A short recap of the end of week long vacation to Martinique, as well as some photos:
The island, Club Med, and the trip as a whole far exceeded my expectations. I know my Dad enjoyed it as well. Martinique is a beautiful and unique island, and I think that there’s something for everyone who’d ever want to visit.
That being said, I was never an "island" kind of person. The sort of places that usually attract me are cities with a rich history and culture, or the "outdoors" type of destinations – mountains, hiking trials, national parks, and so on. The idea of sitting around and doing nothing on an island for a week never really appealed to me that much.
But my assumption about whether or not I would enjoy a week at one of these "all inclusive" island resorts turned out to be wrong. Sure, there was plenty of time to relax and "do nothing", but a trip to Martinique can offer much more than that. You can explore the rain forest, hike to the peak of Mount Pelée visit the rum distilleries and museums, and get a feel for daily life the island by going into the cities and villages and seeing the different crops that help support the island’s economic health.
As for Club Med Buccaneers Creek – if you’re ever going to visit Martinique, it’s an ideal place to stay. All the meals and drinks where included and unlimited, with snacks in between. The resort offered free snorkeling, kayaking, water skiing, tennis, and other sports into the package. There was a gym, a spa (which cost extra), and free nightly entertainment. The staff there go out of there way to keep you socializing with the other people staying there. Of course this was a bit difficult for me being one of the few people there who couldn’t speak French, but at least I had the staff to talk to. The crowd was a bit older than I was, and mostly couples. It wasn’t until the last night that I met a single girl who was age. The beach was the nicest one I had ever been on, and from what I’ve heard it was one of the nicest beaches on the island. The rooms were nice, although a bit warm. Overall, I’d give Buccaneers Creek Club Med an 8 out of 10. Had they offered internet in the rooms and better transportation to and from the airport, it would have definitely been a ten.
The trip back home was long, but not bad. We had another long layover in Puerto Rico which just gave another excuse to explore San Juan. You’ll find a few photos of that towards the bottom of this post.
A few weeks later, I think I may want to visit a second time to dig a
little deeper into what the island has to offer. But with so many
other places to see, only time will tell if that ever happens. One
thing I found to be unfortunate was that most of the visitors staying
at Club Med knew very little about the island they were on. I bet that
many of them never even stepped foot off the resort. I could go on a
rant about this, but I’ll save that for another day.
Our tour around the island in a rental car gave us a good glimpse of the volcano and the freedom to explore areas we wouldn’t have been able to visit otherwise. But we thought a second round would be worthwhile, so we went along on a guided jeep tour with other people who were staying at Club Med.
There was a caravan of 4 jeeps, each with its own tour guide. Our tour guide (who reminded me a bit of Morgan Freeman), was the only one out of the group who could speak English, so we had two other non-French speaking visitors ride with us.
The tour initially took us through flooded roads and banana fields, where we stopped for a bit and got a lesson on how the crops are managed and how important it is to the economy of Martinique.
We gradually took a turn towards the north, where we once again found ourselves driving through a rain forest. But this time we took a different route, allowing us to see few places that we hadn’t before.
We stopped for lunch at a traditional creole restaurant somewhere in the middle of the island. It turned into an international talk about the US election – with Germans, French, and French Canadians all asking us questions. We sampled the rum and tried some local food – which was all in all not that bad, but definitely not my favorite.
As we left the restaurant the clouds lifted from the top of Mount Pelée, giving us a rare glimpse at the peak of the volcano. We stopped for a short break at Morne-Rouge for an opportunity to snap photos, the same place we had visited a day earlier, only this time we could see more than a few feet in front of our faces.
We made a short stop at the Saint James Distillery & Rum Museum before making our way south down along the Atlantic Coast. I was half asleep at this point, (having stayed out pretty late at the bar the night before), so I was eager to make it back to the club to relax.
Lounging around at Club Med has it’s perks – unlimited food during your meals, snacks available in between, beautiful beaches, a swimming pool, water sports… it’s all very relaxing.
But it’s a bit like being in a bubble. Just like anywhere one might visit, you have to leave the resort to get a feel for what a place is really like. So to break away from the routine of simple relaxation, we picked up a rental car for a drive to the north of the island to Mount Pelée.
Mount Pelée is a dormant volcano that has an elevation of about 4,583 feet, making it the highest point on the island. What really makes this volcano interesting is that it was the source of the worst volcanic eruption of the 20th century. In May of 1902, after several days of increasing activity, the volcano erupted killing about 30,000 people, most of whom resided in the town of St. Pierre. Only two people in the direct path of the volcano survived, one of which was a prisoner in a poorly ventilated dungeon-like cell.
We stuck to the coast on our way up north, traveling through Marin, Fort-de-France, and St. Pierre before we took our turn inland towards the mountains. In the pic above you can see me standing on one of the black sand beaches just to the south of St. Pierre.
Quickly after the turn inland, the landscape changed from sunny fields, beaches and palm trees to a thick, wet rain forest. To get to Mount Pelée we had to drive through a village called le Mourne-Rouge to a steep, narrow road that takes you up the mountain side to the beginning of the hiking trail. We hadn’t exactly planned on taking the hike to the top, and it was rainy, so we paused for lunch at a tiny restaurant that was at the end of the road while debating whether or not to give it a try (we were advised not to without a guide).
While we were eating lunch there was this ratty looking dog wandering around the parking lot that kept following us around looking for attention. He didn’t look like he was very well taken care of at all. We felt bad for poor guy but there wasn’t much we could do.
By the time we had finished our lunch, the clouds had cleared a bit and we decided to try hiking up towards the top. Unfortunately we only got about a half hour in before the thick clouds returned and we decided we should go back. But it was still a great experience, and something I’d definitely do again.
Late Tuesday my Dad and I decided to take a hike to the nearby village of Sainte Anne. There wasn’t much too it aside from a few bars, cafe’s, souvenir shops, and a beach, but the buildings and views made the trek well worth it.
This was a cemetary along the coast. It overlooks the bay our resort is on, and if you walked towards the ledge you could see exactly where we’re staying. You see a lot of these around the island. The graves are very ornate and are usually either in a pure white tile or a light blue.
My Dad in Sainte Anne. Behind him you can see Club Med about to receive a downpour.
A typical building in Martinique. Below you’ll see the bull that greets visitors near the entrance to the resort.
A bit about me:
Dad, travel junkie, Beatles fan, & married to the lovely Kelly Henri. Work-wise I'm a Marketing Strategist and Agency Owner with 15+ years specializing in digital analytics, marketing automation and inbound marketing, & web development. Read my blog, follow me on one of the networks below, or contact me for work.Read on...