Among the things to do in Martinique there is certainly the hiking. Whether walking along the coast or venturing into the hills and mountains of the hinterland, this island has a lot to offer. Here is a list of the paths I have covered and some practical information.
La boucle du Vauclin ou randonnée Trou cochon
The path starts from “Château de Paille” close to UCPA headquarters where you have a parking to let your car. This trekking is gonna take you along the coastline by way of all the creeks (Anse Simon, Anse Maroquet), and you will get Vauclin’s point where you will be among some cactus and you will have a nice view of the village.
Then you’ll get the best viewpoint, “il belvedere” before to reach the famous Trou Cochon. To get there you have to keep going walking on the beach until you will get the mangrove.
From that point you have around and half an hour to come back to the starting point.
Presqu’île de la Caravelle
The path starts from”Parking du Château Dubuc“. You have two options, a short one and a long one. I do advice you the get the long one, “grande boucle”, because it’s the one with the best view.
During the walk you will go through differents scenarios by alternating the forest and the coastline that offers some amazing point of view. I do warn you about touching or take shelter (if it rains) under the mancelliniers, cause they are toxic trees.
During the long way you can even get the lighthouse (around 30min more) or visit the ruins of “Château Dubuc”.
This trek will lead you to Baie du Trésor, one of the most beautiful bay of the island which is possible to get only by walk.
La montagne Pelée is an active volcano and the highest islan’d mountain, around 1.395 meters above the sea level. There are differents way to get to the top, starting from Prêcheur (Sentier de la Grande Savane), form Grande Rivière, form Macouba or from the first “refuge” at 820m on the “Montagne Rouge” (Sentier de l’Aileron). It’s the last route that I’m gonna describe to you.
The path starts from “Parking de l’Aileron” and it’s easy to follow. After few meters the route turns into a slope for around 1km until you get the fork. Here you have two options, either you go on the right towards the “second refuge” or going on the left towards the “third refuge”. I advice you to go down on the left because this is gonna be the hardest part of the trekking and it’s better to do it when you are still fresh. According to the weather the path can be pretty slippery.
When you get the third refuge you will have again a double choice that depends mostly on the weather conditions. If the sky is clear it worths to go up to the highest point “le Sommet Chinois” where you will have an amazing view. Otherwise you will keep going toward the second refuge. You’ll see that this is gonna be the easiest walk before to go down to the parking.
Keep in mind that this part of the island is often cloudy and it’s not easy to have a nice view. I advice you to get there in the early morning (starting around 7h) because the clouds usually come later. It depends also on the periond, I’ve been there in december and I’ve been told that it’s one of the cloudest month.
My last advice is to take with you a “windstopper” or a “keeway” because the wind can blows quite strong and it can rain at any moment.