Basse-Pointe, Martinique Surf Pro
First-Stop: Basse-Pointe, Martinique
Typically, our travel destinations are determined by surf competition locations. This Caribbean getaway was no exception! We came to Martinique for the 2017 Martinique Surf Pro which Shaun competed in. The contest was held at a remote point break in Basse-Pointe, on the northern end of the French West Indies’ island of Martinique. The northern half of the island is rugged with jungle and rocky cliffs, sprinkled with tiny towns every few miles.
Basse-Pointe is on the Atlantic Ocean side of the island, as opposed to the Caribbean Sea. Hence, it’s not the calm and quiet waters you may imagine when you envision the Caribbean. In fact, the only place I felt comfortable swimming (because of big waves and rocky shoreline) was in a semi-protected cove at a boat ramp. Nonetheless, it was beautiful!
An Interesting Infrastructure
The town of Basse-Pointe (and the northern end of Martinique in general) felt partially abandoned with several buildings in ruins from either fire or tropical storms. However at closer look, some of the seemingly forgotten buildings are actually current homes complete with a flat screen TV inside…
The Martinique locals drive nice/newer cars, wear Calvin Klein and each have a smartphone in hand. The roads are well-groomed and clearly signed. However, many of the buildings looked either neglected or completely abandoned. It’s an interesting infrastructure and juxtaposition of lifestyle to witness. Regardless, the locals seemed genuinely happy and warm to welcome!
(Of course, this is not meant to be a generalization. I am not referring to all of the buildings. Our Airbnb was a beautiful home, for example.)
The northern half of Martinique is a stark contrast to the more tourist-friendly southern half, where the capital city (and cruise ship port) Fort-de-France is located. The north is lined with banana trees along the hillside of a volcano, whereas the south is lined with cobblestone streets of boutiques, restaurants and anchored yachts in the bay.
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