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  • Le-Marin-marina-Martinique - Martinique's Le Marin became the largest marina in the Caribbean because of its prime location. It's protected by Borgnesse Pointe and Pointe Marin Bay.
  • martinique-sainte-anne-sunset.jpg - Sunset over the bay fronting Anse Michel in Martinique.
  • kayaking-Anse-Michel-Martinique-2 - Kayaking in l'Anse Michel: Canoeing and kayaking are some of the best ways to explore the coastline of Martinique.
  • Martinique-botanical-garden - The botanical gardens of Martinique contain a bounty of botanical beauty and wildlife.
  • Sainte-Anne-pathway-Martinique - On the path to the village of Sainte-Anne, a scenic town full of beaches and bungalows.
  • martinique-beach-scene.jpg - A serene stretch of beach on Martinique.
  • Anse-Michel-Martinique.jpg - The turquoise waters of Anse Michel in Martinique.
  • le-marin-drone-footage6.png - Drone footage of Le Marin Lagoon in Martinique.
  • le-marin-drone-footage4.png - Drone footage of the beach in Le Marin, Martinique, taken during a sailing on Silver Spirit.
  • Le-Marin-beach-2.jpg - The scene along the beach in Le Marin, Martinique, where you're as likely to hear French as English.
  • kayaking-Anse-Michel-Martinique - Go kayaking at L'Anse Michel beach in Sainte-Anne Peninsula, a pristine, popular boat trip destination in Martinique.
  • le-marin-drone-footage2.png - Drone footage of Le Marin marina in Martinique taken during a sailing on Silver Spirit.
  • Sainte-Anne-beach-Martinique - Visitors can enjoy a peaceful beach along the clear waters and sandy beaches of Sainte Anne, Martinique.
  • Saint-Pierre-Martinique-2 - In addition to its beautiful sandy beaches, Saint Pierre also has offers alcoves, fountains and botanical gardens.
  • Food-Le-Bredas-Martinique - A spread with local cuisine at an even showcasing art, cuisine and culture in Martinique.
  • Grande-Anse-des-Salines.jpg - Grand Anse d'Arlet is one of the more popular beaches on Martinique.
  • child-La-Marin-in-Martinique - A local child in the town and commune of La Marin in Martinique, which has attractions and activities for people of every age.
  • Gourmonde-dish-at-Les-Filets-Bleus.jpg - A Gourmonde salad and milkshake at Les Filets Bleus on the beach of Le Marin, Martinique.
  • Martinique-stream-and-rocks - Along the streams in the forests of Martinique you'll see fish, shells, lizards and wildlife.
  • Tonton-Leon-Martinique - A local resident of Martinique. The island is a great place to relax and soak in the French-Caribbean culture.
  • Horseback-Riding-on-Martinique - Horseback riding and sightseeing go hand in hand at Anse Grosse Roche, a little sandy beach in the town of Marin in southeast Martinique on the Atlantic coast.
  • le-marin-drone-footage5.png - Drone footage of the beach in Le Marin, Martinique, taken during a sailing on Silver Spirit.
  • Anses-d'Arlet-Martinique - The Martinique fishing village of Les Anses d'Arlet.
  • couple-traditionnel-Martinique - A couple celebrating their French-Caribbean heritage on Ash Wednesday.
  • Fondation-Clement-Martinique - Observing a work of art in the Habitation Clément, museum, botanical gardens and galleries in Martinique.
  • Le-Marin-Otantik-restaurant.jpg - Otantik, a super-casual eatery with a striking view of the marina in Le Marin, Martinique.
  • Le-Marin-storefront.jpg - A shop in the little town of Le Martin, Martinique.
  • Le-Marin.jpg - Boats and travelers take advantage of a clear day in Le Marin Lagoon, Martinique.
  • martinique-mother-daughter.jpg - French-speaking proprietor Charlotte and her daughter Jade, who operate Les Filets Bleus on the beach in Le Marin, Martinique.
  • Ravioli-di-Prosciutto-at-La-Terrazza.jpg - A perfectly prepared entrée, Ravioli di Prosciutto, at La Terrazza on Silver Spirit.
  • Silver-Spirit-in-Le-Marin.jpg - Silver Spirit and a yacht share the tranquil waters of Le Marin Lagoon in Martinique.
  • Silver-Spirit-in-Martinique.jpg - Silver Spirit off the coast of Le Marin, Martinique.
  • le-marin-drone-footage.png - Drone footage of Le Marin, Martinique, taken during a sailing on Silver Spirit.
  • le-marin-drone-footage3.png - Drone footage of Le Marin, Martinique, taken during a sailing on Silver Spirit.
  • le-marin-drone-footage7.png - Drone footage of the beach in Le Marin, Martinique, taken during a sailing on Silver Spirit.
  • Le-Marin-Martinique.jpg - A panorama of the bay at Le Marin, Martinique, taken with an iPhone 7.
  • fine-dining-in-Martinique - The cozy, urban restaurant La Patio in Martinique offers a wide selection of gourmet and traditional dishes.
  • Grande-Anse-des-Salines-Martinique - The scenic, sandy coves of Grande Anse des Salines Beach at Sainte-Anne in southern Martinique.
  • Lady-in-market-Martinique - A local resident visits local markets for fresh island fruit along Martinique's southern coast.
  • Martinique-tropical-flower - You'll be surrounded by thousands of tropical flowers in the many botanical gardens found throughout Martinique.
  • Martinique-tropical-forest - A canopy of trees on Martinique gives shelter to birds fish, shellfish and lizards native to the island.
  • Poterie-des-Troise-Ilets-Martinique - Along the road to Les Trois-Îlets, you can find artisanal shops with traditional pottery, crafts and works of art on display, and often the artisans are there at work.
  • Presquile-de-la-Caravelle-Tartane-Martinique - A fishing boat in Presqu'ile de la Caravelle in the fishing village of Tartane on Martinique.
  • Rocher-du-Diamant-Martinique - Rocher du Diamant, or Diamond Rock, south of Fort-de-France on Martinique is known for playing a role in the Napoleonic Wars.
  • Saint-Pierre-Martinique - Founded in 1635, Saint Pierre doubles as the capital Martinique and as a center for the arts and culture.
  • Shoelchers-Library-Martinique - Shoelcher's Library, built in 1883, is a historical landmark that functions as an educational center today.
  • Slave-Memorial-Martinique - The Anse Cafard Slave Memorial, completed in 1998 in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the emancipation of slaves in the French West Indies, is a poignant and artistic reminder of the island's history and heritage.
  • steering-a-kayak-in-Martinique - Steering a kayak along the southern beaches of Martinique, driver's license not required.
  • Yole-regatta-Martinique - A Yole or "gig," meaning an elongated boat, is featured in a festive regatta during Martinique's traditional island Carnival.
  • Anses-d'Arlet-Martinique-2 - A beautiful view from the docks of Les Anses d'Arlet showcasing the clear waters and French heritage of Martinique.
  • Habitation-Clement-monument-Martinique - Habitation Clement, a historic 18th century monument furnished in the Indian Company Style, has been host to many international dignitaries and boasts a winery house, distillery and acres of botanical gardens.
  • martinique-pier-at-sunset.jpg - A pier in tranquil Martinique at sunset.
  • martinique-beachfront.jpg - The stunning beachfront of Martinique.
  • Pointe-Simon-Martinique-1.jpg - The new port terminal at Pointe Simon in Fort-de-France, Martinique, seen from Crystal Serenity.
  • Chapel-in-Le-Marin.jpg - A chapel in Le Marin, Martinique.
  • Le-Marin-beach.jpg - Prospecting along the beach in Le Marin, Martinique.
  • Le-Marin-coastline-2.jpg - The serene coastline of Le Marin on the southern side of Martinique.
  • Le-Marin-coastline.jpg - A glimpse of the coastline of Le Marin, Martinique.
  • Le-Marin-Harbor.jpg - Scenic Le Marin Harbour in Martinique.
  • Le-Marin-house.jpg - A house along the route to the beach in Le Marin, Martinique.

