If the chill of winter has already got you down, consider booking a trip to Martinique in the Southern Caribbean. Whether by cruise ship or by plane, it’s never been easier to reach this tiny French-speaking island and you’ll be glad you did when you arrive to the warm breezes, culinary delights and natural wonders that make Martinique a must-visit destination in the Caribbean. Take a look at five reasons to warm up in Martinique this winter.
1. More cruise ships are making Martinique a port of call
A number of cruise ships have added a stop at Martinique’s Fort-de-France to their itineraries, including the Carnival Splendor and Norwegian Pearl, both of which are making their first-ever stops at the Cruise Village in Martinique this winter. Royal Caribbean’s much-feted Quantum of the Seas will also make port in Fort-de-France starting in January. Meanwhile, Disney Cruise Lines recently added Martinique to Caribbean itineraries for sails in 2016.
2. You’ll find an abundance of outdoor adventures
Whether you want to hike across miles of nature trails, go wreck diving to explore 19th century shipwrecks that sunk in Saint-Pierre’s Bay following a volcanic eruption or try out kitesurfing or boating, it’s easy to spend every day of your visit to Martinique engaging in new adventures across the island. New this year: skydiving. Thanks to Air Colibri, visitors can now experience the beauty and colors of Martinique with a 20-minute flight and a tandem dive from 3500 meters up in the sky.
3. Gourmet cooking classes offer immersive culinary experiences
Martinique has long been known as an exciting gastronomic destination due in large part to its French-Creole influences. New culinary packages offered by Les Ateliers Medelices now enable unsurpassed cooking experiences. Foodies can choose from small group sessions with renowned chef Jean-Charles Bredas, who was selected as one of the Four Best Caribbean Chefs by Bon Appetit magazine, or classes in local Martiniquan kitchens to create authentic island dishes.
4. A number of prize-winning rum distilleries call Martinique home
Considered the Rum Capital of the World, you’ll find 10 distilleries on the small island of Martinique and you can visit them all along the “Route of Rum.” Even better, many distilleries sit alongside sugar cane plantations with colonial mansions and exquisite gardens. Musée du Rhum Saint-James offers guided tours on plantation trains through the sugar cane fields detailing how rum is made. Meanwhile, Habitation Clement features an art gallery, audio guides (in English and French), and of course, rum tastings.
5. Hotels and villas offer a unique French-Caribbean style and authenticity
You won’t find chain hotels or mega resorts in Martinique. Instead, you’ll find mostly boutique hotels and luxury villas that reflect a level of authenticity not found on other islands in the Caribbean. Even Club Med Buccaneer’s Creek in Sainte-Anne boasts Creole spa treatments and a French chef who created the menus across the resort. Look to the new Domaine des Fonds Blancs for exclusive self-catering villas complete with gourmet kitchens, private airport transfers, concierge service, even private chefs and bartenders.
Contributed by Erin Gifford, www.aluxurytravelblog.com
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