You might guess from the name that Martinique has a little French in it. But you might be surprised to learn that this far-flung island is more than just a Francophile — it’s technically part of France. Pretty cool for a southern Caribbean gem, oui? The food consists not only of the French influences, but a hearty helping of the local staples like seafood and tropical fruits and vegetables. The big can’t-miss is a curry called “colombo,” the peak of local cuisine. The island’s actual peak comes in the form of Mont Pelée, standing 4,500 feet above sea level. There’s variety on this island, from forests to savannas to beaches. Speaking of beaches, you’ll find white-sand beaches on Martinique’s south end, with black-sand beaches to the north.
- Visit the Clement House Plantation, one of the most famous plantation homes in the Caribbean, and see the historic house, gardens, sugar cane and banana fields.
- Check out Balata Gardens near Fort de France. See over 3,000 varieties of tropical plants from around the world.
- The adventurous can hike Mont Pelée, an active volcano near the northern part of Martinique.