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Caribbean Related Discussion

Getting around the islands can be half the adventure of discovering new rum.


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Old 06-14-2010, 01:33 PM   #1
Hank Koestner
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Default Martinique

Hello all,
Next year in May around the middle of the month I am planning a trip to Martinique, lets say 7 full days on the island. Every year I say I will go, and then something comes up. So, next year I am going no matter what. My focus will be of course, Rhum, and to visit as many of the distilleries as I can. If any of you could be of help, I would appreciate it. I would like to know the best central location to stay to travel around the island. I would like to know the "can't miss" items, but I really like to see a place from the perspective of the locals. I do not need expensive accommodations, as I will be alone, and I only need a place to shower and sleep. Also, any info on flights around the islands would help. I will be going to Anguilla for a week after Martinique to attend a close friends wedding, so i need to go from Martinique to Anguilla as simply and cheaply as possible. Thank you all in advance for any info you can share!
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:57 PM   #2
Edward Hamilton
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Hank, I'd look into going to St Lucia, taking the ferry north to Martinique and then look into flying to St Martin, from there you can take a ferry to Anguilla and probably save some money.

As for where to stay, I'd plan on staying in a few places around the island so you don't end up driving all over the place every day. Saint Luce in the south is a good base for the southern end of the island and then look for something on the north east side of the island. There is a lot to explore on Martinique and I'm confident you'll enjoy yourself.
As for the distilleries, if you're going before the end of May you'll see the distilleries operating, otherwise some will be shut down. I'll write more about this as time permits.
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Old 06-15-2010, 04:46 AM   #3
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Default Martinique: The Flower of the Caribbean

Hank: I wish I could join you! Back in the early 80's and 90's, I travelled to Martinique practically every year and have stayed all over the island, though now it has been 15 years since my last visit. I agree with Ed. Get a car and travel to each town where you can stay in a small local hotel for the ambiance. Most of the big hotels are in and around Fort de France. I have stay at almost every hotel in Point du Bout which is very touristy. The other big hotel is Le Bateliere just north of FDF, however it is in the small family owned hotels and manoirs where you will experience the true Martiniquian hospitality. My first trip their in 1983, I stayed for a month in Basse Pointe in the most Northern part of the island close to Mt. Pele the volcano I was researching at the time. It is in this rural rainforest part of the island that you will truly feel transported to another time and place. Situated on the flanks of Pele in the Old City of St. Pierre you will find Rhum Depaz, a nice tour and sublime tasting experience. If you have the heart hire a young local and try climbing the mountain. It is the experience of a lifetime to peer into the crater and view the ocean roadstead from the highest point on the island.
The local cuisine is great, but if you really want a world class meal, you should seek out the cuisine of my friend Jean-Charles Bredas, the most famous chef on the island. It is expensive but worth every bite! After Depaz, go to La Mauny, St. James, Dillion, Trois Rivere, La Favorite and of course Neisson. I think you will find 7 days is too short! Bone up on your French, a little will go a long way in making friends with the locals. I would not stay in FDF, you will find it quite congested for a small city, and the outlying seaside towns have so much more character and interest. You may want to review one of my earlier posts regarding cockfights and fer de lance and mongoose challanges. Do take in some of the local nightlife it can be quite intoxicating. If you have any questions, Ed knows how to get me.
I was hoping Ed would be arranging his Rum Cruise for next Spring which would take in Martinque as a premier destination. Who knows maybe we can organize MOR pilgrimage to the island if the cruise does not happen...I did not know I would be writing this tonight but I had a St. James and Creole Shrubb cocktail this evening which put me in the mood...Au Revoir!
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Old 06-15-2010, 04:27 PM   #4
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http://www.liat.com/

for airlines, if it helps

www.wikitravel.com

a travel site I like that usually has good "local" things to do.
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Old 06-17-2010, 10:44 AM   #5
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Hank,

Sounds like a wonderful plan! Martinique is at the top of my list for travel adventures - hopefully I'll plan a trip in the near future. I'll be excited to hear about your plans and most importantly, your reports on your travels.

When are the distilleries operating there (ie when is cane harvest season?) Ed mentioned that distillation will be finishing up by the end of May, but when does it typically begin?
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:03 PM   #6
Hank Koestner
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I am travelling in the middle of May, now with my friend Bob, The Rummelier.
So, hopefully they will be in operation. Thanks for the sugesstion on staying on either side of the island, that is a plan. I dont want to waste to much time driving..
Ed, Thanks for the idea on going into St. Lucia, I will keep that in mind. I was already planning on going into St. Martin then take the ferry. I have done this a few times already and it is inexpensive and enjoyable.
Thanks for all the info, keep it coming. The planning continues.....
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Old 06-23-2010, 09:39 AM   #7
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Hank, there is a good map on this page that is fairly useful:-
http://www.martinique.org/discovery/martinique-rums.php
Let the research continue!!!
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Old 07-27-2010, 01:27 PM   #8
mikun
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Default Birthdays & MartiniqueTrip

Hank-

First off, besides sharing an appreciation of fine rum, it appears that we also share birthdays. I hope that you too will be spending today with fine rums and fine friends.

Second, regarding your pending trip to Martinique, I remembered that several years ago Rene van Hoven wrote a rather detailed travelogue of his week-long rum search in Martinique on his website, www.rumpages.com. He tried to see every distillery during his trip. Although the information might now be a little dated, at the time I thought it was a great piece and printed out the article and kept it for reference. I checked his website and it seems that he is updating it and the 'Travels' section is not working yet. In the mean time, I will pour myself a drink and try to find the papers that I printed. If my search is successful, I would be happy to send you a copy.

Remember, age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. (Thank you, Mark Twain)

mike....
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Old 07-28-2010, 12:10 AM   #9
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A Happy Birthday to you, Mike! And thanks for the info on Rene's sight. If you come across those pages, I would love to have a copy.
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