 4,583-foot high caldera, covered with ferns and clouds, has a way to temper its infamous history. Take the popular 7-mile Fin Road to the edge of the crater and its 360-degree views of the world’s summit.
One of the best wreckage dives on the island, this three-masted schooner was launched in 1993 and rests at 120 feet. The ship’s hold, main deck, forward cabin and well-preserved wheelhouse are accessible for exploration, and there is a lot of action with abundant creatures such as the kingpin, Java moray, barracuda, trevally and rays.
Created as a 17th century colonial sugar factory, the immense estate is now a biological reserve in the shade of Mount Pelee. Explore its tropical forest along a shaded trail along a stream, then enjoy the best organic menu on the island at Habitation’s restaurant.
On the north coast of the island, divers thread a natural labyrinth of canyons, caves and passages. For a sense of intrigue, take a look at the remains of a submarine wreck whose anonymity is the subject of local threads.
Want to discover an unspoilt part of the Caribbean? Hang on to your hikers and discover beautiful beaches, a unique dry forest, talkative birds, mangroves, an 18 million year old volcanic geology and magnificent views along the rolling hills of this 6 mile protected peninsula.
If you love rum, don’t miss a guided tour of Martinique’s most famous heritage brand, whose sweet elixir recently won honours among the 10,000 participants in the Brussels World Competition, the “World Wine and Spirits Championship”.
During the eruption of Mount Pelee, the explosion sank a number of ships moored in the bay, and today 14 wrecks at depths of up to 180 feet are on the diving circuit. Most divers smile when they come across the Raisinier, a transport barge full of resident marine life.
There is no better way to spend your last day of decorating than to sail the rugged Atlantic coast of François Bay on a catamaran, with stops at several “white shoals” to the knees, like Josephine’s Bath, where the crew provides rum punch to semi-submerged guests, surrounded by inquisitive tropical fish.