Quirky historical sites complement European flair and Caribbean beauty on this French outpost.
With croissants and palm trees, all perched near a live volcano, Martinique is the definition of a refined French-Caribbean island – fashionable and elegant, with an abundance of flora. Filled with ruins and monuments, Martinique has been French, with a few interruptions, since 1635, and as an overseas department of France (since 1946), it revels in French history and savoir-faire. A leading destination for European vacationers, it offers gorgeous beaches, great food and a variety of accommodations – small, medium and resort.
Tourism is important, but so are banana farming, cane raising, and the rum business. With two world-class monarchs among its progeny – Napoleon’s empress Josephine, and Aimé Dubuc de Rivery, who was kidnapped at sea and made Sultana Validá, mother of Turkey’s Sultan Mahmoud II – the island delights in historical oddities.
Visitors can also explore Martinique’s rich history and cultural heritage through an extensive network of museums scattered throughout the island and a more recent multi-artist installation of totem poles in the city of Saint-Pierre.
With breathtaking natural beauty; hotels, villas, and Creole residences to suit every style of travel; pulsating authenticity, traditions and culture; magnificent protected hiking trails, intriguing mangrove tours, and canyoning adventures; world-famous surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, bill fishing, and every other conceivable water sport or just relaxing on the beach…
Martinique is truly one place that has it all!
This winter, Norwegian Air offers 7 weekly non-stop flights from the Northeastern United States:
– Departure from New York (JFK) on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
– Departure from Baltimore/Washington DC on Mondays and Fridays
– Departure from Boston on Wednesday and Sundays
Entertainment available includes:
Martinique’s two casinos, Casino de la Batelière Plaza located just north of Fort-de-France and Casino des Trois Ilets, offer slots, blackjack, roulette and more. Patrons must be 18; dress is casual. Whether you experience a Creole-inspired dance performance or an upbeat nightclub with techno beats, a visit to Martinique almost always includes a little – or a lot of – partying: Discos. Nightclubs. Cabarets. Dinner/dances. Theaters. Casinos at Trois Ilets and at Bateliere Plazza. Cinemas. Live Music.
American Airlines – Year round
Up to 7 flights per week flights out of Miami (MIA)
Norwegian Air – Winter season
6 flights per week out of New York (JFK)
4 flights per week out of Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
3 flights per week out of Montréal (YUL)
Air Canada – Year-round
4 flights per week in summer and 3x flights week in winter out of Montreal (YUL)
Air Transat – winter season
Bi-weekly flights out of Montreal (YUL)
Cruise passengers calling on Martinique discover a dynamic destination with distinctive West Indian charms and a lively French-Creole spirit. The world’s largest cruise ships make port at Pointe Simon and Tourelles, both terminals located in Fortde- France, Martinique’s vibrant capital city.
Cruise Lines featuring Martinique include:
Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Star Clippers, Club Med, Compagnie du Ponant, Costa, MSC Cruises.
By Boat: Ferry service is available between Martinique and Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, Dominica aboard sleek catamarans operated by:
Express des Iles (leaving from Fort-de-France)
Tel: 011 596 596 63 05 45
Jeans for Freedom (leaving from Saint-Pierre)
Tel: 1-767 255 1200
Additional Ferry service is available between Martinique (le Marin) and St Lucia with Compagnie Maritime West Indies
Tel. 011 596 596 74 93 38
All US citizens traveling by air to and from Bermuda and the Caribbean are required to have a valid passport to enter the United States.
For stays of up to three months, Canadian citizens traveling as tourists must have proof of citizenship in the form of a valid passport or a passport that expired not more than 5 years ago, or other proof of citizenship in the form of a birth certificate (original or official), or a voter’s registration card, which must be accompanied by a government-authorized identification with photo, such as a driver’s license. For stays over 3 months, or for non-tourist visits, a valid passport is necessary. Resident aliens of the US & Canada must have a valid passport and visa. A return or onward ticket is also required of all visitors. No vaccination papers required unless arriving from an endemic area.
Fort-de-France, the capital city. La Pagerie, birthplace of Martinique’s most famous daughter: Josephine, Napoleon’s Empress. Diamond Rock. Botanical Gardens where you can admire over a thousand varieties of tropical & local plants. St Pierre & the ruins from eruption of Mt. Pelee, the Pompeii of the New World. Volcanological museum. Castle DuBuc. Mont Pelée…. Martinique has so much to offer
Family Attractions – From zip lining at Mangofil Park to exploring canopy tree walks in Balata Botanical Gardens , Martinique has much to offer families. Along Martinique’s southern coast, you’ll find idyllic white-sand beaches lapped by clear turquoise waters. The north also has lovely beaches known for their silver or blue-gray volcanic sand, perfect for a family getaway!
Ecotourism – Two-thirds of Martinique is protected parkland, and the entire island offers visitors great opportunities to hike, ride, or paddle through an amazing variety of natural landscapes. Martinique’s well-maintained network of hiking trails extends 80 miles, taking you through beaches, bays, and mountain rainforests. You can also horseback ride, mountain bike, or go on a kayaking or canoeing excursion to a mangrove swamp or an off-shore islet. Another popular activity is canyoning, which involves climbing to the top of a waterfall, looking down into the mists of the tumbling waters—and jumping.
Cultural Heritage – In literature, major writers like Aimé Césaire, Edouard Glissant, and Patrick Chamoiseau focused on Caribbean history and identity, while Joseph Zobel’s novel, Sugar Cane Alley, shows the harsh life of plantation workers a century ago. Martinique’s history also resonates in the island’s mix of European, African, and Caribbean music. The quadrille originated in eighteenth-century France, whereas chouval bwa, bèlè, and zouk music all have Afro-Caribbean roots.
Rhum – The Rum Capital of the World, Martinique is home to 12 brands, each produced utilizing a unique rhum agricole method yielding blends comparable to fine cognacs. Martinique rhums are the only rums to carry the exalted Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) designation formerly reserved for the finest wines. Free samples are available at each distillery. Visitors can also purchase local rums throughout the island, including upon departure from Lamentin Airport at La Case à Rhum.
Scuba Diving – Martinique plays host to a unique niche diving market with over 22 dive sites, 45 diving structures of clubs and associations and a cornucopia of untapped wreck sites with optimal diving conditions in the bluest waters in this region. For novice and experienced divers alike, Saint-Pierre wreck dives offer an amazing opportunity to experience all the fun and adventure of multiple sunken ships in one concentrated area. The historical significance of the wrecks adds to the wonder of the experience, making it one of the most rewarding dive destinations in the entire Caribbean.
Documents needed for foreigners to wed:
• Birth certificate (or a copy with raised seal)
• Certificate of good conduct (including certification of ‘single status’)
• Residency card (one of the couple must have resided on the island at least one month, however 45 days minimum are recommended)
• Medical certificate (including blood test) issued within three months of marriage
• French translation of English language documents.
A ‘Bulletin de Marriage’ & ‘Livret de Famille’ are delivered at the ceremony. No fee is involved.