Martinique is a blend of Caribbean exoticism with a decidedly French savoir faire. Not only does the island boast unspoiled beaches and a lush interior, but it is also home to some of the Caribbeanís finest restaurants and museums. From its culture to its cuisine, the French-Caribbean combination is what makes Martinique so unique.
In the north the once-active Mont Pelee volcano is crowned by a swirling mist. The islandís pristine beaches range from the purest white in the south to the most saturated black in the north. Its low-lying countryside is unblemished and its towns are draped in frangipani and hibiscus.
The capital, Fort-de-France, is arranged like an amphitheater overlooking a yacht-filled harbour. Itís a wonderful place to explore by foot. The cityís architectural masterpiece is the Schoelcher Library, a Romanesque-Byzantine structure built more than 100 years ago in Paris, then dismantled and shipped to Martinique mosaic by mosaic.
Just north of Fort de France are the magnificient Pitons du Carbet mountains. A drive through the mountains yields plenty of great views and a closeup look at luxuriant foliage, including fields of guava, mango, papaya, pineapple, banana, and sugarcane. Nestled below the mountains is a recreation of Parisí Basilica du Sacre Coeur and a magnificent botanical garden brimming with the islandís hallmark anthurium.
New Year's Day; Good Friday; Easter; Easter Monday; Ascension; Pentecost Monday; Labour Day; Victory Day (8 May); Slavery Abolition Day (22 May); Bastille Day (14 July); Schoelcher Day (21 July); Assumption (15 Aug); All Saints Day; Armistice; Christmas.
US and Canadian citizens can stay up to three months by showing proof of citizenship. Citizens of the European Union (EU) need an official identity card, valid passport or French carte de sťjour. Citizens of most other foreign countries, including Australia, need a valid passport and a visa for France. A roundtrip or onward ticket is officially required of visitors.
1,100 sq km (425 sq miles)
Martinique GNI per capita
US$14,727 (UN, 2003)
French, French Creole patois, some English
Martinique Main exports
Bananas, petroleum products, rum
399,700 (UN, 2008)
Martinique Regional president
Martinique Telephone codes