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Martinique

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Hotel La Bateliere
Hotel La Bateliere - dream vacation

20 Rue Des Alizes, Schoelcher

Hotel La Pagerie
Hotel La Pagerie - dream vacation

La Pointe du Bout, Les Trois-Ilets

Karibea Residence La Goelette
Karibea Residence La Goelette - dream vacation

Presqu\'île de la Caravelle, Tartane, La Trinite

Karibea Camelia Residence
Karibea Camelia Residence - dream vacation

Les Hauts de l Anse Mitan, Les Trois-Ilets

Martinique is a Caribbean island that is an overseas department of France in the Caribbean Sea, north of St. Lucia and south of Dominica.

The island is dominated by Mount Pelee, which on 8 May 1902 erupted and completely destroyed the city of Saint Pierre, killing 30,000 inhabitants. In the South of the island, there are many beautiful beaches with a lot of tourists. In the North, the rain forests and the black sand beaches are worth seeing. The interior of the island is mountainous.

Cities

  • Fort-de-France : Capital.
  • Le Carbet :
  • Le Diamant : Beach town facing the iconic Diamond Rock.
  • Le Marin : The main harbour for sailboats, located in a bay.
  • Morne Rouge : Access to the Montagne Pelée.
  • Sainte-Anne : Perhaps the most touristic town as it is the access point to all the white sand beaches of the south, including the most famous but crowded Les salines.
  • Saint-Pierre : Former capital that was destroyed by the 1902 eruption, many historic remains.
  • Trois-Ilets : Across the bay from Fort de France and reachable by ferry. Touristic town with big resorts, restaurants and casino.

Other destinations

  • Macouba, a former tobacco town, currently a great look-out place with a great view of seas and mountains. On a clear day, neighboring island Dominica can be seen.
  • Balata, a serene little town with a church built to remember those who died in World War I and the Jardin de Balata a garden with thousands of tropical plants.
  • Presqu'île de la Caravelle, easy 30 min walk up to the lighthouse where you get a view of the whole island.
  • Tartane, fishermans village where you'll find the most consistent surfing.

Understand

Martinique is an overseas department of France and retains both French and Caribbean culture. The island cuisine is a superb blend of French and Creole cooking that is worth trying. The north part of island lures hikers who seek to climb the mountains and explore the rain forests while the southern portions offer shopping and beaches for those who chose to just relax.

Climate

Tropical and humid with an average temperature of 75°F to 85°F. The climate is moderated by trade winds. The rainy season is from June to October and the island is vulnerable to devastating cyclones (hurricanes) every eight years on average.

Seasons

There are two climatic and three tourist seasons on Martinique. The high season is between December and the end of April, with soaring prices and great crowds of travellers. From May to the end of November, Europeans tend to go elsewhere, as the weather is fine back home and travel possibilities are numerous. Summer months (July and August) are a sort of intermediate season, as Martinique and Guadeloupe residents often take advantage of the good weather to visit the mainland. Prices and tourist services, as well as airplane tickets tend to be rather pricey, or even extremely expensive at this period, so be sure to book in advance to avoid paying double.

All in all, if you wish to avoid tourist masses but still take advantage of a pleasant temperature, we would advise you to visit the island in May and June, as the climate in this period of the year is rather dry with an acceptable level of humidity, and tariffs are still quite on the low side. July and August are hot and humid months, but don’t be discouraged by tourist clichés saying that the so-called “cyclone” period is a horrible one: it does rain rather often, but the weather is still rather pleasant especially if you are planning to sightsee. Don’t count on taking a cruise ship in September, though, as you have considerably higher chances of meeting up with a hurricane or a tropical thunderstorm in this season.

Terrain

Mountainous with indented coastline and a currently quiet but still dangerous volcano as well as related volcanic activity.

Highest point  Montagne Pelee 1,397 m

History

Martinique was discovered on 15 January 1502 by Christopher Columbus. When he landed on the island, he found Martinique to be hostile and heavily infested with snakes and therefore only stayed three days. He baptised the island with the name given to the indigenous people, Matino (the island of women) or Madinina (the island of flowers).

The indigenous occupants were part of two different tribes. The Arawaks were described as gentle timorous Indians and the Caribbeans as ferocious cannibal warriors. The Arawaks came from Central America in the beginning of the Christian era and the Caribbeans came from the Venezuela coast around the 11th century. When Columbus arrived, the Caribbeans had massacred many of their adversaries, sparing the women, who they kept for their personal or domestic use.

