Martinique travel guide
When he discovered Martinique in 1493, Christopher Columbus gushed that it was “the most beautiful country in the world”. Since then this island has lost little of the magic that so captivated the great explorer: it remains one of the most beautiful destinations you are likely to visit.
Originally inhabited by Arawak and Carib Indians, who were swiftly eradicated by the French, the island has been hotly fought over. The British made numerous attempts to occupy Martinique during the 18th and 19th centuries, but it has remained defiantly French since 1635 (along with nearby Guadeloupe).
Tourism represents a major part of the local economy and each year hundreds of thousands of visitors come to enjoy Martinique's picturesque volcanic landscape, luscious rainforests and fine beaches, which are lined with sugar, palm, banana and pineapple plantations.
An accommodating people, most Martinicans are of mixed ancestry, being the descendants of 17th century French settlers and slaves brought from Africa to work on the island's plantations. This French and Creole heritage is infused in local customs, food and languages, which is a joy for travellers.
Do make sure you pack your dancing shoes. It’s impossible to escape zouk, the lively, two-beat local music that is similar to merengue in the Dominican Republic, but is unique to the French West Indies. Martinicans are very proud of their zouk, which will provide the soundtrack to your trip.
If you need a bit of Dutch courage to get on the dance floor, you’re in luck, because Martinique produces fine rum. So exceptional is the liquor, in fact, that it was awarded the prestigious French label appellation d'origine controlee, which was previously only reserved for mainland produce.
1,100 sq km (425 sq miles).
396,364 (UN estimate 2016).
343.9 per sq km.
Martinique is an Overseas Department of France and as such is an integral part of the French Republic.
President Emmanuel Macron since 2017, represented by the prefect Franck Robine since 2017.
President of the Executive Council Alfred Marie-Jeanne since 2015.
Last updated: 14 February 2019
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.
The hurricane season normally runs from June to November. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the US National Hurricane Centre and follow the advice of local authorities, including any evacuation orders.
Several thousand British nationals visit Martinique each year. Most visits are trouble-free.
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Martinique, attacks can’t be ruled out.
Martinique is a French overseas territory. Consular support may be limited in Martinique. However, the British Embassy in Paris, France can provide consular support to British nationals.
Safety and security
Avoid isolated areas, including beaches, after dark. Do not carry large amounts of cash or jewellery with you. Use a hotel safe for your passport, credit cards and valuables.
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Martinique, attacks can’t be ruled out.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
Martinique is an Overseas Department of France (départements d’outre-mer). If your passport describes you as a British Citizen you will not need a visa to enter Martinque. Other British passport holders should check the current entry requirements on the website of the French Foreign Ministry and if necessary confirm with the nearest French diplomatic mission.
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK ETDs are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Martinique.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
Dengue fever is common on Martinique. This is a mosquito-borne virus. Follow the advice from local authorities. If you display symptoms, consult a doctor.
General health care facilities, including emergency services in hospitals, and the availability of doctors, are very good and of an equivalent standard to those found in mainland France. Specialist treatment is also available.
You should get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. The EHIC provides emergency health cover for treatment in Martinique by the French state health service for which you will have to pay but you will be able to claim back up to 70% of the costs on your return to the UK. Visitors travelling (or being air lifted) to Martinique from other non-French islands specifically for medical treatment should be aware that such treatment will not necessarily be covered. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
If you are planning a permanent move to Martinique, consult the UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for advice on long-term entitlement as residents to health care provision under the French national system. Enquiries should be made to the DWP Overseas Medical Benefits help-line on 00 44 191 218 1999. Alternatively, information can be obtained direct from the English language service of the Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie (French social security service) on 00 33 8 20 90 42 12 or CLEISS (the Helpdesk in France for international mobility and social security) on 00 33 1 45 26 33 4.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 15 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
The hurricane season in Martinique normally runs from June to November. Monitor local and international weather updates from the US National Hurricane Centre website and check with local authorities or your tour operator for any changes to your onward travel plans.
The Montagne Pelée volcano is dormant; it is monitored by a local observatory and there would be warning well in advance from the local authorities of any imminent volcanic activity.
Travel advice help and support
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCO travel advice
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry.We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.