Our previous road trip had been such a success, exploring palm fringed beaches on Martinique’s Southern Coastline, that we decided to rent another car any try again. This time, we were to cut through the centre of the island visiting Jardin de Balata, then making our way down across the Atlantic coast of Martinique towards Saint-Marie and the Saint-James Rum Distillery.
The Outskirts of Fort-de-france: Jardin de Balata
Just ten kilometers outside Fort-de-france, up a winding jungly road into the heart of the island lies the private garden of Jardin de Balata. The first stop on our adventure, and Jardin de Balata is a magnificent garden haven that I’ve written about previously. Don’t skimp on this stopover, give it a good few hours and let it blow you away. I promise, it’s amazing.
Northern Martinique: Le Morne Rouge, Saint-Pierre
Le Morne Rouge is a beautiful part of the island to explore as you head up into Northern Martinique, but also a historic home to the immense disaster of Saint-pierre, where the entire town was destroyed in 1902 by the volcanic eruption of Mount Pelée. Before the devastationg eruption, Saint-Pierre was the cultural capital of Martinique, known as “the Paris of the Caribbean”.
Nowadays, you can instead still see evidence of the disaster & historic remains, and visit the Volcanological Museum (Musée vulcanologique Franck Perret).
Le Lorrain & Le Marigot
As you head around the bend towards the Atlantic coast of Martinique the scenery transforms into sweeping hillsides of banana plantations overlooking the ocean.
This part of the island reminded me a lot of my visit to Kauai, Hawaii and was a whole new side of Martinique our previous road trip didn’t show.
I highly recommend the restaurant Le Point de Vue for excellent Caribbean food and ocean views, I would gladly pass another day here.
Northern Martinique Road Trip Details
From: Fort-de-france To: Sainte-Marie, Martinique
Stopped in at: Jardin de Balata (Fort-de-france), Le Morne Rouge (Sainte-Pierre) Le Lorrain, Le Marigot, Distillerie Saint-James (Saint-Marie)