December 2022-January 2023
Volcanoes and traffic.
I had high expectations for Martinique. It's a jungly, volcanic, French island in a blustery sea, and is fringed with rugged coast and quaint towns. We booked two weeks on the island in winter, and packed our gear for a lot of epic canyons.
Aside from canyoneering, however, I wasn't impressed with the island. towns are nice, but not that nice. Traffic is horrendous. Much of the island is deforested and crowded. Beaches vary - one of the best beaches we swam at in the Lesser Antilles was Anse Meunier in southwest Martinique. Other beaches were ultra-crowded and unremarkable.
Having come from tiny and amazing Dominica, we also found Martinique to be overdeveloped, with huge highways, skyscrapers, giant shopping centers, and rows and rows of large homes. There's a lot to take in, and it feels more like being in France (in summer, of course) than on a faraway tropical island.
The people were wonderful. There are plenty of French, Caribbean and Canadians living here, and people were extremely outgoing and helpful, despite our broken French.
I'd recommend visiting Martinique. Just don't set your expecations too high.