On an 80 degree Monday morning, I laid on Anse de l’étang beach on the northeast handle of Martinique embracing the heat of the sun. At quarter to the hour, my phone vibrated as a brief reminder of where I would be were I back in New York City; making my way to an all staff meeting in the middle of Manhattan. The thought of sitting in a fluorescent lit glass building instantly made the sun’s rays that much warmer. I spread my arms apart, repositioning myself more directly in the sunlight and took a deep sigh of relief as the waves crashed onto the shoreline below me.
Martinique is a colorful little Caribbean island in the French West Indies known for pristine beaches, crystal blue water and a buzzing island culture. Here, people live simply, embracing a tranquil life and celebrating every moment that the sun shines. Problems seem to last only as long as a passing rainstorm and the streets are prone to random outbursts of celebration. From the moment I landed on the tropical archipelago all I could think was that indeed the island life is the life for me.
Far more low-key than neighboring Saint Barts and Saint Lucia, the island attracts those looking for secluded beaches and volcanic hiking landscapes while offering an authentic native experience. As a New Yorker, a large part of the island charm came from embracing the slowed pace and friendly demeanor of the locals. For those looking to embrace it, Martinique is an island paradise rich with culture, nature and soulful cuisine.
Vibrant and celebratory are the words I would use to describe the island life. With cuisine at the heart of their culture and community a key element to their existence, the people of Martinique seize every opportunity to gather over a hearty meal while basking in the sun and enjoying a fresh poured Planteur, their rum-based island specialty.
Easily some of the world’s most beautiful and without a doubt among the warmest, the beaches of Martinique attract everyone from surfers to retirees. While each beach varies in size and density, they all offer the same crystal clear saltwater coastline. Personal recommendations are: Les Salines, a pristine and lively beach in the southern most point of the island and Anse de l’étang, a more secluded peninsula in the northeast rife with swells begging to be surfed.
If you’re looking for a brief escape from these brutal winter temperatures, remember that in just four short hours, you too could be lying on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean.