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Martinique



Martinique Travel Guide


Its full name is the Department of Martinique, an area of over 1,000 square kilometres, which is enveloped by the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago. This Caribbean island has around 415,000 people living on it, with a quarter of those dwelling on the islands’ capital of Fort-de-France. The inhabitants are mainly of African descent with a few French, Indian, Lebanese and Syrian people making their home upon the island. The folk are mostly of a Roman Catholic religion, speaking English or French and who make most of their profits from rum, bananas, construction, cement, oil refining, sugar and tourism with the main trading being with Guadeloupe, France, UK, French Guiana and Italy.

French settlement in Martinique began in 1635, since then they haven’t budged and have taken possession of the island, except for a couple of short periods when the British occupied the country, once around 1763 and again around 1794. Over the years, Martinique has undergone a lot of development, with most of its bigger towns becoming totally urbanised, especially its capital, Fort De France, a chaotic city, where locals and tourists alike, bustle around the markets or make there way down to the harbour, onto the boats. There is also a large area of the island that has been timbered, with other regions being used as plantations for bananas, pineapples and sugar cane.

When it comes to tourism though, activities abound, with hiking being very popular, especially in the rainforests, with the more advanced hikes to the north west of the country and untouched northern coast, especially at Mont Pelée. Visitors will also find that the country is surrounded by imposing mountain peaks, the tallest being the inactive volcano of Mont-Pelée, which crippled the country in 1902, with its tremendous volcanic eruption, causing devastation on the island of St-Pierre. There are also a few botanical gardens to walk round, whose flora include some colourful exotic species of plants and around the isolated villages of Grand' Rivière and Tartane, visitors will get an insight into the tradition and culture of Martinique. Any travellers who enjoy water sport activities will find diving is a well-liked pastime, with visitors enjoying adventures to the bottom of the ocean to explore sunken ships. Tourists who just want to fry in the sun though, will find the beaches very clean and beautiful, especially Les Salines beach, with its vast stretch of hot, white sand, clear blue ocean and water fun, such as swimming and snorkelling, to help cool sizzling bodies down.

The easiest and fastest way to travel around Martinique is by hire car, with plenty of availability being found at the airport. Anyone that’s left their driving license at home though can jump on the local bus, called taxi collectives, the fares are cheap and tourist routes go from Fort-de-France and Saint-Pierre. Taxis are another option but will drain the resources at a much faster rate! There are some ferries in Martinique that provide very good regular services and will take passengers from Pointe du Bout to Fort-de-France.

Getting into the country is a breeze for the French, who can get direct flights using many an airline including Air France, Air Liberté and AOM, with Air France also flying direct from Miami. It's not too hard to get to the island from America though, with American Airlines having flights from Boston, New York and Miami and connecting in San Juan in Puerto Rico. Anyone from the Caribbean will be able to fly with Air Martinique, Air France and Air Guadeloupe, which will take passengers from Guadeloupe, St Lucia and St Martin to Martinique. The country is hot, hot, hot all year, every year with humidity being at it’s highest during September. To avoid sizzling in the sun, visitors should get down here in the more bearable, drier season, around February to May, which is also when the Mardi Gras Carnival is held, a five-day celebration when the streets are cram-packed with music, dancing and costume parades.

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