Balata Gardens (Le Jardin de Balata)

#8 in Best Things To Do in Martinique
Balata Gardens (Le Jardin de Balata) picture
Mica/Wikimedia

Key Info

10km Route de Balata

Details

Parks and Gardens Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
3.6

scorecard

  • 3.5Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Visit one of Martinique's most famous sites, the Balata Gardens, to see why this is "the Isle of Flowers." This private botanical garden just outside Fort-de-France is home to a staggering number of begonias, bromeliads, bamboo and about 300 different types of palm trees. There's a small admission fee to enter, and according to some recent visitors, it isn't worth it unless you're really into plants. Instead, you might want to take some tropical flowers home with you. You can arrange to have your flowers delivered to the airport, or visit the Balata Gardens' satellite shop in the terminal of the Martinique airport. They'll arrange special packaging to facilitate bringing your flowers on the plane.

Balata Gardens is a short drive from Fort-de-France and is accesible via car (parking is free), taxi or bus; the L25 bus takes passengers from downtown Fort-de-France to the entrance of the gardens. The gardens are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Entrance for adults costs 13.10 euros (about $14) and 7.50 euros (around $8) for children between the ages of 3 and 12. For more information, check out the Balata Gardens website (in French).

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#1 Anse Cafard Slave Memorial

High on a hill in southwest Martinique are 20 white stone effigies, silently facing Diamond Beach and the Caribbean Sea. They commemorate an 1830 catastrophe when a slave ship failed to properly anchor in Anse Cafard and careened into Martinique's Diamond Rock Mountain, killing many of the passengers and sailors as well as the slaves who were chained to the cargo hold. The chilling statues at this memorial are a popular stop and photo op for many, and although the monument has suffered some wear and tear, you too won't be disappointed with the overall effect. 

Recent visitors say the simple memorial is quite sobering, with one calling it simultaneously "humbling and beautiful." Others appreciated that there are signs posted in both French and Enlish at the site that explain the significance of the memorial.

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