Martinique is a great destination for families, as the island is safe, food is great and it is easy to get around too. As for kid-friendly activities, they are a ton! There’s of course the beaches and snorkeling that kids love, as well as many museums to visit. Several hiking trails are also accessible with children, especially younger ones on a carrier.
Here are some of my picks for having some fun with the little ones!
The Zoo of Martinique in le Carbet, open daily from 9 am to 6 pm. Set in the ruins of the habitation Latouche, one of the oldest plantations of the island, the zoo will enchant kids and parents alike. There are beautiful flowers all around and the ruins add a touch of mystery to the setting. You’ll discover animals from all over the world and be able to get close to them in two aviaries – one for butterflies and the other for parrots. There’s also an interesting exhibition about Caribbean pirates, a nice gift shop and a restaurant.
Mangofil,Trois-Ilets. Open from 9am to 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 9 am – 5 pm on other days during the high season. This is a zip-lining/adventure park with a minigolf and a restaurant set in a forest. The « Bigmango » zip-lining is accessible to adults and kids over 130 cm and takes about 2-2,5 hours. Younger and smaller children can enjoy playing in several big nets set in the trees. You can also picnic in the park or eat at the restaurant. Don’t forget your sneakers!
Aquabulle, Marina of le Marin. This is an underwater vision boat that lets you discover Martinique’s coral reefs and tropical fish without getting wet! They offer two itineraries, one with the underwater vision only and the other with additional snorkeling time to see the corals up and close. Two daily departures, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. You spend most of the excursion up on the deck, sailing towards the coral reef and only go down to the air-conditioned down-stairs for the observation part only. They also offer some juice/rum punch and cake. My kids and some school groups that I’ve guided did enjoy the activity although the commentary is in French only.
Balata Garden, Route de Balata, Fort-de-France. Open daily from 9 am to 6 pm, last admission 4.30 pm. One of the most visited places on the island, the garden is often packed during high-season and best visited in the afternoon, at least on the days when there is a cruise ship in town! If you love tropical nature and flowers, it is a must though! Home to hundreds of different plants and flowers there is also a nice playground for kids as well as a tree-top trail set about 15 m high on old mahogany trees. The garden features several ponds where tilapia swim with water lilies and there is a stunning view on the bay of Fort-de-France. Next to the garden is a good restaurant called la Luciole that is a handy lunch stop.
Jump in Watersports, Anse à L’Ane beach in Trois-Ilets. Open from 10 am to 5 pm, closed on Mondays. For those who are looking some adrenaline filled fun! The watersports center is set on a nice beach that you can also reach by a shuttle boat from Fort-de-France. They offer jet skis, kayaks, SUP’s and towable banana and donut rides from age 5 and up. You can also rent snorkeling gear.
Kayaking and dolphin watching. There are many companies offering kayaking and dolphin watching boat excursions in Martinique. If you want to explore the mangrove forest, there is Kayak Nature Evasion in the Pottery Village of Trois-Ilets, or if you’d like to discover corals and turtles and a bat-cave only accessible by the sea, check out the Kaz d’O kayak rental based at Anse Noire, Anses d’Arlet. As for the dolphin watching, most of the catamarans or boats leave from the marina of Trois-Ilets and take you out towards Saint-Pierre. Prefer companies that have signed the charter of sea mammal observation that protects the animals, for example Scheherazade or Dauphins Emotion
Domaine d’Emeraude, Route de la Trace, Morne-Rouge. This 25 hectars park is managed by the Regional Park of Martinique (PNRM) and is dedicated to the observation of biodiversity. Unlike in the Balata Garden, here tropical nature is left to rule wilder and free, and the park features a nicely done nature exploration pavilion that informs about the island’s ecosystem and biodiversity. There is also an exhibition retracing the history of Acadians on the island. La Domaine d’Emeraude is also perfect for a short walk in the rainforest on marked and paved paths, and you can choose from 3 different loops. There’s also a snack and a very nice gift shop as well as a medicinal garden with local plants.
Château Dubuc and a hike in the mangrove forest, Caravelle peninsula in Trinité. The ruins of an old 18th century sugarcane plantation charged with history and rumors of piratery. The ruins are set in the beautiful Caravelle nature reserve, also home to one of the best hikes in Martinique. The visit to Château Dubuc allows you to learn about the history of the island and of the plantation society during slavery. I’d really recommend renting the audio pen tour in English that adds a lot to the visit. Combine the visit to a short hike in the mangrove forest (about 40 min), the trail leaves right next to the site. There is also a « hidden » beach only accessible by foot, la Baie du Trèsor (The Treasure Bay – with a name like that the pirates must’ve been here!) where you could swim. You can also hike to the Caravelle lighthouse and back with bigger children for a panoramic view on all the south of the island. This trail departs from the parking and takes about an hour or more with quite a lot of elevation.
Ranch Black Horse, Trois-Ilets. If you enjoy riding and would like to explore the island on horseback, the Black Horse Ranch offers rides to beginners and confirmed riders alike. It’s a fun way to get to know the fauna of Martinique and discover some beautiful landscapes.