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The traditions and culture of Martinique


The tradition is like its population, very mixed and influenced by the different populations coming from the different waves of immigration.

One can distinguish different contributions of the European culture that arrived in the island in the 16th century, of the African culture brought by the former slaves who came to work on the island, but also of the Indian culture, which came at the end of slavery to do paid work, and finally of the traces of the Caribbean culture, the first population of the island.

Martinique culture
Village Créole

Martinique shares with metropolitan France the use of the French language, European dress codes and its cuisine, combined with spices (Indian colombo, banded wood, etc.) and local flavors, is one of its main riches.

Ritualistically, during funeral ceremonies, the family and friends of the deceased are dressed in white (white is worn during mourning in Africa and signifies the resurrection of the bodies) and black coming from Europe.

Martinique’s culture is very colorful, whether it is in the clothing with the Madras from India, where the colors are prized or the markets very colorful by the different fresh fruits and vegetables sold on the stalls.

The Martinique woman is very distinguished. She loves jewelry and being elegant is for her an evidence.

Very appreciated in Martinique by the elders, cockfights are the object of passionate bets.

Tour of the Yoles

The Tour des Yoles, a popular leisure activity and by far the event of the year. Its races, which are held by fishermen, are spectacular.

Organized at the end of July-beginning of August, prepare yourself early if you want to go there, the beaches of the stages are taken by storm from dawn to have the best places.


The Caribbean Carnival earlier in the year. Behind a float carrying a giant mannequin nicknamed “Vaval” you will see up close the frenzied atmosphere where colors and rhythmic music.

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The rum route: discover the island's distilleries

Rum is the flagship drink of Martinique, and for good reason! It is one of the best agricultural rums in the world and has an international reputation. It is also one of the few to have obtained an AOC.

Great national pride, let yourself be carried away to the heart of the renowned distilleries!


During your vacation, discover the origins and production secrets of this national drink through the dozen distilleries still in operation in Martinique.

Tips: the best time to visit them is from February to June, during the harvest period.

Below is a list of distilleries that we have tested for you and where you will have the opportunity to taste this local product. Between white, amber, old or straw rum, there is something for everyone!

Rums ranges

Rum is divided into two main families: AGRICULTURAL RUM, obtained from the juice of the cane and TRADITIONAL RUM, distilled from molasses (or visou). Both are available in a wide range of flavors and offer an almost infinite palette of tastes. Many parameters come into play, such as its ageing, the type of barrel used, the climate in which it ages... The resulting aromas are woody, fruity, spicy, for sweet or powerful, vanilla or floral rums.


White rum is the key ingredient for successful cocktails (Mojito, Ti punch, Planteur, or Daiquiri), it is traditional or agricultural and generally has an alcohol content of more than 40%. It is bottled as soon as the distillation process is completed. Its roundness in mouth and its fruity aromas are obtained thanks to a stay of several weeks in stainless steel tanks, or in wooden tuns. The traditional white rum has the virtue of being lighter than the agricultural rum.


The amber rum is more suitable for tasting and conservation because it is aged for at least 3 years in oak barrels, flavors can be used during aging (vanilla, caramel, almond ..). It is situated between white rum and aged rum with all the freshness of the cane and a slightly amber color. With time, the rum softens in alcohol and becomes quite sweet, more tasty than white rums. Amber rum is often used to prepare cocktails.


Old or dark rum, depending on the number of years spent in the barrels, is more mature. Aged for long periods of at least 3 years, it takes on a lot of color and is called "old". The method of storage, temperature and of course the number of years spent in a barrel contribute to the finesse of this drink. Very good for the digestion, the old rum is dry and mellow at the same time.



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The local gastronomy

If there is one thing that Martinique has inherited from metropolitan France, it is its love for good products and refined gastronomy. Old recipes, traditional dishes prepared with love, exotic drinks… A real treat at all times! Martinique’s cuisine, with its French, African, Middle Eastern and Indian influences, is so varied that it is quite possible to eat different dishes at each meal.

