Here are answers to common travelers questions
1 - Martinique at a glance
An overseas department of France, Martinique is one of the Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles group. The island is 4,350 miles away from France, 1,950 miles from New York and 275 miles from the closest South American coastline.
- With a surface area of 425 square miles, Martinique is 50 miles long and 24 miles at its widest part. The north is mountainous and characterized by dense forests and waterfalls. Mount Pelée is the island’s highest peak, culminating at 4,500 feet. In the center, the Lamentin Plain transitions to the South’s gentler and geologically older landscape of rolling hills. The southern coast is dotted with picturesque bays and coves.
With an average temperature of 79°F (26°C), Martinique has a fairly mild climate. The trade winds from North East provide a steady refreshing breeze. The island is lush with vegetation: lavish tropical forests, groves, savannas, and countless species of trees, plants and flowers, not to mention mangrove swamps.
- FORT-DE-FRANCE CAPITAL CITY: A BUSTLING CITY
Fort-de-France is the business center and administrative capital of the island with many tourist attractions most of which are grouped around “La Savane” city’s park. Approximately one quarter of the population resides in the capital, Fort-de-France.
- POPULATION & CULTURE
With 375 265 inhabitants, Martinique has a multiethnic population. This diversity stems from the cultural mixing of the island’s successive inhabitants: Amerindians, Europeans, Africans, Indians, Levantines and Asians.
The official language is French, although everyone speaks Creole, a language that is a blend of French, English, and African languages, as well as surviving Amerindian terms. English is spoken in tourist areas.
- MARTINIQUE’S RUMS, THE BEST IN THE WORLD
Martinique’s rums have been awarded the prestigious French label “appellation d’origine contrôlée” previously reserved only for French cheeses and wines. Throughout the island, rum distilleries welcome visitors for sampling their product.
The EURO is the legal currency. US DOLLARS can be converted to Euros at change offices in downtown Fort-de-France and at the airport. Bank-operated 24-hour ATMs can also be found throughout the island. . Many vendors also accept US DOLLARS, so cruise visitors are advised to bring small denomination bills. All major credit cards are accepted, which makes paying easy if you don’t have EUROS.
- ENTRY FORMALITIES FOR CRUISE VISITORS DURING THEIR SHIP’S CALL IN MARTINIQUE
Citizens of the European Economic Community, the United States, Canada and Japan are authorized to disembark in Martinique without a visa. Passengers requiring a visa must hold one of the following:
- a currently valid Schengen visa, regardless of the terms of the visa and the issuing country.
- a valid visa for the United States.
- a currently valid residence permit issued by a member state of the European Union, the European Economic Area, Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco or San Marino.
- or a currently valid residence permit issued by Canada, Japan, or the United States of America.
Passengers holding a valid passport but not fulfilling the conditions previously mentioned can obtain a limited visa for their visit in Martinique and/or Guadeloupe for the price of 60 euros per passenger. This visa is charged once and is valid both for Martinique and Guadeloupe in case of successive calls in both islands during the same cruise.
Nationals of the following countries Russia, China, South Africa, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan may obtain free passes from the Prefecture upon the ship’s agent request. Common law rules apply to crew members. Passengers or crew members not fulfilling one of these conditions cannot leave the ship
2 - Preparation
- What do I need to bring?
First bring your valid passport! Bring light clothing as well as something a little warmer to wear on cool evenings, sunglasses, sunscreen and mosquito repellant.
First bring your valid passport! Bring light clothing as well as something a little warmer to wear on cool evenings, sunglasses, sunscreen and mosquito
- Is there a particular dressing code?
Only high-end restaurants and clubs enforce a dress code; look for signs that read tenue correcte exigée (smart dress required). Elsewhere, dress is casual but generally stylish – save your beachwear for the beach. Topless bathing is very common on the island, particularly at resort beaches. Do bring a waterproof jacket if you plan to do any outdoor activities, and remember that the biggest health risk here is mosquito-borne disease: it’s advisable to have cool but long garments that cover your ankles and arms to wear in the evenings. Bring your lotion against mosquitos
3 - Money
- How much tip should I give?
Restaurants generally add a 15% service charge to all bills, which you can supplement if you think the service is outstanding. Some hotels also add a 10% service charge to your bill. Tip taxi drivers at least 15% of the fare.
- Currency Exchange
- 4 rue Ernest Deproge – 97200 FORT DE FRANCE
- Open from Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm
- Open on Saturdays from 8 am to 12:30 pm
- t: + 596 596 60 28 40
- 14 rue Victor Hugo – 97200 FORT DE FRANCE
- t: + 596 596 60 35 56
- 137, rue Victor Hugo – 97200 FORT DE FRANCE
- t: + 596 596 63 80 33
Need cash? ATMs are available. Fees may apply.
4 - Transportation
- Rental car
Major car rental companies operate in Martinique – Budget, Hertz, Avis and more. Regardless of which company you choose, you’ll be hit with a value-added tax (VAT) of 8.5% on top of the final bill.
Taxis must contain a working meter. For an idea of prices, taxi rates between Fort-de-France and Pointe du Bout are 65€.
The least expensive and most colorful way to transfer between Fort-de-France and Pointe du Bout is via one of the ferryboats. The fare is about 7€ or $9.
- Shore Excursions
Great sightseeing opportunities are available through your cruise line.
5 - Emergency
- Emergency numbers
- Samu (Medical Emergency)
t: + 596 596 75 15 75 or dial 15
- Sos médecin (Doctor)
t: + 596 596 63 33 33
- Fire Department
- Sea Rescue (CROSSAG)
t: + 596 596 70 92 92
- Samu (Medical Emergency)