Martinique yacht charter
Martinique is the second-largest island of the Lesser Antilles after Guadeloupe – a volcanic creation covering 1,100 square kilometres and shaped like an almond. It’s densely populated with a diverse array of inhabitants representing its colourful history.
The majority of the islanders are of African descent dating from the time of slavery, with much European heritage also apparent. When slavery was abolished in 1848, an influx of Indian Hindus added to the mix, and latterly a number of Syrio-Lebanese have also made Martinique their home. Lastly a growing number of citizens from mainland France have made the journey across the pond to settle here.
Martinique’s thriving economy is still largely in the hands of the descendants of the plantation owners, and high-end tourism is not the focus here. You won’t find a large choice of designer stores, smart restaurants or five-star resorts (although there are some.) Instead visitors come here to enjoy its diverse natural beauty, rich culture and history.
Napoleon’s Josephine was born here and the island’s old capital St Pierre was known as the ‘Paris of the West Indies’ until the eruption of 1902 destroyed the town and killed 30,000 inhabitants in a matter of minutes.
Traditional Martiniquais food is a creole mixture of African, French and Indian influences – hearty and spicy; you can also find some good classically French eateries. Of the few exclusive resorts some are in old planter’s homes with an elegant colonial feel, great for relaxing after days spent exploring the island.
There are many hiking trails through forest, up the volcano, along rivers and the coastline. Sporty types can enjoy golf, surfing (plus kite- and wind-surfing) as well as swimming, diving and snorkelling. A voyage by charter yacht is an ideal way to explore the smaller, often uninhabited islets that are also found around Martinique.