After the discovery by Christopher Columbus, Martinique remained unexplored until 1632, when an expedition led by Pierre Belain d'Estambuc landed on the island at the same time that Lienard de l'Olive and du Plessis took possession of Guadeloupe. The French settled in the north west of the island at the mouth of Roxelane and built fortifications, which later became known as Saint-Pierre. D'Estambucs nephew, du Parquet, acquired Martinique and became its first governor. He made agreement with the Caribbeans and their chief and set about developing the island. Rapidly however, the Caribbeans' territory was threatened and revolt burst out. The courageous Caribbeans were no match for the power of the muskets and they were apparently pushed back to the cliffs and threw themselves in the sea.

Some 240 years later, some say as a resulting curse, Montagne Pelée erupted causing the total devastation of Saint-Pierre. Everybody who lived in the city lost their lives, with the exception of one person held in the city's jail.

Like the other West Indian islands, Martinique experienced a large economic boom due to its tobacco, indigo, cotton production and sugar cane. The lack of labour instigated the black slave trade from Africa between 1686 and 1720. Martinique's wealth resulted in rivalry between the other European nations who shared the West Indies. In 1674 the Dutch landed on Martinique, defended by just a handful of soldiers. They attacked a storage shelter and discovered barrels of rum. Completely drunk the Dutch were thrown into the sea by defenders of Fort Royal, which later became Fort-de-France after the revolution.

The revolution in 1789 never arrived in Martinique. During the revolution they decided to hand over sovereignty to the British to avoid being attacked by the revolutionists who had already attacked Guadeloupe. The British also occupied the island in 1804 and then withdrew in 1814.

During this time a beautiful Creole girl from Martinique, Marie Josèphe Rose married Napoleon Bonaparte in 1796 and became Empress Josephine in 1804. Slavery, which was abolished after the revolution, was re-introduced by Napoleon in 1802, apparently under recommendation of Joséphine.

The British abolished slavery in 1833. This measure encouraged the creation of pro-abolition movements in France where slavery was finally abolished in 1848. Source: Discover Martinique

Get in

Being an integrated part of French Republic, Martininque is considered as European as Paris politically, therefore European Union immigration rules apply. In short, EU citizens and citizens of many other industrialized nations can visit Martinique visa-free, others need a Schengen Visa. For more details, see European Union article.

However, if you are on a round the world trip on your own boat, and have an expired Schengen visa (while in need of a valid visa for entry into Martinique), it’s reported that the customs officers don’t care much about the situation and let you in – since you are supposed to leave the island in a short time.

By plane

  • From Paris: Air Caraïbes, Air France, CorsairFly ~450+€ round trip
  • From Caribbean: Air Caraïbes, Air Antilles Express and LIAT ~€150 round trip.
  • From Germany, FRA (via Paris): Air France ~€700 round trip.
  • From USA, American Airlines (American Eagle) is once again offering flights to Martinique, most include a stopover in Puerto Rico. Norwegian Air Shuttle [1] has direct flights from Baltimore/Washington (BWI) airport.
  • From Canada: Air Canada.
  • From South America: Cayenne (French Guiana) Air France Codeshares with Air Antilles Express.

By boat

From the surrounding islands, you can use these ferry companies:

  • Express des Iles
  • Brudey Frères

Cruise ships often visit "in season". Modest-sized ships can dock near downtown, and others moor in the Fort de France harbor, with passengers tendered to docks also close to downtown.

Get around

Public transport in Martinique is very limited, which could explain the reason why there are more cars registered in Martinique per person than anywhere else in France.

Despite the traffic, if you are going to make the most of your stay in Martinique, it is recommended that you hire a car. Without a car you will miss some of Martinique's best landscapes and scenery.

Due to the Taxi Union demands, there is no public transport from the airport, which means that you can either hire a car or take a taxi.

Taxis in Martinique are not cheap. The taxi fare from the airport to Fort-de-France is around €20, €38 to Pointe du Bout and Le Francois and €55 to Sainte-Anne. Be warned that taxis operate an extortionate 40% surcharge between 8PM and 6AM as well as on Sundays and public holidays. To call a taxi 24hrs dial 0596 63 10 10 or 0596 63 63 62.

