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Traveler of the year

Think Martinique for Winter Family Fun

by Felicity Long

Sep 4, 2018

© Darryl Brooks | Dreamstime.com

Travel Tips

Is it too soon to be thinking about winter travel? Not if you want to get a jump on the competition, and this year the Caribbean island of Martinique is a strong contender for early consideration. Rock-bottom airfares, hotel discounts and an enticing menu of kid-friendly activities are just some of the reasons not to wait to put together a memorable beach vacation with a French twist.


First-timers to the French Caribbean island, which measures only 425 square miles in the Caribbean archipelago, will find a lot more than just sun and sand in Martinique. The landscape is a picturesque mix of mountains, secluded beaches, the towering Mont Pelee volcano and so much flora its nickname is the Isle of Flowers.


Half of the island is protected parkland, a great fit for eco-conscious families. Head out for a hike along one of Martinique’s groomed trails — there are 27 in all — or spend an afternoon seeing the sights from horseback or take it all in on a 4X4 tour.


Scuba diving is big on the island and offers abundant marine life, historic shipwrecks and reefs teeming with coral. Don’t miss Diamond Rock, an offshore island with a deep undersea cavern.


For older kids who want to take advantage of Martinique’s pristine diving sites, Caradonna Adventures offers weeklong programs for experts and novices alike. Packages can include accommodations, breakfast, airport transfers and dives at a number of resorts and hotels on the island.


Kayaking Martinique. Photo: Jedynakanna | Dreamstime.com

Canoeing and kayaking also are available for families who prefer to be on, rather than under, the water. Or perfect that swing on the Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed, 18-hole Golf de l’Imperatrice Josephine course in Trois Ilets, which has the distinction of being the only course on the island. On the other hand, tennis is available at most resorts on Martinique.


Meanwhile, Mom and Dad can find out why the destination is billed as the Rum Capital of the World, thanks to the dozen or so local brands, some have been awarded the prestigious Appellation d’Origine Controlee, typically only given to fine wines. There are distilleries throughout the island and many offer free tastings for adults.


The good news this year is Norwegian Air is taking the bite out of the cost of airfare to Martinique’s capital Fort-de-France (FDF) with increased flights from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) —  from three to four times weekly — and from New York’s JFK from four weekly flights to six. The expanded service will kick off Oct. 28.


Or hop on an American Airlines flight, expanding its year-round, non-stop service from Miami (MIA) to Martinique from one to six flights a week during high season.


As to kid-friendly accommodations and activities on the island, families have multiple options.


Club Med’s Buccaneer’s Creek, for example, offers land rates from $1,015 per person for the fall, complete with unlimited water and land sports.


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