Whether you prefer meat or fish, everyone will find happiness around a good table, with the famous ti-punch as an aperitif (which we love at Ti’ Paradise Villa).

what to eat in martinique ?

culinary specialties

Fish and shellfish

Fish: tuna, king mackerel, dolphinfish, balaou, snapper or octopus. Crustaceans: lambi, lobster... Recipe idea, valid for all fillets (try the purse, it's delicious) or steaks: marinate for 45 minutes in olive oil with lime, peppers, Indian wood, thyme, onion. Cook on the barbecue or plancha.

poissons martinique
culture martinique

Our tips

Buy your fresh fish at the arrival of the boats (no precise schedule but often there in the evening from 5pm): At the three Ilets, at Anse Mitan before the casino, Arnaud sets up his stall on the roadside when he returns from fishing.Saturday morning: prepared fish and rillettes At the end of the beach Anse d'Arlet while leaving towards the diamond Or at the exit of the small cove. 10 euros/Kg and ready to cook. If you want to eat them fresh, ask the fishermen: fishing on order or buy frozen.


With its microclimates, the island produces an impressive variety of fruits. Fruits: pineapple, guava, soursop, papaya (green, you can use it for a delicious sea sauerkraut by grating it), currant, star fruit (my favorite: cut in a star shape, very acid) Vegetables: manioc, sweet potato, yam, breadfruit, cristophine (I love to make a cristophine gratin that will be a perfect accompaniment to all your dishes).


Our tips

Buy your fruits and vegetables at small local markets.

By type of dish




TIPS: Mash in order a big avocado, 100 gr of codfish chiquetaille, 2 limes, hot pepper as you can stand it! Add 200 g of cassava flour that you let swell then a grated cucumber... Enjoy!
Fish: cod, herring...

Excellent on grilled toast with an aperitif.
Many local artisans offer them
Fried cod, shrimp or vegetable fritters! My favorites are the homemade lambis ones.

TIPS: Buy an accras batter from the frozen section and add your ingredients: frozen shrimp or frozen lambis
Very small and very spicy!

TIPS: Buy at the restaurant in Trois Ilets or at the colored grocery store next to the church in Anses d'Arlet bourg (Warning: on order).
Small fish that we love in the West Indies.
They are easily eaten as an appetizer with the fingers or at the table, a real delight!
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Caribbean colombo is a blend of spices used to flavor a local dish made with chicken, pork, cabri (goat) or mutton.

TIPS: Ready-to-use colombo sauces are readily available and make for easy creations.
Christophine gratin: a kind of large pear whose taste is similar to that of zucchini, and cooked in a gratin, I love it!
The incomparable "dog sauce" as an accompaniment to dishes, prepared with country onions, parsley, infused thyme, chilli and garlic.
Stuffed crab: speciality to be tasted in restaurants, too long to prepare
Served very fresh in restaurants and you can order from the local fisherman on his next trip.
Small fish placed in a marinade of lime juice, onion, bouquet garni, cayenne pepper, then cooked in court-bouillon.
Fried and served as a vegetable usually with chicken, meat and fish, or boiled and served with cod.
The fricassees of lambis
Local shellfish served in stew, catrou and cabri.
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To be enjoyed throughout the day!
In particular the coconut that is made in a traditional and artisanal way on the beaches.
The big coconut cake, filled with coconut jam.
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The national drink of Martinique is of course rum (a drink made from sugar cane), which you can taste by visiting the island’s distilleries (click here). Whether it is white rum, old rum or straw rum, each one has a unique taste.

If pure alcohol is not your cup of tea, why not try the inevitable ti-punch?


Make your own mixture of rum, sugar, ice and lemon and discover new flavours.

For even more indulgence, we recommend you try the punch-planteur, a mixture of rum, cane sugar, lime and fruit juice.

You can also be tempted by their liqueurs, made from fruit and spices that macerate for several days in rum, or by the flagship Christmas drink, the Shrubb, a mixture of rum and orange peel.

Finally, beer lovers cannot leave the island without tasting the Lorraine, a soft and refreshing blonde or amber beer brewed in the Manatee or the Kalinago, a beer made from manioc.

