This winter, are you planning a winter getaway to a Caribbean? A short getaway is supposed to be three things: easy travel, cheap, and unique. I present to you, Martinique! With a popular demand and a commitment to better tourism, Norwegian Air just opened direct flight routes from Washington D.C. (BWI), New York (JFK), Boston (BOS), to Fort-de-France (FDF) of Martinique. I already established that Norwegian Air is great for European travel, and now it’s the best option for a Caribbean getaway!
Travel: Martinique is an overseas region of France. Which means you will be entering France (European Union) and using the Euro. There are not much of Caribbean indigenous people however, now most of the population is dependents from enslaved Africans and a small portion of Beke people (decedents from early European settlers, who were born in Martinique). As you can see, some complex history lies in this island.
History: The Slave Savannah, La Pagerie Museum, Saint Pierre
Martinique is a Caribbean island but it is also a part of France. It’s an interesting fact. A lot has happened in this small Caribbean island over the centuries, and the best way to experience is to visit museums and meet people.
The Slave Savannah (La Savane des Esclaves) is an open air museum created by Gilbert Larose. “Without help.” he said. Gilbert’s passion resonates with his words. He’s a descendent from enslaved Africans. This small village is a replica of the life of slaves who escaped from the plantation to live free, off the land. The Antan Lontan Village, the name Larose gave his settlement, reveals much about this major element in Martinique’s history and culture, with food tastings and artisan demonstrations.
La Pagerie Museum is the birthplace of Marie Joseph Rose Tascher de la Pagerie, who was the wife of Napoleon who became Empress Josephine. This was once a sugar cane plantation and a factory. A picturesque stone building, formerly the family kitchen, has been turned into a museum containing Josephine’s childhood bed, her life story, and other memorabilia.
The devastating eruption of Mt Pelée in 1902 buried the biggest city on the island at that time, Saint Pierre. About 30,000 were killed. It’s often called as “Pompeii of Martinique” due to the similarity. There are a museum and ruins to learn about the incident. The story of one guy who survived the disaster is just fascinating (he was locked up in a prison at the time of the eruption, which ended up saving his life.)
Beach: Anse d’Arlet
It’s the Caribbean after all; some beach time is key. Head down to the beach of Grande Anse d’Arlet for a relaxing afternoon. Interestingly, although there are several bars and restaurants along the water, this is a residential area. There’s no private beach in Martinique (yet, and hopefully for a long time). The town of Anse d’Arlet is also where you can see the picturesque church that’s ‘typical’ shot of the island.
Rum: Ti’ Punch
Martinique was known for sugarcane and now it’s the land of fine rum made with sugarcane. Most of the sugarcane made in Martinique is used for production of rhum agricole (French for cane juice rum). The difference between Martinique’s rum and the others is the locally produced sugarcane as the ingredient. Many other rums are made with imported molasses, but not in Martinique.
My favorite way to drink rum is Ti’ Punch, which is one of the most poplar mix in French-speaking Caribbean islands. It’s traditionally made with white rhum agricole, cane sugar, and lime, but it can be replaced with aged rhum agricole (dark rum). I didn’t know much about the rum and we bought back two bottles of rhum agricole (white and dark), so you can see how much we enjoyed it.
People are not afraid to use colors here. I loved it. To celebrate the inauguration of the flights, they trowed a small party at the Fort-de-France airport. Every flight should land like this! The dress, makeup, and jewelry, they love using bright colors. In the buildings, accessories, and art works, I thoroughly enjoyed the bright colors of Martinique.
Want to travel to Martinique now? Go to Norwegian’s website and plan your trip!
Disclosure: Runaway Juno Media was invited to join the inaugural flight from BWI to Fort de France. As always, all opinions are strictly my own.