Buses There are very few buses in Martinique. Most bus services are mini buses marked "TC", which stands for "Taxi Collectifs". The destinations of the buses are marked on a board either on the front window or on the side door. Bus stops (arret autobus) are normally a square blue sign with a picture of a bus in white. Most Taxi Collectifs depart and arrive at the Taxi Collectif Terminal at Pointe Sinon in Fort-de-France. They cost approximately €5 to Saint-Pierre, Pointe du Bout and Diamant, €7 to Sainte-Anne and €9 to Grand-Rivière. There are no timetables and the service can be unreliable. Most services are finished by 6PM weekdays and 1PM on Saturday. There are no services on Sundays.

Shuttle Boats There are shuttle boats every 30mins from Pointe du Bout and Trois Ilet to Fort-de-France. It is a very pleasant way of getting to Fort-de-France and also avoids the traffic. Services finish between 5:45 and 8PM depending upon the day.

Hitchhiking Hitchhiking is very common in Martinique, although like anywhere in the world not recommended. If you are going to hitchhike, take lots of water and try to stay out of the sun. There are very few footpaths in Martinique, so be careful and take the usual precautions that you have to take when hitchhiking anywhere. If you are unsure about getting into a car, just keep walking or wait for another car.

Driving in Martinique Driving in Martinique will be a pleasure in comparison to other Caribbean islands. The majority of roads are of an excellent standard.

Your driving license from your home country is valid in Martinique. Driving laws are the same as in France and you have to drive on the right hand side of the road. Distances and speed limits are in Km and Km/h. There are several speed cameras on the island and the Gendarmerie are carrying out an increasing number of speed checks, so you should always watch your speed. Unless otherwise stated, the speed limit is generally 50 km/h in towns, 90 km/h on major roads and 110 km/h on the autoroute between the airport and Fort-de-France.

When travelling to the airport during rush hours, allow plenty of time. The N5 and Lamentin can get very busy. It is particularly busy between 06:30 and 09:30 and between 15:30 and 18:30. Source: Discover Martinique

  • Windward Islands - Windward Islands, one of the worlds largest yacht charter companies, can take care of all charter requirements, from bareboat to crewed in Martinique, Guadeloupe and St Martin. Operating from 8 international offices (USA, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Caribbean, Monaco).

Talk

French and Creole patois are spoken on the islands; English is known by some inhabitants. They speak very fast so tell them that you do not know French well.

See

There are lots of nudist beaches in Martinique.

Do

  • 1 Gorges de la Falaise, near Ajoupa-Bouillon. 8:00h-17:00h. On a length of about 200 metres the river Falaise flows through a canyon (some ten metres deep and 1-3 meters wide). You can discover the canyon by a combination of walking and swimming. The canyon is on private property, hence the fee (it also pays for the guide). Be aware that some parts of the route can only be crossed by swimming, so you should wear swimming gear (no jeans, shirts, not even hats). However, you need to wear hiking shoes (no flip-flops etc.) as the hike goes over slippery stones. You can rent appropriate shoes at the entrance. Note that the guide might be able to carry small cameras, but don't bring mobile phones, huge cameras or other stuff. You can leave your clothes, wandering gear, electronics etc. at the hut where the guide is waiting. €7.
  • Anse Noire, Chemin rural de l'anse du Four. Beautiful beach on the way to Answe d'Arlet. Be careful if you swim there during or after the rain shower. The palletuvier trees are all around and will sip in the water ending up stinging you. Be aware!!! Paradise on earth. Black sand! We swam with tortules, what a majestic moment we had on this beach!!! Keep it clean please. Free.

Buy

Money

Like the rest of France, the official currency is the euro ("€", ISO currency code: EUR). It is divided into 100 cents.

US dollars are not accepted in shops, but some stores and many restaurants and hotels take credit cards. The best exchange rates can be had at banks. Not all banks will do foreign exchanges and may direct you to Fort-de-France to do such transactions.

Shopping

The best offerings include French luxury imports (e.g., perfumes, fashions, wines) and items made on the island, e.g., spices and rum. And some merchants offer 20 percent tax refunds for purchases made by credit card or travelers checks, though many may not accept the latter.

