North of St. Lucia and south of Dominica is the French island of Martinique. Concealed in the south of the island is Le Marin, a port of pure tropical splendour. As soon as you step off the gangplank, Le Marin envelopes you with its Caribbean breeze, enfolding you with visions of its hypnotic swaying palm trees and immaculate white yachts, bobbing peacefully in the harbour. Certainly, the port is a fusion of bougainvillea and beaches, yet perhaps it owes its magnetic beauty to the spectacular Morne Perou, a 167 metre mountain that watches over the tranquil harbour from afar. Known for its active volcanoes, there is a certain frisson to the island. However, there is an intellectual stimulus too, as the poet Aimé Césaire lived on the island until his death in 2008. Almost every local has a memory of the humble author and politician, and it is worth reading his essays prior to disembarking in order to get a tangible feel of his work. Be that as it may, Le Marin offers all things to all people and is a perfect jumping off point for outdoorsy types – delicious scenery makes way for spectacular beaches with blinding white sand and limpid waters. A luscious rainforest covers most of the island, making the city a delight for both ornithologists and divers alike. It is perhaps worth noting that as part of the French Republic, the official currency of the island is the Euro.