The best beaches in Martinique range from black-sand bays to cotton-white coves filled with turtles. The landscape of the Caribbean island rolls down from the mist-gathering volcano summit of Mont Pelée to a coastline where the Caribbean Sea laps against rugged rocks and white-sand bays. It's a veritable mecca for beach lovers of all stripes.

    This guide will run you through a selection of the most popular beaches in Martinique. The list includes a good mix of wave-bashed coves on the Atlantic shoreline, bustling resort strands laden with restaurants and hotels, turtle-filled inlets in the west, and pristine tropical sands for those pining after some hard-earned R&R.

    1

    Anse des Salines

    Martinique’s idyllic Caribbean beach

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    Anse des Salines (Plage des Salines) is a beautiful stretch of coast that runs around a soft curve on the southernmost point of Martinique, just south of Sainte-Anne. It blends all the things you'd expect of a true Caribbean escape – swaying coconut trees, sloping sands, and turquoise waters.

    One of the great things about visiting Anse des Salines is how undeveloped the whole area is. This is somewhere where you can still laze under the shade of sea grapes without the hustle and bustle of hotels all around. Anse des Salines comprises 3 parts – a main beach at the centre and 2 coves on either side, the northernmost of which is an unofficial clothing-optional hangout.

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    Anse Couleuvre

    Among Martinique’s best snorkelling beaches

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    Anse Couleuvre might not feature the white sand that most beaches in Martinique’s travel brochures have, but it makes up for it with raw and rugged beauty. The cove cuts the coastline under the high cliffs on the far north-west side of Martinique. Even getting there is a bit of an expedition – it's either zigzagging roads or an intrepid hiking trail from the village of Grand'Riviere.

    Adventurers will be greeted with a wisp of black sand that contrasts wonderfully with the lush coastal jungles and the blooms of tamarind trees. Your experience at Anse Couleuvre hits a zenith when you dive into the sea. It's a snorkelling mecca, with a row of coral reefs on its north end that host sea turtles, eels, angelfish, and many other vivid marine life.

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    Anse Mitan

    The idyllic beach of Les Trois-Ilets

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    Anse Mitan is the best shoreline around the popular resort area of Les Trois-Ilets. It's an ever-popular spot because it offers accessible Caribbean white sands and calm, warm water that's great for swimming. On top of that, it's only a one-minute walk from the heart of the town and has a whole host of other entertainments to boot.

    From a big casino at its northern end to an endless array of BBQ-sizzling seafood restaurants, this strand is lively from afternoon until evening. People will gather in the bars to watch the sunset and then hit the eateries to sample local Creole delights like sea-snail curries and coconut rice.

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    Anse Figuier

    A lovely all-rounder Martinique beach

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    Anse Figuier is one of Martinique’s palm-lined coasts that has plenty to keep all sorts of beachgoers entertained. It's a south-facing coastal stretch that runs about 220 metres from end to end, only a short detour off the N5 coastal road out of Gros Raisins. The coast has a long, L-shaped curve of soft sand to laze on, and there’s plenty to break up the sunbathing.

    For starters, Anse Figuier has clusters of rocky reefs fringing the headlands on either side. They’re a gift for beginner snorkelers, who should be able to spot strange corals and seaweeds only metres from the shore. There's also a smattering of fantastic Caribbean food shacks, along with a playground for the little ones.

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    Basse Pointe

    A coastal town overlooking the Atlantic

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    Basse Pointe is the name for a whole town on the Atlantic-facing east coast of Martinique. It surveys a stretch of coastline that's raw and rocky, some of which can be accessed straight off the main N1 coast road that wiggles on through the coastal area.

    Don't come here expecting soft tropical sands. Come to gaze at waves smashing into gnarly cliff faces. Come to see them frothing against the ports where painted fishing boats lie in wait. Basse Pointe is a favourite among the wave-riding crowds because it’s home to some of the most powerful swells on the whole island.

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    Anse Dufour

    Turtle spotting in a gorgeous cove

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    Anse Dufour (Plage de l'Anse Dufour) is a Martinique beach graced by high cliffs, a cluster of jungle, and gold-tinged sand overlooked by blooms of hibiscus and oleander. On the northwest end of the Pointe du Bout peninsular just south of Les Trois-Ilets, the cove is one of the most popular stops among day-trippers driving around Martinique.

    Even so, the beach offers more than just stunning sands and a picture-postcard setting. This also happens to be one of the most reliable places to swim with green sea turtles on the island, so be sure to bring along your snorkel and gear.

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    Diamant Beach

    A beautiful, bustling Martinique beach

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    Diamant Beach strings along a stretch of Martinique's southern shoreline and has plenty going on. It has the terminus of the D7 highway just to its back. That serves countless hotels and dive schools, Creole eateries and water sports outfitters, not to mention the long run of honey-coloured sand that is the main beach.

    The most iconic feature here has to be the Rocher du Diamant. It's a rock stack shaped like an old arrowhead that rises straight from the Caribbean just offshore. It's actually surrounded by a whole marine reserve, which is why the area is so popular among the scuba crowd.

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    Anse Noire

    Home to some of Martinique's most colourful marine life

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    Anse Noire (Plage de l'Anse Noire), as its name implies, is a prime example of Martinique's exquisite black-sand beaches. Made from ground-up volcanic lava stone and basalt, it's hidden just around the headland from the turtle-spotting mecca of Anse Dufour. This single boat jetty pokes out from its midriff and is the main way in.

    Just like its near neighbour, this one's a haven for seeking out the elegant turtle species that call the western shoreline of Martinique their home. Dive in and you can soon find yourself swimming with those docile creatures over fields of blooming seagrass. Also, keep an eye out for sea urchins and sardine schools – the water's teeming with life.

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    Madiana

    A beach where Martinique locals go to unwind

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    Madiana Beach (Plage De Madiana) is a little beach where you can feel the buzz of local life in Martinique. The beach is essentially a suburban escape for city dwellers out of the capital of Fort-de-France, which sits just a couple of clicks around the headland to the east. It's backed by houses and high-rises but still manages to be peaceful and quiet.

    You'll often see folks jogging up and down the paths between the coconut palms, others walking their dogs, and others picnicking on the weekends. The water is good for swimming, and there’s plenty of restaurants and entertainment spots within a short walk.

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    Anse du Carbet

    Come for the history or cocktails on the sand

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    Anse du Carbet, also known as Plage du Coin, is famed as the spot where Christopher Columbus first hopped onto dry land in Martinique way back in 1502. But it’s also a one-time gathering point for the native islanders who lived here long before. The area is up on the northern half of the island, facing west from the rugged slopes of Mount Pelee.

    History buffs are likely to love this beach just as much as beach lovers. Some 18th-century buildings and old Baroque mansions dot the town, along with a museum dedicated to Paul Gauguin. The beach itself is usually pretty quiet and has some ramshackle cocktail bars with crate seating on the sand.

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    Joseph Francis | Autor

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