Last week, as I was on the beach preparing to go swim in the ocean, I started exchanging a few words with an old man who had just come out of the water. I asked him how the water was – although looking at its transparence I had no doubt of his response. A big smile illuminated his whole face as he answered: “Incredible, as usual”.
When we think of the Caribbean, we immediately envision beautiful, post-card like, fine sand beaches and turquoise water. And indeed, if that’s why you come to Martinique, you won’t be disappointed. However, to me, the uniqueness of this island resides in the incredible diversity of such a small territory.
Wild untouched black sand beaches to the north. Idyllic white or even pink sand beaches to the south. Crystal clear water behind the coral reefs on the Atlantic side. On the Caribbean side, deep blue waters where you can dive to observe a multicolor fauna and flora, or see dolphins playing in the waves. Sugar cane plantations, tropical forests, rivers, waterfalls, volcanoes (among which one is still active ). All in 436 square miles – that is just over about 130 square miles than NYC.
This diversity also beautifully reveals itself in the people and their traditions. Indeed, Martinique stands as one of the few French territories in the archipelago and thus possesses a fascinating mix of West Indian and French influences. You can find your perfect baguette for breakfast, but here you’ll enjoy it with a delicious typical guava jam.
Martinique represents a unique experience of ethnic, cultural and natural diversity. No matter how much I travel, how many beautiful places I discover, it will never cease to inspire me with awe. I might very well be biased, but I couldn’t agree more with the old man who later left me saying, “This is the most beautiful island in the world”.