After consulting a road map of Martinique and working through the directions visually, we got in the car hoping for the best. In spite of our best efforts, we overshot and ended up driving up and down some of the steepest hills I’ve encountered on this island. Ten minutes later and the car smelling strongly of clutch, we stopped at a “corner shop” (a curiosity of Martinique where a miniature grocery store is incorporated into the owner’s home—look over and you may see their family eating dinner or watching TV) to ask for the directions. Verdict: we’d passed it eight minutes before…
Finally making it to the chained-off path, we walked down it for a couple minutes and found what we were looking for: three basins connected by the flowing river in the wild. There’s nothing like tall, dense trees, large, bright red balisiers (red palulu, e.g. symbol of the People’s National Movement party in Trinidad and Tobago), and the sound of running water to make me feel like I’m in a natural, untouched part of the Caribbean.
There are vestiges of the area having been maintained—an old staircase and signs with names of the pools—but you can see the place has long been neglected in an official capacity. It’s also not found in any tourism guides or known by many besides locals. However, we did also notice some fresh cuts in the woodland along the “path” to the last basin. The first and last basin are quite shallow, but the second one was really deep—I couldn’t touch the bottom. The water isn’t that clear, though I guessed it’s relatively clean as it’s constantly moving. We got the feeling that the lack of rain during Carême resulted in a lack of moving water. In spite of all this, you have beautiful views and the opportunity to be surrounded by water, rocks, birds and trees.
All in all, it was a lovely afternoon out and it was exciting to find a place like this in Martinique that is unique, beautiful and easy to access without being overrun by tourists. In one way, it’s unfortunate that the place isn’t cleaned or protected since natural basins and waterfalls are quite rare in Martinique; on the other hand, this desertion is probably what adds to Fonds Nicolas’ charm. Personally, these basins could become one my favourite places to escape to in Martinique.
- Coming from Le Robert driving south towards Le Francois, you will enter a neighbourhood called Chopotte. On your right, you will see a sign to turn into that neighbourhood (it will be the first white sign you come across). If you’re coming from the south, it will be the second sign and you turn left.
- Follow the road until you come to another white sign that directs you towards Lamentin and Robert. Take the Robert direction (turn right).
- You will see on your left “Le Foyer Rural de Fonds Nicolas”—turn left onto that road.
- From there, keep an eye on your trip counter until you get to about 1.1 to 1.2 kilometres. On your left in between a house and some coconut trees there is a path with a chain across it. There is also a sign though it is hard to see.