As part of my ride on the inaugural Norwegian Air service from JFK to Martinique, I ended up with an evening on Martinique, a day-ish in St. Maarten and half a day on Guadeloupe. I’m going to try to zip through some quick reviews in case people are looking to book flights on Norwegian before the “seasonal” service goes away in March/April. Booking on Norwegian is pretty easy if you’re considering a trip.
Martinique airport was pretty small as expected. And, since most of the flights there come from France and don’t have to clear customs, the customs area was small and pretty empty. We were greeted by some island dancers and also handed welcome bags.
While one member of our group waited for a checked bag, the rest of us went in search of a rental car. We had originally planned to take a taxi but given our plans for a bunch of different stops and a tight schedule we thought a rental car was a better idea. The choices ranged from the typical US companies like Hertz and Avis to some local choices (I do really enjoy some of the names of local rental car places).
An employee of Hertz came up to us while waiting in line and told us they had cars and was willing to drive us over to their lot to square things away. We walked outside to be greeted by a Burger King on the airport and a few minutes later arrived at the Hertz lot. It took less than 15 minutes to drive off the lot in what turned out to be a brand new car just big enough to fit 5 of us and luggage.
For those looking to rent a car and drive around the island, be advised that you may have trouble with Google Maps. We had quite a bit of trouble getting it to work well for us. Apple’s native iOS Maps was better but not perfect.
It was a dark ride down windy roads and a handful of traffic circles that took us about 30 minutes, which would have been a hefty cab bill. All 3 of our hotels ended up being within an easy walk of each other in the village of Trois-Ilets. After getting settled quickly, we headed back to the center of town for a very late dinner. It was just about 10pm when we chose L’Annexe for our dinner, and pretty much solely because we saw a hot stone sitting on one of the tables that people were using to cook their dinner.
The 5 of us sat down at a picnic table and ordered some local beer and pretty much one of every meat dish on the menu. The waitress spoke broken English but one of our group (Seth) speaks pretty darn good French and got us mostly squared away. There was some confusion about a fish choice we had that never did show up. We ended up with beef, pork, lamb, duck and a fish tartare. Everything was excellent, though my two favorites were the duck and lamb. Sitting outside in the courtyard with the occasional bit of rain made for a fun night with good friends and good food.
As the night stretched later, a few of us made the short walk to the local casino for some blackjack. The table wasn’t very kind to us in the beginning and when I ended up pretty close back to even I was happy to call it a night, totally exhausted. It was less than a 10-minute walk back to my hotel where I was asleep shortly after returning.
Would I Go Back?
I didn’t see much of the island. The hotel was fine enough and the restaurant was a pleasant surprise. For the price of the tickets to get down there, it would likely qualify as a poor man’s Caribbean, given how much more expensive the more popular islands can be. You won’t find any chain hotels on the island but our hotel was fine, if a bit off the beaten path. More on that shortly.