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Martinique – General Overview

Martinique is an island serving up sophisticate yet folksy charm. The Martiniquais are a warm and welcoming people who enjoy interacting with the tourists who flock to their island. You can enjoy restaurants, nightclubs, casinos as well as more natural activities like scuba diving, snorkeling and golf. Though the island has a tumultuous past, including the destruction of the cultural city of St. Pierre, it offers numerous diversions and is a great place to come to soak up the sun or explore the wilderness of the southern part of the island.   The beaches are amazing and have beautiful rosy sand in the south and there are coral beaches in the north. If you are a history buff, there are a number of small museums and art galleries, all of which offer a glimpse into the interesting history of the island. This island offers so much to see and do, it would be impossible to see in it all in just one trip… a great reason to keep going back.

Most Popular Beaches

Considered to be the best beach on Martinique, Les Salines is quiet and uncrowded with beautiful white sand and coconut palms. Waters here are generally calm and great for swimming. Another beach that is quiet during the week is Diamant Beach which is a favorite spot for locals to picnic.

Anse Corps de Garde is another beautiful white sand beach located on the Caribbean coast. The swimming is great due to the super still waters. If you are more interested in windsurfing or skiing, you should head for Pointe du Marin, and you can enjoy the great restaurants and bars while you are there.

Keep in mind, most beaches are topless. Also, the waters on the Caribbean side of the island are much calmer than and safer for swimming.

Traveler Facts

Travel & Transportation

The airport near Fort-de-France offers daily flights from the US and other islands in the Caribbean. You can also arrive via ferries or catamarans from neighboring islands like St. Lucia, Dominique, and Guadeloupe.

Entry Requirements

US citizens require only a passport if staying for less than 90 days. 

Languages Spoken / official language – The primary language is French, but English is spoken in the larger cities and resorts.

Currency – The Euro is the only accepted currency on the island.

Tipping - All restaurants include a 15% service charge in their menu prices. If you feel the service was exceptional, you can add an additional amount, especially if you intend on returning!

Taxes – A resort tax varies from city to city. Hotels will usually include a 10% service charge but others will add an additional 10% on top of the quoted charge.

Electricity – In order to use American Appliances in the 220 volt sockets, you will need to bring a converter and an adapter.

Immunizations Health Issues - No immunizations are required to enter the country. Mosquito repellant is a necessary addition to your toiletries, as they can be thick. Also, no one on the island, including locals, drinks the water from the tap, so buy some bottled in a local market.

Martinique Marriage License & Wedding Requirements Information

Most people choose only to renew their vows or to have a wedding celebration on the island of Martinique, as the law requires one of the parties to be a Martinique resident (with proof) for over one month prior to the wedding.

Tourism Office Information

Comité Martiniquais du Tourisme
Immeuble Le Beaupré  - Pointe de Jaham
97233 Schoelcher
Tel: (596) 596 61 61 77
Fax: (596) 596 61 22 72

www.martinique.org

Other Martinique Related Websites

www.worldtravelguide.net/country/165/country_guide/Caribbean/Martinique.html

www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Caribbean_and_Central_America/Martinique/TravelGuide-Martinique.html

www.fodors.com/world/caribbean/martinique

www.lonelyplanet.com/worldguide/martinique

Climate Information (When is the Best Time to Travel)

The temperature in Martinique averages 79 degrees year round and only varies about 5 degrees from summer to winter. There are light tropical rains that can come and go quickly, but the weather is beautiful for traveling and enjoying the island year round.

High & Low Season for travel: High season runs from mid-November through May, and the island can be quiet the rest of the year, with some hotels closing down for months, particularly in September and October. Those places that remain open offer significant discounts.

Map of Martinique

http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/namerica/caribb/martnque.htm

Local Attractions & Must Do’s

You must go to the city of Fort-de-France, the capital, to see the New Orleans’ like atmosphere with European charm and a tropical twist. There are multiple restaurants and parks. The Aquarium de Martinique boasts nearly 250 species of sea creatures is a great place to spend an afternoon.

The Balata Botanical Gardens is a beautiful place to see some of the areas best flora and since it has been maintained for over 20 years, the garden is just spectacular. La Pagerie is the birthplace of Josephine, Napoleon’s wife, and you can see the museum dedicated to her life there including personal relics and a love letter from Napoleon.

The city of St-Pierre was nearly completely destroyed by Mt. Pelee when it erupted in 1902. The museum there shows all types of artifacts discovered in the excavations of the cities ruins.

You may also want to check out some of the island’s hot spots for scuba diving and snorkeling. Windsurfing and waterskiing are also popular activities for locals and tourists alike.

Most Popular Hotels

Club Med Buccaneer’s creek in Ste Anne is a great place to stay offering lots of sports, activities, and a great location. For a romantic spot, the Plein Soleil Hotel in Le Francois offers beautiful views from it’s hilltop location. The romantic feel of the hotel really sets the mood for a honeymoon or romantic getaway. For a beach front resort try the Cap Est Lagoon Resort & Spa. It overlooks the sea with the clearest, sparkling blue water. The hotel offers state of the art facilities and consists of all villas and suites. Habitation Lagrange is a secluded getaway nearly 20 minutes from civilization where guests are pampered in a plantation style hotel. The surroundings are lush and tropical, making this another great romantic spot.