Martinique was discovered in 1493 by Christopher Columbus is and interesting blend of French and Caribbean culture. The island is mountainous and features four separate pitons or volcanic mountain areas. The Piton Conil and Morne Jacob are in the north of the island and the Pitons du Carbet is a group of five extinct volcanoes covered by beautiful rainforest. The highest and most famous of the island's volcanic mountains is Mont Pelee, which erupted in 1902 and killed 30,000 people in the town of St Pierre, which was considered the Paris of the Lesser Antilles at the time. Although the island has a sad past, the jubilant population celebrates colorful festivals, the restaurants offer great French Creole gastronomy and there are multitudes of beautiful sandy beaches.
Aimé Césaire Airport (FDF).
Miami is the main routing for passengers destined for Martinique from North America. Flying time from Miami is approximately 3 hours, from New York 4 1/2 hours, from Montreal 5 hours. Canadians may fly from Montreal directly with Air Canada to Martinique.
Air France flies directly to Martinique from Paris. There are no other direct flights from Europe to Martinique and international airlines fly daily to both Antigua and Barbados from Gatwick in London and other major European cities. From many Caribbean islands, www.liatairline.com connects to Martinique. LIAT also flies into Martinique from other islands.
Avenue Loulou Boislaville - Tour Lumina, 97200 Fort-de-Frence, Martinique, FWI. Tel: (596) 596-61-61-77.
Overall, Martinique is safe for vacationers and tourists, and most crimes that occur on the island are petty and nonviolent. Petty street crimes, like purse snatching and some pickpocketing, are of the main crimes that befall tourists visiting Martinique. Thieves will take advantage of tourist who may carelessly leave their valuables unattended on the beach or in an unlocked car. You can prevent these thefts by securing your valuables in your hotel room, and locking the door behind you when you leave. Also, remember to lock all doors on your vehicle to keep your valuables safe.
There are no travel visas required by North American, European or Australian visitors for visits no longer than 3 months. Guests traveling from outside North America or Europe or not holding valid US, Canadian, European or Australian passports, must check with their nearest Consulate. You require a passport that is valid for at least 3 months beyond your stay as well as a return ticket. It is advisable to check that your tetanus shot is up to date and a certificate of vaccination against tetanus, hepatitis A and B is recommended (but not compulsory) to all travelers. A yellow fever vaccination is compulsory for travelers coming from zones known as infected.
Good medical care is available throughout the French West Indies. Not all doctors speak or understand English. The main hospital in Martinique is the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Fort de France. It is advisable to purchase medical and cancellation/interruption insurance when traveling abroad on adventurous holidays.
GMT -4 hours.
Electrical sockets (outlets) in Martinique usually supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC on a European 2 pin plug. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need.
Carrefour supermarket is approximately 3km from Le Marin marina and is served by a shuttle service. You can expect to pay more than at home.
Martinique's country code is +596. Local cell phone providers have offices in most towns and you can easily get a SIM card to put in an unlocked cell phone. Coverage is generally pretty good, but far from total. Calls and data are relatively expensive by regional standards, with 1GB costing around €20. Local cell providers include SFR, Orange and Digicel. Wifi can be found for free at nearly all hotels and guesthouses, as well as in most cafes and restaurants.
As in the United States it is customary to leave a gratuity. In restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, tip service staff and bartenders 15% to 20% of the check, tip checkroom attendants $1 per garment, and tip valet-parking attendants $1 per vehicle. Tip cabdrivers and other service providers 15% of the fare or bill.