South Atlantic Hikes
The Macabou/Salines Circuit Beach Walks
Time: 8 hours. Difficulty: 2-3. Open sun the entire time. Avoid venturing into the mangroves, where the mud is often deep. Bring water and snacks.
Trailhead: Grande-Anse du Macabou. From Vauclin, drive 5km south on N1, turning left on the road marked "Ranch Macabou." Past the gate of the ranch, follow the concrete road leading to Pointe la Voute, which separates Petite and Grande-Anse du Macabou.
This route skirts one of the most beautiful coastlines in Martinique. If you're not inclined to walk for 10 hours, even with swimming breaks from time to time, you can choose any of the four sections. All are accessible by car.
Section 1: Macabou to Cul-de-Sac Ferre (2 hours).
Beginning at Pointe la Voute, descend toward Grande Anse du Macabou by a narrow path found at the south of the Pointe. Grande Macabou Beach, bordered with coconut palms, extends to Pointe Marie-Catherine, which takes about 30 minutes. Notice the contrast between the point, where nothing can grow in the wind, and the lush growth along the beach, mainly coconut palm and sea grape.
From the top of Marie-Catherine Pointe, go back down to Anse Grosse-Roche, whose name comes from the huge rocks on the beach to the south. (The rocks, themselves, are obscured by vegetation.)
Arriving at Point Macrem, you'll discover Four a Chaux Beach and Baleine Beach. Behind these beaches is an undergrowth of sea grape (the fruit is poisonous) and the manchineel tree (the sap may burn the skin). On many beaches manchineels are marked with red paint on the trunk as a warning.
After two hours you'll arrive at the magnificent Cul-de-Sac Ferre, an almost enclosed bay bordered by mangroves and gently sloping hills covered with pale green vegetation.