Shopping opportunities include:

  • Galleria, in Lamentin (near airport), is the island's largest mall, with several European branded stores and others.
  • Fort-de-France's Spice Market offers stalls full of local/unique flowers, fresh fruit and vegetables, and herbs and spices.
  • Rue Victor Hugo: Fort-de-France's main shopping street - a strip of sometimes tiny, Paris-like boutiques, island shops and vendors of fresh fruit and flowers

As a decidedly Catholic island, very few stores are open on Sundays or holidays celebrated in France.

Business hours: Sundays may find many stores closed. Check in-advance before hiring transport to any particular store or shopping area.

Eat

Martinique is unique in contrast to the majority of the other Caribbean islands in that it has a wide variety of dining options. The Ti Gourmet Martinique (2000) lists 456 cafés and/or restaurants on the island – not including the various bars some of which serve food as well as alcohol. The 1998 brochure produced and published by the ARDTM counts up to 500 food-service related establishments (this corresponds to over 3,000 jobs). Restaurants in Martinique range from the exclusive high-end gourmet restaurants to the crêpes, accras, boudin, fruit juices, and coconut milk one can purchase from food merchants on the beach or at snack stands/restaurants in town.

The abundance of both Créole and French restaurants reflects the predominance not only of French tourists in Martinique but also of the island’s status as a French DOM. There has been a growing interest in the traditional dishes of the island, and therefore, a more recent profusion of the number of Créole restaurants. Many of the restaurants tailor their menus to cater to both Créole and French tastes

In the 2000 edition of Délices de la Martinique (Delights of Martinique), the guide put together by the island’s restaurant union, the editorial given by the then Prefect and director of tourism, Philippe Boisadam, describes the contribution that ‘Martinique’s cuisine makes to the culinary arts.’ Olivier Besnard, the commercial director of the long-haul airline division of Air Liberté, wrote the preface to this same edition. He states that this Créole restaurant and recipe guide is ‘a tourist souvenir that you are welcome to take home with you.’ Francis Delage, a culinary consultant who assembled most of the recipes for this guide underlines the fact that the island’s restaurateurs are the gastronomic ambassadors of Martinique and that they in particular represent the ‘quality of the welcome,’ ‘the products’ and ‘the savoir-faire of Créole cuisine, which is truly part of France’s culinary heritage.’

The changes in tourist composition (behavior, interest) may very well account for the evolution in the culinary offerings in many of today’s restaurants. Restaurants in Martinique offer not only French and other International cuisines, but also the possibility of consuming the foods that the Other eats. In this case, the Other refers to the Martiniquans. Visitors can catch a glimpse of the behind the scenes reality regarding Martiniquan culinary practices through an ‘authentic’ Créole cuisine. An investigation of the new tourist, or “post-tourist” phenomenon (Poon 1999) venturing off the ‘eaten trail’ in search of something that is more authentic.

Restaurants, Créole cookbooks, public fairs and festivities, and the expensive dining rooms of foreign-owned luxury hotels where food is served, all present themselves as crucial staging grounds where ideas about Martiniquan cuisine, and therefore, identity, authenticity and place are continuously tested.

December 2008/2009 a website was launched Club Gastronomie & Prestige Look under the tab Partenaires to find the top restaurants in Martinique.

Drink

As in France, water is safe to drink from the tap, and restaurants will happily serve this at no extra charge (l'eau du robinet).

Fresh fruit juices are also very popular on the island along with jus de canne which is a delicious sugar cane drink which is often sold in vans in lay-bys off the main roads. This juice does not stay fresh for long, so ask for it to be made fresh while you wait and drink it as quickly as possible with some ice cubes and a squeeze of lime. Try their sugar cane juice, it is quite refreshing. Don't hesitate stopping on the side of the road to buy a drink off the locals who will make it in front of you.

Martinique is famous for its world class rums and the island today still hosts a large number of distilleries inviting tourist to explore its history. Production methods emphasize use of fresh juice from sugar cane to produce "rhum agricole", rather than molasses widely used elsewhere.

Although rum is far more popular, the local beer in Martinique is Bière Lorraine.

Source: Discover Martinique

  • Karaoke-Café, quartier Basse Gondeau 97232 Le Lamentin, 0596 50 07 71, bar/restaurant/nightclub, currently the trendiest place (but not the most typical). Live music, Karaoke, 80s, dance, techno, worldmusic. Entrance €20 with a drink.

Sleep

Camping is available in both mountain and beach settings. Setting up just anywhere is not permitted. For details call Office National des Forets, Fort-de-France, (33) 596 71 34 50. A small fee is charged.

