It’s summer time on the island of Martinique from January to June or so. This means that it rains less, there are fewer clouds in the sky, and… that’s about it. The temperature is practically the same all year round. But this year’s February is an anomaly.
Table of Contents
- Day One — Our Airbnb Host Was Nowhere to Be Found.
- Day Two — Like a Bloody Fire Engine!
- Day Three — Things You Need to Know About Renting Cars and Dining.
- Day Four — I Know Where the Rum’s Gone!
- Day Five — The Diamond Rock / Rocher Du Diamant.
- Day Six — A Beautiful Sunset.
- Day Seven — Beaches and Nudists.
- Day Eight — How to Avoid Crowded Beachs on the Weekends.
- Day Nine — The Volcano and Jardin de Balatan.
- Day Ten — Banana Museum.
- Day Eleven — Sunsets.
- Day Twelve — the One With Me Being Lazy.
- Day Thirteen — Les Trois Ilets, Pointe Du Bout, and the Museums.
- Day Fourteen — Anse Michel, Anse Trabuad, and Driving Down a Road Narrower Than Our Car.
- Day Fifteen — Astrophotography of the Night Sky with a Fuji X100T.
- Day Sixteen — Trying Some More Astrophotography with the Fuji X100T.
- Day Seventeen — Restaurant Pignon Nouvelle Vague in Les Trois Ilets.
- Day Eighteen & Nineteen — Probably the Best Vacation in My Life.
We were taking a taxi the other day, and I spoke to the driver about the haze in the air. He said that the weather is acting up this year. The haze is actually sand carried over from the Sahara. There are more clouds than usual too, and these are supposedly caused by El Nino. Since today was warm, but not as sunny as we expected, we decided to head over to ‘Habitation Clement‘ — a rum distillery just outside the town of Francois — before hitting the beach.
The distillery is open until 17:00, but I strongly recommend going in the morning — less crowds. A ticket costs €12 and an audio guide is included in the price. Make sure to take your time to walk around the park before heading into the area with the old distillery — the sights are worth it.
The first thing you’ll encounter are the old warehouses full of rum barrels. The smell coming from them is overwhelmingly, and stunningly, pleasant.
The oldest barrels that I could find dated back to 1950, although they probably have even older ones hidden somewhere.
Personally I found the old factory to be the most interesting. Well… apart from the rum tasting, but more on that later on.
The vats were truly impressive… What surprised me was that most of the machinery was actually in working condition, and turned on for show.
I think my wife summed up the old distillery nicely:
The lengths that people will go to to get drunk are amazing.
‘Habitation Clement’ is reportedly the ‘second best’ distillery on Martinique, although I have no clue under what criteria. It was however visited by many famous officials, including Henry Kissinger, George Bush and Francois Mitterrand.
The old buildings — the house, kitchens, stables, and so on — are open to the public, and well worth a visit. Naturally, the house of Mr Homere Clement was the most impressive, complete with a radio, telephone, and typewriter. It was around 250 years old.
Make sure to check out the ancient, gigantic trees outside. Don’t forget to say hello to their dwellers!
The tour ends in the boutique, where the visitors get a chance to taste all the various rums, including many of the older ones. I actually regret driving there by car — it would have been much more preferable to spend a few hours tasting the various flavours and vintages. The oldest one officially available for purchase was from 1950 — a 0.7 litre bottle cost a mere €1250. The 15-year-old was a bit cheaper, a €90, while a 6- and 10-year-old blend in a beautiful bottle would set you back €50. There were naturally many more to choose from…
Fun fact — You are allowed to transport 4.5 litres of rum per person when leaving Martinique.
I need another suitcase.
We spent the rest of the day driving around the south part of Martinique, visiting a few beaches, and having a lovely lunch in Sainte-Luce.
Another perfect day.