Places in Martinique
View on the south cape of the Martinique island
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View on the south cape of the Martinique island

© Creative Commons / Antoine Hubert's

Martinique Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

1,100 sq km (425 sq miles).

Population

386,486 (2013).

Population density

351.4 per sq km.

Capital

Fort-de-France.

Government

Martinique is an Overseas Department of France and as such is an integral part of the French Republic.

Head of state

President François Hollande since 2012.

Head of government

President of the Regional Council Serge Letchimy since 2007.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are mainly European-style with two round pins.

When he discovered Martinique in 1493, Christopher Columbus, said it was 'the most beautiful country in the world', naming it in honour of St Martin. Before then, the area was inhabited by Arawak and Carib Indians and was called Madinina ('island of flowers') by the native population.

Though the British made brief attempts to occupy the island during the 18th and 19th centuries, it has remained under French control since 1635 (along with Guadeloupe).Tourism represents a major part of the economy.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of visitors are drawn to Martinique's picturesque volcanic landscape, its fine black, white or peppered sand beaches surrounded by sugar, palm, banana and pineapple plantations. The island's location also makes it a stopping-off point for cruise ships.

Visitors will appreciate Martinique's French and Creole heritage, which is mirrored in its customs, food and languages. Most Martiniquais are of mixed ancestry, being the descendants of 17th century French settlers and slaves brought from Africa to work on the island's plantations. In addition, visitors won't escape zouk, the lively, two-beat local music similar to merengue but unique to the French West Indies. Martinicans are very proud of it and it can be heard everywhere.

Finally, one should not leave the island without tasting its rum, considered among the best in the world. It was awarded the prestigious French label 'appellation d'origine contrôlée' previously only reserved for French cheeses and wines.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 29 October 2014

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

Martinique is a French overseas territory. There is no resident British diplomatic representation in Martinique. For urgent consular assistance, you should contact the Honorary British Consul.

The hurricane season in Martinique normally runs from June to November. 

Several thousand British nationals visit Martinique each year; most visits are trouble-free.

There is a low threat from terrorism  

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