Martinique Cruise Port
- Overview of Martinique
- What language is spoken in Martinique?
- What is the national currency in Martinique?
- How do I get around from the cruise port?
- How can I stay in touch with home? Either via Email or phone?
- What are the top attractions and must-sees in Martinique? How long will it take me to get there and to explore?
- What are the best eats in Martinique?
- What are the must-drinks in Martinique?
- Which are the best souvenirs to buy in Martinique? Where can I get them?
- What is the weather like in Martinique?
Martinique, which is situated in the Windward Islands, has an east coast boarded by the Atlantic Ocean while the west coast faces the Caribbean Sea. Covering 425 square miles, Martinique has rugged mountains, dense forests, beautiful beaches and a thriving sea life. With an average yearly temperature of 79 degrees, Martinique has a steady sea breeze from the east and northeast and provides an excellent getaway no matter the time of year.
Check out this video of Martinique produced by the Martinique Tourism Authority. ↑ Back to Top
French is the primary language with many residents also speaking Creole. Most will speak English well enough that visitors can get by, but you may need more French the further inland you go.↑ Back to Top
The Euro is the official currency Martinique.
Do they accept US Dollars around the port?
US Dollars are not widely accepted. However, credit cards will be accepted by some restaurants. American Express, Visa and Diner’s Card are all widely accepted. Mastercard has limited acceptance.
Where can I get or exchange money?
Banks and ATMs will offer the best rates when exchanging money. The current exchange rate of the Euro to the US Dollar as of March 2011 is EUR$1 to USD$1.38.
Currency Exchange locations closest to cruise port:
- Point Change, located less than half a mile west of the port (see map)
- Martinique Change, located about 500 meters north of the port (see map
- Change Caraibe, located less than half a mile west of the port (see map
Banks closest to the cruise port:
Fort de France is a very walkable city. Here, you can find plenty of boutiques and restaurants while you take a leisurely stroll.
Known as taxi collectifs, buses are the cheapest transportation option. They run frequently during the week, less so on Sunday.
Taxis are metered as they are in the US and are widely available through Fort de France. Taxis are fairly expensive in Martinique.
Ferries, know as vedettes, run between Pointe du Bout, the main resort area, and Fort de France. This is a quicker and a good alternative to the heavy street traffic and problems that come with trying to park in the city.
Scooters and bicycles can be rented at Locabikes, located 500 meters northeast of the port area (see map.)↑ Back to Top
There are several internet cafes located in Fort de France and many have international calling available. Calling cards are widely available and can be used at payphones around town.
Where are the Internet cafes?
- Cyber Club Caribbean is located 400 meters north of the port area (see map.)
- Cyber Kolor's, located less than mile northeast of the port area (see map.)
- Cyber-base Bougenot is located less than half a mile northeast of the port area (see map.)
- Cyber Web Cafe is located less than half a mile northeast of the port area (see map.)
What are the cell phone rates?↑ Back to Top
What are the top attractions and must-sees in Martinique? How long will it take me to get there and to explore?
- Anse Cafard Slave Memorial, located 22 miles south of the port (see map), is a memorial to the 1830 wreck of a slave ship that killed many sailors, passengers and the slaves that were chained in the hull of the boat. The memorial consists of 20 white stone effigies facing ths sea and are a goosebump inducing tribute to those lost in this tragedy. The site, with its statues, makes for excellent photo oppurtunities.
- Mont Pelée, located 25 miles north of the port (see map), is the site of one of the deadliest volcanos in history, when in 1902 it erupted destroying the city of Saint-Pierre and its 30,000 inhabitants. Today many will either scale the face of the valcano (with a authorized tour guide) or drive up most of the way and scale the rest of the way to the summitt. Others just enjoy the forests and waterfalls near the base of the valcano.
- Balata Gardens (Le Jardin de Balata), located 5 miles north of the port (see map), is an expertly manicured garden that is a must see for plant lovers.
Check out this video of humming birds feeding at Balata Gardens.
The beaches on the west coast of the island and south of Fort de France tend to have more sugary sand. Those on the northern end are darker due to volcanic rock on the beach. The most famous beach is the Plage des Salinas, however it is about an hour away by car, located southeast of the port, near the southern tip of the island (see map.) It hosts many families and can get crowded on the weekends, but is generally pretty clear during the week. Other top beaches include:
- Anse Dufour is located directly south of the port accross the bay, but over 45 minutes by car (see map.)
