Two easy hikes with kids in Martinique
In my family we enjoy hiking, but not all trails in Martinique are doable with kids, especially young ones. But there are many that are kid-friendly, and here are two that I think are especially nice as they are quite short and also feature great views!
The first spot that I’d recommend is the forest of Montravail nature-reserve, up in the hills of Sainte-Luce in the south of the island. What’s special about this forest is that it’s “humid”, rainforest-type which is very rare in the south. Most of the trees here are mahoganys. Four different trails can be found on the site:
- The long loop of 4 km (in red) taking you to see some Amerindian engraved rocks, petroglyphs (currently not visible as they’re under renovation)
- The middle loop of 3,5km (in orange)
- Two short loops, 1,4 km (in green) and 1 km (in yellow
There’s also a road of 1,2 kms going through the site that you can even take with a trolley for a nice stroll. Be sure to turn back in the end of it to get back to the parking. There are toilets in the parking area, also some “carbets”, which are small shelters with tables, benches and even barbecues, so you can easily also have lunch or a picnic on site.
In case you take one of the forest trails be sure to wear good hiking/walking shoes and have water with you. The trails are well marked, but can be muddy and slippery. There are also some rocky patches that can be a little challenging for small kids and the trails do go up and down at times! The forest is beautiful though, and you are sure to cross many lizards, and if lucky crabs and hummingbirds. Many pretty tropical flowers also grow all around. There are even carved wooden statues along the paths, part of a “Forest Art” exhibition by local and Caribbean artists.
To get there you need to take the RN5 road towards Sainte-Luce, and from the center turn to D17 and go to the “Epinay” neighbourhood, following the signs saying “Fôret de Montravail”. Another way is to turn from the roundabout just before the Trois-Rivières distillery (when coming from Fort-de-France), there’s a sign also for the forest. You’ll follow the D36 road up to the hills. At one point there is a stop, you’ll have to turn right and go straight ahead (no sign here!) until you see the sign for the “Fôret de Montravail”.
Don’t miss the beautiful view on the Diamond Rock and the hills of le Diamant from the parking!
The second kid-friendly hike I like is also in the south of the island, in Sainte-Anne. To get there you drive like you’d go to the center of Sainte-Anne, and just a little before the town you’ll turn left. There’s a sign saying “Piton Crève-Coeur”. You drive straight on until you’ll come to a small parking next to the ruins of an old plantation. The trail leaves next to the ruins and a signpost.
The Piton Crève-Coeur is actually one of the oldest, extinguished volcanoes of the island dating back to 18 million years. The hike is not very difficult, although it will make you climb some 200m uphill for 1km all the way to the viewpoint on the top of the mountain! The path is nicely shadowed with a few benches on the way taking you through different types of forest with agaves, mahoganys and gommier-trees. As usual, have good shoes and water with you! We took about 40 min to get to the top with some photo-and breathing breaks with our 7-year old daughter. Once you get to the top, there are two viewpoints, the first one will be to your right. To get to the top-one turn back and take the path to your left, and in about 2 min you’ll be on the highest point with an orientation platform. The views are really worth the efforts, you’ll have a panoramic view all around Sainte-Anne and le Marin.
On the way down from the top take the road to the left to discover the ruins of the overlooker’s house which can be visited. The rest of the plantation ruins, dating from the 18th century are closed to the public. After the hike you could hit one of the beautiful beaches around, like Cap Chévalier or Cap Férré. If you’re looking to have lunch I’d recommend the little restaurant in the town of Sainte-Anne called “Otantik”. They’re especially a feast for vegans and vegetarians, but all their food is fresh and delicious!