These drinks should of course be consumed in moderation. Otherwise, Martinique also offers Royal Soda (made from aniseed) and a wide range of fresh exotic fruit juices made from guava, watermelon, mango, passion fruit… A delight!


Our favourites are varied and go from the Bokit tasted on the beach, through the Lolo at the water’s edge to the great gastronomic restaurant, all having a mixture of sensations linked to the moment lived and shared, thus :

  • The cod bokit bought at the stand on the beach of Anse Mitan
  • The accras and the planter / fruit juice shared on the beach of Cap Chevalier, Anse du bout, Anse d’Arlet bourg while watching the sunset…
  • The waterfront restaurants of Anses d’Arlet bourg (only at lunchtime) or Ste Anne
  • Maryse’s little Lolo in Petit Anse, on the waterfront, very traditional but so good !

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Must-see beaches

Once you have arrived in Martinique, set off to discover the many paradisiacal beaches, accessible all year round thanks to the tropical temperatures with water around 27°C.

Whether you are looking for postcard beaches, wilderness or kitesurfing, you will find what you are looking for on the 350 km of coastline!

Each of these beaches is unique: fine white or black volcanic sand (North Caribbean), virgin vegetation or close to local restaurants, winding roads lined with wild nature… Some of the beaches are not very well known to everyone, and are deserved because of their difficulty of access, but you will not be disappointed by the exceptional landscapes that will appear in front of you!



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sports and leisure activities

Sports and leisure in Martinique

Looking for activities to do in Martinique? Whatever your level of experience, you will be able to enjoy Martinique at your own pace and in the open air because of the varied terrain and the ideal climate throughout the year. 
surf martinique

Hiking in Martinique

Montagne Pelée

The unmissable Mont Pelée, from the top of its 1,398 metres on the Caribbean Sea.
Its most popular departure point is from the Aileron refuge in the commune of Morne-Rouge. You can leave your car on the side of the road.
Your objective is the “chinois”, the highest point of Martinique: without clouds, the panoramas on Martinique will be incredible! It takes about 2 hours to reach the summit so don’t leave too late: ideal between 5 and 6 am to see the sunrise and you don’t need to be a top sportsman.
With young children, the North allows for more tranquil walks. 

Savane des Pétrifications

The Savane des Pétrifications, an easy 2-hour walk at the end of the Sainte-Anne peninsula, with its astonishingly diverse landscape: the Savane, the sea, a large expanse of red earth and cacti worthy of the great westerns. The contrast of colours is striking.


Didier's waterfalls

The Didier waterfalls are the most famous and certainly the most beautiful waterfalls in Martinique. Even if the hike is short and not very difficult, there are a few stressful steps to take before reaching them.

The small one:
To get there, you will have to park near the water treatment plant, on the road to Didier. On the way, take the wrong way or you will miss the waterfall! It can be reached in half an hour and you will be rewarded by the beautiful view. 
The big one:
It takes another hour with an obligatory passage in the water: take a narrow and rather dangerous path where you have to climb using a rope. This second part of the hike is therefore more suitable for seasoned hikers.

Le Morne l'Archer

Average hike of 3 hours and 3 km with a difference in altitude of 450 m! It is an ancient volcano at 478m. Its shape and relief have earned it the nickname of the “reclining woman”. If its summit remains inaccessible, it is possible to climb up to 400m for a spectacular view of the bay of Diamant and its rock as well as the south coast of Martinique up to Sainte Anne. The starting point is located on the heights of the village of Petite Anse. The path starts by crossing green pastures, then you enter the forest and the slope rises sharply. The path becomes very steep and large volcanic rocks make progress difficult. After 650m of climbing, the panorama is magnificent. The descent to Anse Caffard is steep and chaotic. This hike can be done in both directions.