- Grande Anse d'Arlet is located south of the port accross the bay, but over 45 minutes by car (see map.)
- Anse Mabouyas is located south of the port and about 30 minutes by car (see map.)
The main shopping strip is on Rue Victor Hugo where visitors can find any number of boutiques and other unique stores. Martinique is home to many French imports which include wines, perfumes and crystal. Local goods such as rums, straw goods and voodoo dolls are also available.
Below are some good shopping malls and areas:
- La Galléria, located less than 5 miles east of the port area in Lamentin (see map), is the closest thing to an American style mall as you will find on Martinique. La Galléria has a variety of stores including popular French chains such as, Bouche B, Kookai and Bonjour Paris.
- Centre Commercial de Place d'Armes, located almost 8 miles east of the port (see map), offers a variety of small boutiques and market areas.
- Centre des Métiers d'Art, located 280 meters northeast of the port (see map) is the place to go for local artwork, from paintings to potery, this market is truly a can't miss for those looking to take back some art from Martinique.
The Martinique Golf & Country Club - Empress Josephine Golf Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, is home to an 18-hole par 71 course and has small greens and bunkers throughout. The course is located on the western part of the island, south of the port accross the bay (see map) and first opened for play in the 1970s. The course is laid out in two returning nine hole circuits. The most dramatic hole is the par five 15th which is sandwiched between two par threes that play across the Caribbean Sea. Contact them at (596) 68-32-81 for tee times.↑ Back to Top
Martinique's waters offer plenty of color and a variety of dive sites. You can explore shipwrecks of ships sunk when Mont Pelée erupted in 1902.or the coral reefs off the Caribbean side of the island.
Below is a list of local dive companies that can take you to these dive destinations:
- Comité Martiniquais Des Sports SubAquatiques (CO.MA.S.SUB) – FFESSM
- Espace Plongée Martinique
- Crazy Frog
- Okeanos Club Diving Center
- Click here for more dive operator options.
Check out this video of a diver having a treat while on a dive off of Martinique.↑ Back to Top
Distillery tours are popular in Martinique and there are eleven distilleries to choose from, as Martinique lives up to its moniker "rhum capital of the world". Below are two best choices (partly because of the free samples) located at the bottom of Mont Pelée:
- Depaz Rhum is made at Depaz Distillery, located at the foot of Mont Pelée facing the Caribbean Sea, offers free self-guided tours where you get to see fields of rare blue sugar cane and enjoy samples of one of the best rated rums in the world.
- Rhum J.M is crafted by JM Distillery, located at the foot of Mount Pelée in the northeast part of the island. JM Crassous de Médeuil produces a fine white rum and during your visit, you can sample the rum at the boutique. Also be sure to tour the banana and sugar cane fields.
It is difficult to pick out just one must eat for Martinique. French cuisine fused with Creole delicacies means the dish should have seafood, be spicy and enjoyed with a glass of wine. Try Le Plantuer, located a 1/4 miles east of the port (see map) in the heart of Fort de France, for some culinary fusion.↑ Back to Top
‘Ti Punch (pronounced Teee Pauncchh!) is the national cocktail of Martinique. It is made with 4 parts agricole rhum (rum made from sugar cane, not a derivative like molasses), 1 part sugar cane syrup, and 1 lime slice squeezed into the drink. It is served over ice and is quite refreshing. Try it at Lilly's Beach Bar at the Hotel La Bateliere, located a couple of miles west of the port area (see map.)↑ Back to Top
Coral Jewelry, made by locals, make an great reminder of your visit to Martinique. The best place to find these items is near the port in Centre des Métiers d'Art (see map.)
Agricole Rhum is different from the industrial rums common in the US and it is what distinguishes and makes rhum from Martinique a great gift/souvenir. Agricole rhums are made from the sugarcane juice, while industrial rums are made from molasses; and you can taste the difference.
Fine French perfumes are available at excellent prices due to Martinique's trade relations with France and the ability to buy perfume for personal use duty free.↑ Back to Top
Average Monthly Temperatures and Rainfall in Martinique↑ Back to Top
Where is Martinique?
View Larger Map