In addition there are hotels, bed and breakfasts (French: gites), villas and even private islands, Ilet Oscar and Ilet Thierry, for rent.

  • Le Paradis de l'Anse (Paradise Cove Resort), Anse Figuier 97211 Riviere Pilote, ? +1 403 561-8223 (in Canada). Starting at Canadian $65 per night. Charming 18-unit resort with swimming pool, restaurant and air-conditioned units with ocean view. Detached cabins available. Family-owned and friendly. Also offers all-inclusive vacations, with car rental and tour guide services (to desert beaches and other activities).
  • PV-Holidays Saint Luce Holiday Village. This holiday village in Martinique offers self catering, air-conditioned accommodation ranging from 2-person studios up to 2-bedroom apartments for 6 persons. The holiday village enjoys a picturesque location on the south coast of the French Caribbean island, surrounded by tropical gardens with direct access to a beautiful white sandy beach.
  • Cap Est Lagoon Resort & Spa, ? +596 (596) 54 80 80, e-mail: booking@capest.com. Looking out toward the sea, colourful villas conceal dreamlike suites, with their small private pools, their views of the big blue ocean, and, of particular note, their outdoor showers. Exotic woods and abaca fabrics adorn the rooms in a fusion of Creole and Asian influences - La Prairie, 97240 Le François (Martinique).
  • Centre International de Sejour Martinique, Rue Ernest Hemingway. Officially the Only hostel in Martinique, 144 beds in 66 rooms. From 38 Euros.

The cheapest rooms you will find in Martinique cost around €25 per night, they are often offered by families who want to make some extra money, you will need to search carefully online or ask for taxi drivers.

Learn

  • Universite des Antilles

Work

For European people coming from an EU country, working in Martinique isn't a problem. If you're from outside the EU, you will probably need a work permit - check with the French Embassy in your country. Do not forget though that the unemployment rate is high. But if you work in the health sector (doctor, nurse), it will be much easier.

Voluntary service: Volontariat Civil à l'Aide Technique (VCAT). Only for EU/EEA-citizens. You must be over 18 and under 28 years old (inclusive). You must not have had your civic rights revoked by a court or have been convicted of certain offences.

Stay safe

Bring lots of sunscreen!

There are Metropole-style pharmacies which carry top of the line French sunscreen, that can be expensive.

Also, keep hydrated, especially when hiking in the mountainous areas. A hat is often a good thing to have because the sun can get extremely hot.

Watch out not to get caught in Paris Airport buying expensive overpriced sun cream when you can buy the same one locally at reduced cost

Stay healthy

See the above mentioned section. Heat prostration and sunburns can be a real threat to those not used to the climate.

Mosquito repellent is a good thing to have if you are sensitive to bites. There is no malaria on this island but other mosquito borne diseases such as Dengue Fever are present.

Watch out for the palétuvier trees. Their sap is corrosive like acid! If it rains make sure you don't go shelter under one of them as you will regret for the rest of your life!!!

Respect

Polite manners will go very far in this jewel of the Caribbean. When entering a business establishment, always say, 'Bonjour' and 'Merci, au revoir' when departing. Also note that things often run a lot slower in warm climates, so patience is a must. Also, don't expect kowtowing, smiling 'natives'. The Martiniquais are a very proud, dignified people and are often wary of impatient tourists without manners.

Unaccompanied women in tourist and beach areas are likely to experience frequent cat-calling and similar attention from men. A popularly stated reason for this is that there are a greater number of women than men on the island. The best way to deal with unwanted attention is to ignore the attention or firmly state a lack of interest.

Hear about travel to the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean as the Amateur Traveler talks to Gary Arndt about his journey to visit many of the islands in the Caribbean on a single trip. In this episode we talk about Dominica, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Barbados, and Trinidad. This episode is a continuation of episode 386 which talked about the Leeward Islands.

IN 2014, I set sail with my partner on a 1974 yacht. We left England in June and sailed south with no real idea of where we were going. I had never sailed before but I was spurred on by the promise of tropical islands, intriguing animals, and clear, warm waters. We ended up sailing for over two years, covering 17,000 miles to Panama and back again. This life-changing voyage opened my eyes up to this age-old method of travel and just how little you need to go great distances. 1

I was desperate to leave England’s chilly shores behind and head for the heat of the tropics. To me there was nothing worse than sailing in eight layers and freezing in the cockpit at night. But England had tricks up its sleeve. Anchoring in Mullion Cove, on Cornwall’s rocky southern coastline, I was astounded to discover that this corner of the world had its paradisiacal days too.

