Our ship will only be in Martinique from noon til 6 p.m. We usually do our own shore excursions independently from the ship, but are considering a couple of ship's tours at this port. One of them is a land tour by bus that visits Mt. Pele and the volcano museum (among other things), and then offers a scenic boat ride back to the ship. A snorkeling excursion that visits the "bat cave" (?) for photos and another snorkeling stop is another option. Our final option is to independently just catch a ferry over to the beach at Pointe du Bout to hang out.
Has anyone taken either of those tours? If so, is the bus ride interesting and not a dull, put -you-to-sleep type of ride? How is the snorkeling in this area?
I have snorkelled at "the bat cave". You are taken across the harbor and past some nice resorts and beaches. Snorkelling is done in an area where dark rock clffs drop of into the water. Nice fish and some underwater color along the cliffs and the nearby bottom. The bat cave is exactly what it sounds like. You swim into a large opening in the rock wall. Not at all confining. Swells are gentle and the experience is fun. Why is it called "the bat cave"? Because there are in fact bats sleeping 40 feet or so above you on the roof of the cave. They are not large, not dangerous and in fact do not come out in the light, but, you will hear them squeak when a few folks wake them with their voices.
It was fun and we have some great photos.
We were in Martinique 2 years ago, on a cruise stopover. We were 3 couples and we hired a taxi (a mini-van). If you do this, there`s dozens of them waiting for tourists, make sure the vehicle is equipped with air condition and negotiate a price.
We toured most of the island, stopping at an very old rum distillery, an old chuch which is a miniture ``Notre Dame de Paris``, a village where we bought some refreshments at a grocery store and spoke to some natives + some nice views.. It helps if you can speak French, if not the taxi driver will speak English.
We went and left at our convenience and enjoyed ourselves.
Did you have to go "downtown" for the taxi or was it at the port area? Do you recall about how much you were charged? I am assuming the island is quite beautiful? Can you compare it to any of the other, more visited caribbean islands (like Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, etc., in natural beauty?) Bat cave sounds sort of interesting, too. Would like to do both, but no way w/our short stop, I'm afraid.
Cabs are dispatched from a taxi stand right at the port. You can walk into "town" from the port it is only a few blocks. There will be a taxi dispatcher directing you into the cabs and if you tell him what you want to do he will get you into the right cab and tell you the cost in advance.
As I recall, the snorkel trip left from a small boat that pulled up right next to our ship at the pier. I believe I also recall some rum punch on the way back that was nice.
All three islands are beautiful. Puerto Rico is very Americanize, restaurants, shopping malls. Also, one of the most historic island we have been to.
Never seen so many SUV vehicles and they don`t have snow to drive through. Apparently, according to a Puerto Rican, (and maybe he was joking) it`s more for protection. In an accident, the bigger car wins.
Jamaica has a lot of beauty, wonderful Carribean music and a lot of people wanting to sell you junk. Also, there is a lot of poverty. The beaches are as beautiful as you will see. Been there 3 times and it`s the most fun island.
About 25 years ago, I was there with some friends and we were playing catch with a coconut. This Jamaican came and was waving his hands for me to throw it to him. Well, not wanting to disappoint him, I threw the coconut to him. He did not catch the coconut and it hit his mouth and broke a tooth. I went to the car, gave him a couple of Red Label beers and he went away, happy as clam.
St. Thomas is smaller, very civilized. It has the most beautiful harbour. If you`re looking for jewllery, cameras or any small electronics, it`s the place. We`ve been there twice and it cost us more than the cruise fare. Well, it seems that way.
Thanks, Bill. But I have been to those islands, too (all of them lovely!), and wondered if Martinique looked much like any of those? I know it has mts. and so forth, so I thought perhaps someone who had been there could compare Martinique for me.