Every country is unique in many ways — this applies not only to various local customs, knowing how to behave in a different culture, but also to the simple things like renting cars or scooters, and eating out. We learned a few things these past few days which were nowhere to be found when we researched our trip to Martinique.
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.
Getting Around Martinique
Walking is unfortunately mostly out of the question. The roads are narrow, most of them don’t have pavements, and it’s simply dangerous. There are two ways to travel the island: cars or scooters/mopeds.
Car and/or Scooter/Moped Rental
There are many places that rent cars. The usual suspects are Europcar, Avis, Budget, and similar, while the locals have their own rental places, which are significantly cheaper, up to two times in fact. The problem is that they have few cars, so you will need to book these in advance. It’s best to reserve you car about 2-4 weeks before arriving — schedule a pickup at the airport (about an hour after landing) and drop it off there some 3-4 hours before your flight back.
Note: Taxis are very expensive. A trip from Les Trois Ilets to the airport costs €50 easily.
You can also rent a car from a local on Carfully.fr. Make sure to make contact at least a month in advance, as they can be slow to write back, if they do at all. Four people that I messaged flat out ignored me.
Our suggested places to try first:
You can also rent a scooter / moped, but these are problematic for a numbers of reasons. The main one is rain — Martinique has showers on a daily basis, even in the dry season. The other one is safety — the roads are narrow and the potholes can be huge. Other drivers might also not be as careful as you.
If you plan to get a scooter to use it to move around the town you’re in, eg. Les Trois Ilets or Fort-de-France, then a 50 cc should be fine. Make sure to get a 125 or 150 cc model if you want to go outside of town — the roads are often very steep; 10% or steeper inclines can be found almost everywhere.
Martinique’s restaurants have strange working hours. They’re usually open from noon until 15:00 (3:00 p.m.), and then from 19:00 (7:00 p.m.) for dinner. Since the sun goes down around 18:00, and most people leave the beach at around 17:00, this usually means that you have to head back to your villa/room/hotel, and then go out to eat later in the evening. This is troublesome, especially if you travel to a far off beach for the whole day.
Today was a great example as to how inconvenient this can be. We spent the morning at Anse-a-l’Ane close to Les Trois Ilets. We weren’t yet hungry when we left to visit Anse Noire and Anse Dufour. Since we arrived a little past 15:00, we couldn’t grab anything to eat over there. The sun was to set at 18:06, hence we left early, missing dinner with a view of the beach.
On a more positive note, I had a small scare this morning, as I was browsing the shots I took the day before on my MacBook Pro. I was out on the terrace when I saw a bird flying straight at our large glass door. It crashed hard, bounced off, whacked me on the head, barely missed my Mac, and fell to the floor. It lay there for about a minute, motionless. I was afraid to touch it, so I looked on helplessly, racking my brain as to what I should do. Soon thereafter, it folded its wings and stood up, rolling its eyes up into its head — obviously in shock and pain. My wife, who had arrived a half-minute earlier to see what the ruckus was all about, sadly said that it will probably die soon. We gave it some water, completely stunned, and unsure as to what we should do. The poor guy just stood there for a good fifteen minutes, and then suddenly flew off!
I sincerely hope that poor bird is all right.