2

The ocean is a mesmerising place and sailing for weeks on end with no land in sight can lull you into a daze. Nothing is more sure to jolt you out of your pelagic reverie than the snort of dolphins as they appear, quite literally, out of the blue. Chattering away to each other, this pod put on a display worthy of Cirque du Soleil and stayed with us for hours.

3

Waking up to this view never got old. Anchored with just a few inches under the keel and protected from the Atlantic by a coral reef, this kind of scene was what I had sailed over 4000 miles to see. This is Tobago Cays, a protected smattering of islets and reefs. While the water may look clear and serene, just below the surface is an abundance of curious fish of colour imaginable. As I snorkelled around the reefs, sea turtles gently finned along past me, their conservation tags glittering like jewellery.

Intermission

33 places to swim in the world’s clearest water

10 drink recipes you can light on fire

10 invaluable life lessons you learn living on the ocean

4

When the Circle of Adults appeared out of the blue haze, it was almost horrifying. Coral clung to their bodies like mould. Fish nibbled at their cheeks and darted around their linked arms. Never have I felt so much as though I’d stumbled upon a forgotten tomb. I had been in Grenada for a month and this seemed a fitting place to visit on my last day. As I sailed away from the island, I felt the pull of the drowned sculptures. I was entranced and afraid in equal measures.

5

You never know who’s going to turn up when you’re sailing. This guy is a Brown Noddy who found us in the Caribbean. Refusing to leave his relaxing perch on the solar panel, he would merely jump every time we sloshed a bucket of water over the panel to wash the bird poo away. He made himself at home so quickly I wondered if he was here to stay.

6

Views from sea often captured things we’d never be able to see from land. This rainbow was cast over St Vincent and down into the bay where "Pirates of the Caribbean" was filmed. I’d often see rainbows at sea, sometimes on coastlines or in the spray of dolphins’ exhalations. It was the rainbows mid-ocean I found most extraordinary; knowing that I was the only person on Earth who could see that exact rainbow.

7

The fishing industry produces such a huge quantity of by-catch that it’s difficult to justify eating shop-bought fish. I had never fished before I set sail but that soon changed. Catching and eating my own fish really changed the way I saw the life-cycle. Sometimes, when my partner gutted fish, we’d find smaller fish in its stomach and I began to see the hunters and the hunted as a long line rather than a single act. With no by-catch either, I knew I was eating sustainably.

8

The longer I lived on board, the closer I felt to the boat. She was keeping us alive as much as we kept her alive. Especially at sea, I no longer saw her as a yacht, but as a living, breathing creature who was as much of our adventures as we were. The simple acts of walking around her deck, touching the rigging and running my hand down her forestay was akin to that of an owner and their faithful dog.

9

I knew very little about individual Caribbean islands before I arrived in the West Indies. I had only ever seen the Caribbean in holiday brochures and I had no idea what to except other than sandy beaches. In Martinique, one of the French West Indies, we discovered many working rum distilleries, ensconced in the history of the island. There’s something about sailing that opens you up to surprises like this. Booking a holiday often involves research of things to do, but sailing? You just wash up. This photograph was taken at the Clément Rhum Distillery.

10

Night time at anchor is one of the most exquisite experiences I’ve ever had. I watched sun sets over smooth waters, listened to the parrots make their way home to roost and listened to the gentle lapping of water against the hull. As much as night times can be noisy in strong winds, the can also be so silent it’s hard to imagine that you are even awake.

