Today, November 25, 2022, Ken and I just finished an enjoyable, fully accessible, day trip in Martinique with Martinique Access'ile. Our tour guide was Noël Cicalini, himself a paraplegic, and the owner of Martinique Access'ile.
Noel speaks French, with English as a second language, and we spent the day discussing many things about travel and life and Martinique. Noel knows the fully accessible sites, restaurants, and restrooms, so our tour was relaxed and without any undue concerns.
Arriving on the RCCL Rhapsody of the Seas, we alit at the Tourelles Cruise Port in Fort-De-France. The weather was quite pleasant, cooler than expected with an occasional cloud, but no rain in sight.
Just inside the port there is a very tall building, and on the first floor there is a very nice accessible restroom, how handy!
Our first destination was the Rhum Sant James, rum factory museum in Sainte Marie. A beautifully restored building stands near the entrance. There you can taste and purchase rums. The first floor is accessible. See the Video Behind the main building stands another large building which houses many antique pieces used in the manufacture of rums, as well as large posters explaining the process. This building has nice, low ramp and is accessible on the first floor. ￼
The museum also has a steam engine train that goes through the coutryside to the banana museum. As our taxi would take us there after lunch, we declined a ride on the train. The depot also houses a older caboose.
The grounds have quite a few large pieces of antique equipment including a large water wheel, while no longer in use, the size is surprising.
I was fond of the metal artwork in the shape of a rum bottle but made from old metal parts.
There is also a local art boutique shop with nice gifts or souvenirs.
Next, we headed to Le Point de Vue, a French restaurant for a wonderful local meal. We enjoyed cod fritters for an appetizer, a nice wine, a hearty local meal with a fresh mango dish we particularly enjoyed, and Blanc manger, a nice dessert similar to American pudding.
The restaurant is on a hill at the northeast side of the island just by the sea. Being an open-air restaurant, you can hear the waves crashing and sea the waves approaching through the trees. A lovely spot for a meal.
For those with mobility challenges will find the facilities are fully accessible. The parking lot is gravel, but the handicap parking space is paved. There is a bit of downhill roll into the restaurant. The Whill C2 scooter managed it easily. The staff was very helpful with the menu, and you could tell they enjoyed having us as patrons.
The view of the countryside from the restaurant was very nice and relaxing.
Our last stop of the day was the Musee de la Banane, the banana museum. This is quite accessible, and we could have spent much more time there, if we had stayed on the island a few days. The museum building houses a number of exhibits explaining the history of banana cultivation worldwide, with a focus on the islands.
We tasted three varieties of bananas and found the figue pomme banana to be our favorite, over the cavendish, which is what we normally eat in the USA. We are going to find some figue bananas when we return home. To our surprise we discovered there are about 1000 varieties of bananas but only 300 are edible.
Behind the museum are a few paths through the forested areas that display a number of species of bananas, and we were able to see some bananas in early developmental stages. To get there you roll over a bridge that crosses a creek.
Some of the bananas begin connected by the sides at first and separate later, so interesting. There are also pineapple plants to observe.
La Banaeraie, an open-air creole restaurant across the parking lot from the museum, listed fruity drinks that sounded quite tempting. Just another reason to come for a longer visit next time!
It is accessible from the side.
A shop there sells banana liquors, banana ketchup, and local souvenirs, Of course, you are welcome to taste before you buy. We found ourselves buying a bottle of liquor, and the ketchup which was spicy and refreshingly different.
To return to the ship we took the highway and saw the communities nearby the port.
Overall, we really enjoyed our visit to Martinique. We felt safe at the venues and welcomed by everyone we met on our tour. We enjoyed trying local food, seeing the beautiful ocean views, visiting the historical sites, and learning about the agriculture.
We thank Noel for his well-planned excursion making Martinique accessible for us. There is so much more we did not have time for, and we hope to return. Until we meet again, au revoir Martinique.
This tour was provided courtesy of Martinique Access'ile, and the Whill C2 was provided courtesy of Scootaround, neither affected the content in this review.