Presqu'Ile de la Caravelle

La Presqu’île de la Caravelle on the Atlantic coast: a superb 9 km walk of medium difficulty and 4 hours’ duration which takes you all the way around the nature reserve. You will find the Caravelle lighthouse with its magnificent 360° panorama.
We join the coastal path where we discover a tormented coast.
The Anses Chandelier and Bois Vert allow you to admire the sea birds. Then the trail passes through the Bois Couchés, to arrive at Pointe Caracoli (90m) with a wild view. A quick descent to the Baie du Trésor, then the seaside while remaining in the undergrowth and skirting the mangrove. Arrival on a small wild beach: a very pleasant stop after a 2-hour walk. The itinerary continues at the edge between the dry forest and the mangrove and allows the observation of numerous crabs as well as land hermit crabs. The last segment of the hike climbs through the forest before reaching the road at the entrance to Chateau Dubuc.

Diving or Snorkeling, our passion in Martinique

The waters of Martinique are perfect whether you are scuba diving or simply snorkeling.

You’ll easily see tropical fish of all kinds, including my favourite: the box fish.

Tortue_imbriquee Martinique
Poisson Coffre, Martinique, Caraibes

On the rock of the beach of the village of Anses d’Arlet bourg, an impressive diversity of all its tropical fish will await you with a simple mask and tuba

In St Pierre, visit the town then go to the beach (direction Fort de France), at the place of a big yellow buoy: take your mask, snorkel and go on the mermaid statues.

Anse Turin, snorkeling on the wreck of a boat inhabited by fish (3 buoys surround the area).

You can easily swim with turtles such as green and hawksbill turtles, which are very common in the southern Caribbean.

  • At sunrise, on the beach of Anse Dufour or Anse Noire, you can participate in the turtles’ breakfast or in the evening at sunset during their dinner.

In addition, Martinique has more than 20 different species of cetaceans in its waters. You will certainly come across dolphins and perhaps whales, sperm whales, orcas…

Diving club : Mada plongée aux Anses d’Arlet bourg

Our favourite spots for diving:

  • Wrecks: Nahoon at 36 m (day or night depending on your level)
  • Au Diamant : one of the 10 most beautiful spots in the world
  • Night dives: without noise and with phosphorescent plankton!
  • Dolphin spot: the bay of Fort de France by boat and the South Caribbean from 3 Ilets
  • Turtle spot: the different coves near the 3 Ilets, Anse Noire, Anse Dufour and Anse d’Arlet Bourg

More things to do in Martinique

Parapente and Microlights

Paragliding: Paragliding accessible to beginners with incredible sensations: flying over the diamond, the cap chevalier (meeting point variable according to the weather). Do not go in flip-flops, bring good shoes.

Microlight : Microlight from Fort de France airport which will leave you with unforgettable memories from above.

Golf and TENNNIS

Finally, by staying at Villa Ti’ Paradise, you will be only a few minutes away by foot:

Magnificent 18-hole golf course of international renown at Les Trois Ilets (PAR 71) designed by the architect Trent-Jones and extending over 60 hectares. It offers a wide range of difficulties: bunkers, water, hills, sea and numerous obstacles.

Tennis: There are also tennis courts with instructors.

Surf and KITE SURF

Surfing: Surfing at some of the most beautiful spots in Martinique:

  • Tartane (Anse Bonneville, the surfers’ beach, or Anse Etang), a Protour stage hosting world professionals.
  • Lessons and board rentals are available.

Kite surfing : It is also an ideal island for kite surfers thanks to the lagoons and the trade winds offering a steady on-shore wind all year round.


Kayak – Course Le Vauclin ( with a guided tour based on his passion for the marine environment, so well told through an edutainment animation in transparent pirogues, along a course chosen for its beauty, on the Atlantic coast, bringing together the coral reef, sandbar, mangrove lagoon and sea grass. NB: includes aperitif with punch and tapas! Tips: book the late afternoon session to enjoy the last rays of the sun.

Kayak – Ilet chancel (rent your kayaks at Madinina): you leave alone with an explanation of your journey (+ plastic map) and a stop on the islet: kingdom of the iguanas. This is a sporty trip, but you should bring your own picnic to take the time to enjoy it.

Paddle : From Petite Anse, discover the island on its warm and calm waters.

Canyoning : Not far from Josephine’s bathtub with passionate guides. Or in the waterfalls jumping from the side of the mornes (mountains).

kayak martinique

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