Martinique Alive

Lynne Sullivan

The earliest inhabitants called it the island of flowers and Christopher Columbus was so awed by it that he wrote "it is the best, most fertile, the softest... the most charming place in the world." You'll understand these accolades when you see Martinique for the first time. The volcanic mass is covered in luxuriant greenery, outlined in soft sand and sprinkled with colorful blooms.Part of the Lesser Antilles, the island is separated from its French sibling, Guadeloupe, by the British island of Dominica. Mont Pelée, a 4,470-foot active volcano, dominates the far northern region and the lofty peaks of the Pitons du Carbet tower over the central plains. Inland, a dense rain forest provides shelter for an array of wild vegetation. To the south, the terrain turns hilly with rounded formations called mornes, and uncommon succulents thrive in the arid soil.Tourists are drawn to the white-sand beaches that line the southern coast – washed by the Caribbean to the west; battered by the Atlantic on the east. Most of the island's activity is centered around the bay that cuts deeply into the southwestern shoreline. The bustling capital city of Fort-de-France wraps around the north side of this bay. The most popular resort towns stretch along its south side. Martinique has traditionally been called "the Paris of the Antilles" and "a little piece of France in the Caribbean." Evidence of this truth is everywhere and, although there are other French Caribbean islands, Martinique radiates more of the culture and charm of cosmopolitan Paris. Restaurants serve haute cuisine, stores display haute couture and people speak haute Français. However, in true West Indies fashion, you're just as likely to be served spicy Créole at a beach-side café by an islander wearing madras and speaking thickly-accented patois. Don't let rumors of unfriendly French islanders keep you away from this fabulous vacation spot. Perhaps the locals were a bit aloof in the past, but recently they have taken giant steps toward making Americans feel welcome. Most hotels employ English-speaking staff. Traffic signs are being posted in both French and English. Taxi drivers, tour guides, shopkeepers and restaurant employees are taking language lessons and anxiously looking for occasions to practice their pronunciation.This is a unique and highly detailed guide to the island, with full information on all of the hotels, restaurants and things to see and do. It is excerpted from the 650-page Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica & St. Lucia Alive guide.

Your Ultimate Guide to Martinique: Your official full length guide to the island of Martinique

Francesca Murray

Written from an American local’s perspective, the One Girl One World official Guide to Martinique goes beyond the clichés and cookie-cutter advice. This is an 80 page guide providing the best beaches, restaurant recommendations, public transportation and car rental information, safety tips, French and Creole phrases and more. I’ve heard your questions, studied your e-mail requests and after a year of research I’ve acquired a wealth of knowledge about what to visit. It's the most update to date guide available!

Martinique 1:65,000 & Guadeloupe 1:100,000 Travel Map (International Travel Maps)

ITMB Canada

Double-sided, very detailed topographic map of two French Caribbean islands with contours interval 50m. Includes two insets with street plans of central Fort-de-France (1:10,000) and Pointe-a-Pitre 1:12,500). The Guadeloupe map also features smaller islands of Saint-Martin, Saint-Barthelemy, Marie-Galante and Les Saintes. Suitable for cycling and even hiking. Double sided, with full place name index, printed on paper.

The Island Martinique (National Geographic Directions)

John Edgar Wideman

In this compelling travel memoir, two-time PEN/Faulkner Award winner John Edgar Wideman explores Martinique's seductive natural beauty and culture, as well as its vexed history of colonial violence and racism. Attempting to decipher the strange, alluring mixture of African and European that is Creole, he and his French traveling companion develop a powerful attraction to one another which they find at once threatened and elevated by a third party—the island itself. A rich intersection of place, history, and the intricacies of human relations, Wideman's story gets deep into the Caribbean and close to the heart of the Creole experience.

Travel Journal Martinique

VPjournals

Going on holiday to Martinique? This useful travel journal will help you research, plan and record everything to get the most out of your trip.

Plan using the list of cool places to visit in Martinique, great places to eat and a handy list of the best websites so you can do your own research.

Included in this book:

Trip Planning: Cool Places to visit in Martinique Great places to eat in Martinique Research your trip, including great websites to do your own research Postcard Reminder & Packing List

Martinique Trip Diary Write a daily diary during your trip

Record details of people you met during your vacation

Plus a shoe and clothes size conversion chart to help you get the right sizes

”An amazing journal to record and remember your trip or to give others as a gift for their upcoming holiday”

Enjoy your trip to Martinique, it is an incredible place

Fodor's Caribbean 2016 (Full-color Travel Guide)

