Petite Martinique

Introducing Petite Martinique

Petite Martinique, with an area of only 237 hectares, is one of the smallest inhabited islands in the Caribbean. The cone-shaped island is volcanic in origin, and its highest hill, the Piton, rises 756 feet above sea level. It has a population of around 900 souls, and forms part of the Southern Caribbean tri-island state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

The first European settler was a Monsieur Pierre, a fisherman from the island of Martinique who came to the island in the mid-1700s. Apparently he figured that the island was shaped more or less like Martinique, so he named it Petite (or little) Martinique. Petite Martinique may not be the best place for you if you’re a thrill seeker, but for those looking for a restful, quiet, cultural and exceptional destination this may be the perfect spot.

Petite Martinique

flickr image by lolodoc

Here, the main occupation of the locals is fishing: bottom fishing, long line, dive fishing and fish pots. These snapper and grouper are generally sold to the larger islands in the north, such as Martinique, St. Maarten and St. Barthelemy. Boatbuilding is another Petite Martinique tradition, and like the village of Windward, Carriacou, located only three miles away, most of the shipwrights are of Scottish descent.

The guest houses in Petite Martinique match the scale of the island. All of the properties are under thirty rooms, but these lodgings make up for their small size by the attentive service they provide. You won’t get lost in the mix here. It’s advisable to make reservations well in advance due to the limited number of available rooms.

Petite Martinique

flickr image by Mark Barry

Petite Martinique weddings are quite an unusual affair and can be very extravagant as they are steeped in tradition. The ceremony of ‘dancing the cake and flag’ starts early on the morning of the wedding. The dancer holding the groom’s flag tries his best to keep his flag above that of the bride, symbolising that the groom will be head of the household. The cake dance is similar, with the dancer holding the groom’s cake striving to keep her cake above that of the bride.

Apart from the cake and flag dancing, you might be lucky enough to witness other traditional ceremonies such as big drum dancing, a tombstone feast or the launching of a locally-built sloop. Your guest house should be able to arrange day picnics and sightseeing tours of the neighbouring Grenadine islands. Other activities include snorkelling, sailing, scuba diving or hiking to the top of the Piton.

Most of the houses on Petite Martinique are modern concrete structures, but there are still a few, very photogenic, older wooden pitched roof homes, particularly at the eastern end of the island. The people here are welcoming and friendly, and you should be able to get some real bargains on liquor, beer and wine. It’s a great place for yachting; in fact, it is the yachting community that keeps the island’s restaurants alive.

Petite Martinique is accessible only by boat. There is a daily ferry service from mainland Grenada, and regular water taxi service to and from Carriacou. Grenada has an international airport serviced by weekly and bi-weekly flights from the United States and Europe.

Date posted: 29th December, 2012

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