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Fort-de-France is the largest city in and capital of Martinique.
Mopeds, cars, and taxis are the main mode of transportation.
Tropical and humid with an average temperature of 24°C to 30°C. The climate is moderated by trade winds. The rainy season is from June to October and the island is vulnerable to devastating cyclones (hurricanes) every eight years on average.
There are two climatic and three tourist seasons on Martinique. The high season is between December and the end of April, with soaring prices and great crowds of travellers. From May to the end of November, Europeans tend to go elsewhere, as the weather is fine back home and travel possibilities are numerous. Summer months (July and August) are a sort of intermediate season, as Martinique and Guadeloupe residents often take advantage of the good weather to visit the mainland. Prices and tourist services, as well as airplane tickets tend to be rather pricy, or even extremely expensive at this period, so be sure to book in advance to avoid paying double.
Mountainous with indented coastline and a currently quiet but still dangerous volcano as well as related volcanic activity.
Montagne Pelee 1,397 m
Being an integrated part of French Republic, Martininque is considered as European as Paris politically, therefore European unnion immigration rules apply. In short, EU citizens and citizens of many other industrialized nations can visit Martinique visa-free, others need a Schengen Visa. For more details, see European unnion article.
However, if you are on a round the world trip on your own boat, and have an expired Schengen visa (while in need of a valid visa for entry into Martinique), it’s reported that the customs officers don’t care much about the situation and let you in – since you are supposed to leave the island in a short time.
From the surrounding islands, you can use these ferry companies:
Express des Iles
Cruise ships often visit "in season". Modest-sized ships can dock near downtown, and others moor in the Fort de France harbor, with passengers tendered to docks also close to downtown.
Public transport in Martinique is very limited, which could explain the reason why there are more cars registered in Martinique per person than anywhere else in France.
Despite the traffic, if you are going to make the most of your stay in Martinique, it is recommended that you hire a car. Without a car you will miss some of Martinique's best landscapes and scenery.
Due to the Taxi unnion demands, there is no public transport from the airport, which means that you can either hire a car or take a taxi.
Taxis in Martinique are not cheap. The taxi fare from the airport to Fort-de-France is around €20, €38 to Pointe du Bout and Le Francois and €55 to Sainte-Anne.
Buses There are very few buses in Martinique. Most bus services are mini buses marked "TC", which stands for "Taxi Collectifs". The destinations of the buses are marked on a board either on the front window or on the side door. Bus stops are normally a square blue sign with a picture of a bus in white.
Shuttle Boats There are shuttle boats every 30mins from Pointe du Bout and Trois Ilet to Fort-de-France. It is a very pleasant way of getting to Fort-de-France and also avoids the traffic.
Hitchhiking is very common in Martinique, although like anywhere in the world not recommended. If you are going to hitchhike, take lots of water and try to stay out of the sun. There are very few footpaths in Martinique, so be careful and take the usual precautions that you have to take when hitchhiking anywhere. If you are unsure about getting into a car, just keep walking or wait for another car.
French and Creole patois are spoken on the islands; English is known by some inhabitants. they speak very fast so tell them that you do not know french well.
Fort Saint-Louis, a fortress on a peninsula in Fort-de-France harbour constructed during the reign of Louis XIII. It currently houses a French naval base, and parts of the fortress have been turned into a museum and are open to the public.
Bibliothèque Schoelcher, One the nicest colonial buildings in town is a library, located next to place de la savane.
Le grand marché, rues Blénac et Isambert. Covered market.
Place de la Savane.
Dillon distillery, 9, route de Chateauboeuf.. A small museum about rum making in the former distillery Dillon.
All the rum making process has now moved to a new site.
Sacré-Coeur de Balata, a replica of the Montmartre Church in Paris, constructed in 1925 on a cliff surrounded by tropical forest. Open everyday from 8 to noon and 3 to 6.
Jardin de Balata, (10 km away on the road to Morne Rouge). Botanical garden with more than 200 species of plants and flowers.
Cascade Absalon, Up on the route de Balata, take a left right after the Balata Gardens. Easily accessible waterfall where you can swim in the water basin. Park the car just after the bridge and watch out on the slippery steps.
What to do
Hike to Cascade Didier. Walk down towards the river, cross the bridge and up on the other side you ll find a tunnel, bring a flash light. The 1st waterfall is now a 15 min walk away up the river, it is around 6 meter high and jumping from the top is possible. The 2nd waterfall is another 45 mins up the river and consist of a 25 m drop in a basin where you can swim.
La Galleria, in Lamentin (near airport), is the island's largest mall, with several European branded stores and others.
Fort-de-France's Spice Market offers stalls full of local/unique flowers, fresh fruit and vegetables, and herbs and spices.
Rue Victor Hugo is Fort-de-France's main shopping street... a Paris-like strip of boutiques, island shops and vendors of fresh fruit and flowers
Leader Price, rue Ernest-Deproge. If you re travelling by boat, this is the closest to restock on groceries.