Fodor's Travel Guides

Written by locals, Fodor's travel guides have been offering expert advice for all tastes and budgets for 80 years. Fodor’s correspondents highlight the best of the Caribbean, including Anguilla’s powdery white beaches, Bonaire's colorful coral reefs, and the scenic beauty of Jamaica's Blue Mountains. Our local experts vet every recommendation to ensure you make the most of your time, whether it’s your first trip or your fifth. This travel guide includes:· Dozens of full-color maps · Hundreds of hotel and restaurant recommendations, with Fodor's Choice designating our top picks· Major sights such as Maunday Bay, Playa Grande, Eagle Beach, Crane Beach, Seven Mile Beach, Grand Anse Beach, Baie Orientale, and Negril Beach· Coverage of Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Aruba; Barbados; Bonaire; Biritish Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Curacao; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Jamaica; Martinique; Montserrat; Puerto Rico; Saba; St. Barthelemy; St. Eustatius; St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Lucia; St. Marteen/St. Martin; St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago; Turks and Caicos Islands; United States Virgin IslandsPlanning to focus on just part of the Caribbean? Check out Fodor's guides to Aruba; Bahamas; Barbados & St. Lucia; Bermuda; Cayman Islands; Cuba; Puerto Rico; St. Maarten/St. Martin, St. Barth & Anguilla; Turks & Caicos Islands; and U.S. & British Virgin Islands.

Martinique, Guadeloupe & Dominica: A Walking & Hiking Guide

Leonard Adkins

“Amblers, hikers, beachcombers, power walkers, and anyone who likes to experience the Caribbean with their feet: this book’s for you.” Caribbean Travel & Life. “Writing as though he is offering advice to old friends, Adkins has unveiled the splendors of foot exploration on the islands.” Backpacker magazine. “Offers what no other guide provides - information on enjoying the Caribbean exclusively on foot. Keep this if you already own it; otherwise, try to purchase it from a used book dealer." Library Journal. “... Fast becoming a popular handbook for all manner of visitors to the Caribbean Islands." Roanoke Times. This brings you the most detailed information you will find on hiking trails on these islands. From easy walks along sandy beaches to rugged overnight hikes to quick uphill treks with stunning vistas en route, this guide has something to suit every member of your family. Walking times for each hike are given, along with descriptions of the route. Points of interest are highlighted, including plant and animal life you might see. An introduction to each island offers tidbits of the island's history, tourist information offices, air travel details and hiking organizations you can contact ahead of time. Maps of each island are included, along with photos. This unique guidebook covers every aspect of exploring these islands on foot. And conditions have never been better for Caribbean-bound walkers and hikers. Trails range through rugged mountains into areas with active volcanoes and cascading waterfalls. Excursions extend from one-hour town and beach walks to strenuous hikes that require the services of a local guide. So, whether you prefer to take in the historical sites and marketplaces or would rather work up a sweat on one of the mountain or jungle trails, you’ll find something to suit your tastes.

Michelin Martinique Map 138 (Michelin Map)

Michelin

Brand-newMichelin Zoom Martinique Map 138 joins the Zoom map series, which focuses on popular vacation areas. The map for this French-speaking Caribbean island includes an index, distance chart, and legend in English for easy reference. Travelers adventuring on their own will appreciate Michelin's high standard of clear, accurate mapping of the main, secondary and back roads as they navigate around Martinique. The information on scenic drives and sites, recreational activities, points of interest and walking paths will add to the enjoyment of the visit.

Exercise normal security precautions

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.

Transportation

Roads are paved and well maintained. Traffic safety is enforced by police. Night driving can be dangerous, especially in the mountains and on winding rural roads.

Public transportation by van and taxi is relatively safe.

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in the Caribbean, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in the Caribbean. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in the Caribbean, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, dengue fever, malaria and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Dengue fever
  • Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.  
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.

Malaria

Malaria

There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in some areas in the Caribbean, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

HIV

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.

Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Good-quality medical care is widely available. The island has several well-equipped hospitals that have a good reputation for quality health care. Payment in advance is often expected.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Canada and France are signatories to the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in France to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and French authorities.

Dual citizenship

Although France recognizes dual citizenship, dual citizens are considered French citizens and are subject to French laws. Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.

Driving laws

An International Driving Permit is recommended.

Imports/exports

French customs authorities may enforce strict regulations for Martinique concerning temporary import or export of items such as firearms, medications and animals. Contact the Embassy of France in Canada or a French consulate for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Money

The currency is the euro (EUR).

Investments

If you are interested in purchasing property or making other investments in Guadeloupe, seek legal advice from appropriate professionals in Canada and in this country before making commitments. Disputes arising from such activities could be prolonged and costly to resolve.

Climate

Guadeloupe is located in an active seismic zone.

The hurricane season extends from June to the end of November. The National Hurricane Center provides additional information on weather conditions. Stay informed of regional weather forecasts, and follow the advice and instructions of local authorities.