Martinique Mini Guide
Martinique is a volcanic island in the Caribbean Sea which is lush and fertile and a uniquely beautiful place to visit. Many of Martinique’s beaches have black sand and there are rainforests in the north of the island. However the same volcano which has made the land so verdant, Mount Pelee, erupted in 1902 killing 30,000 people and destroying the city of Saint Pierre. The other main city of Martinique, Fort De France, is its capital.
Driving in Martinique is pretty good compared to the rest of the Caribbean and an essential way to really see the picturesque villages of the island. Once you have a car be sure to visit the former tobacco producing town of Macouba which has incredible views out over the sea – on a clear day you can see neighbouring Dominica. Another place to enjoy the view is from Presquile de la Caravelle, an old lighthouse. Travellers who have come to Martinique to search out the surf should head to the village of Tartane which is the most reliable spot on the island to catch a wave or two.
If you are a nature lover don’t miss the Jardine de Balata with its wonderful examples of tropical foliage, while Sainte-Anne is probably the most touristy village on the island where you can find the renowned but sometimes crowded Les Salines beach. It is not necessary to convert your driving licence when you arrive in Martinique. As the island is a former French colony driving laws are the same as in France which means that you have to drive on the right hand side of the road. Distances and speed limits are in Km and Km/h.
You should also note that there are several speed cameras on the island and the Gendarmerie are carrying out an increasing number of speed checks, so always watch your speed. Unless otherwise stated, the speed limit is generally 50km/h in towns, 90km/h on major roads and 110km/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 road and Lamentin can get very busy. It is particularly busy in the mornings between 6.30am and 9.30am and in the afternoon between 3.30pm and 6.30pm. The airport accepts passengers from the EU without a problem, while others may need to have a visa. Air Caraïbe, Air France, CorsairFly, Avior Airlines, American Airlines and Air Canada are the main carriers to fly into Martinique.
- Is an overseas region of France located in the Caribbean and is also a part of the EU
- French is the official language and the EURO is the currency on the island
- Its inhabitants are recognised as French citizens