With the French government officially requesting World Heritage status for Martinique’s Pelee Mountain region, the island’s extraordinary biodiversity is even more under the spotlight.
Martinique is truly a global biodiversity hot-spot: one of just a few dozen in the world. The preservation of endemic flowers, shrubs and animals, along with the respect for nature are part of a proactive and growing eco-responsible approach by all stakeholders.
With an area of just over 1,000 sq km, Martinique has a remarkable biodiversity compared to its small area. 26% of its area is occupied by natural forests, and the quality and variety of its landscapes and environments as well as the exceptional heritage values of some of its forests, more or less close to their original state, are remarkable.
Martinique’s marine biodiversity is characterised by the presence of over 180 species of fish, 48 corals and over 330 types of mollusk. Three different species of sea turtles lay eggs on the island’s beaches. Whales and dolphins also abound.
Aliotis Diving is labelled “Ecosub” for its responsible underwater actions and “eco-kayak” trips to discover the riches of Martinique without disturbing the ecosystem. On land, eco-tourism is becoming increasingly important. Hotel Bambou, for example, has become the first “Biorismo” labelled company in France’s overseas territories, thanks to its respect of biodiversity in the tourism sector.
CSR and eco-responsibility become “the norm”
This year, Martinique will host the new Cap Martinique regatta, an eco-friendly transatlantic race that will be carried out non-stop, duo or solo and that will bring together 55 single-hulled yachts from 10 to 12 metres. The race starts on 18 April 2021, from Trinité-sur-Mer in France, with the arrival expected from May 6, 2021, in Fort-de-France. Each boat must, according to the race rules, promote a just cause. Thus, 55 charities or organisations involved in the defence of the oceans, social issues, disadvantaged children or the environment will add soul to this XXLarge event.
Recently opened, the Plus Que Parfait restaurant in Fort de France is more than “just a place to dine”. This property, with its traditional and artistic touches, was entirely designed by Céline Dorion and her family. She invites her customers at lunchtime to enjoy, in an eco-responsible setting, revisited local products.
Also in Fort-de-France, inspired by the ginger-like “galanga” spice, Galanga Fish Bar is a 100% local restaurant offering 100% healthy products for a 100% unique experience. Your guests will be welcomed by Yadji and his team, always happy to let you discover their exceptional cuisine, a veritable explosion of original flavours and authentic freshness.
Lakou A, an eco-responsible meeting
Travellers are invited to head north to meet “Lakou A”, an area of agricultural, cultural and tourist activity. This place of sharing and memory promotes the traditional Martinique country traditions associated with bèlè culture. This art of living – danced, sung, and told to the rhythm of the drums is inherited from the former slaves settled in the hills.
Experiencing pristine nature close-up and personal
With more than 250 km of trails connecting beaches, rainforest, mountains and peaks, walkers are able to discover all facets of the island. Hikers are offered 10 trails certified by the French Hiking Federation. For a gentle hike, the Caravelle peninsula offers three trails. To the south, the Savane des Pétrifications, an ancient crater, will astonish many. Pelée Mountain, the highest point (1,397 m), is accessible by different trails from the Preacher, Grand’ Rivière, Macouba or directly from the heights of the Morne-Rouge. Martinique’s hiking portal will soon be operational – launched by the Martinique Territorial Community. This tool for partners as well as hikers brings it all together, allowing easy access to hikes: technical sheets, descriptions of hikes, practical information, recommendations, and photos…
Learning more about biodiversity
The Père Pinchon Museum exhibits the entire collection of Father Pinchon: books, butterflies, birds and other pieces donated to the community by the congregation of the Fathers of the Holy Ghost. This set of nearly 10,000 pieces constitutes a unique fund for the French West Indies.
The museum aims to collect, in an appropriate space, the collections of Father Pinchon but also to use them as a common thread for the presentation and enhancement of the Caribbean flora and fauna which is so rich and diverse. The site is remarkable for the variety of species in the park. It has been preserved as far as possible as part of the project, including a remarkable rubber tree on the main façade.
The marine life around Martinique is characterised by an exceptional wealth: the marine territorial nature reserve of the Preacher Albert Falco inaugurated in October 2017 guarantees its protection, its development and its growth.