Martinique travel guide: Top things to do & see

The vibe

Martinique is one of the Caribbean's most breathtaking islands, both for its beauty and its blend ofFrench and Caribbean cultures. When Columbus visited the island in the late 1400s, the inhabitants at the time, the Carib Indians, called the island Madinina, or "island of flowers."

Martinique is an overseas department of France. The north part of island lures hikers who seek to climb the mountains and explore the rain forests while the southern portions offer shopping and beaches for those who choose to just relax.

The people of Martinique (the locals call it “Madinina”) are mainly of African descent. Their colorful culture unique to the island includes a Mardi Gras celebration to rival that of New Orleans. At the same time, the island has begun to embrace the tourism industry, with beautiful resorts dotting the  white sand beaches of Martinique's southern coast.

Cruise ships that call on Martinique

Top reasons to go

  • Adventurous hikes such as Gorges de la Falaise, a picturesque river gorge that requires a guide and clothing that you won't mind getting wet
  • A visit to Fort-de-France's Spice Market, which offers stalls full of flowers, fresh fruit and vegetables and locally grown spices
  • Great beaches like Les Salines near Saint Anne, on the southern tip of the island
The scenic, sandy coves of Grande Anse des Salines Beach at Sainte-Anne in southern Martinique.
Luc Olivier / Courtesy of Martinique Promotion BureauThe scenic, sandy coves of Grande Anse des Salines Beach at Sainte-Anne in southern Martinique.

Top things to do & see 


Martinique is particularly interesting because it sits at the confluence of two major bodies of water. The Atlantic Ocean slams into its northern and eastern shores, while the much calmer Caribbean Sea borders Martinique's southern and western shores. Fort-de-France is on the Caribbean; therefore you will find tranquil seas perfect for swimming.

The best beaches are found on the southern tip of the island. Sainte Anne is where you will find picturesque white-sand beaches and palm trees. Diamant, Plage des Salines and Anse Mitan are also here, and you will definitely not be disappointed. 

Shopping & attractions

French imports are fabulously inexpensive on Martinique, especially compared to prices back in the United States. So feel free to load up on Chanel perfume.

La Galleria, on Route de Lamentin, is very chic. Over 50 vendors peddle their wares here, and you will have no trouble finding exquisite clothes or souvenirs. There is also a fine collection of restaurants nearby if you need a break from the shopping.

Fort de France is the island’s business center and administrative capital, and also features many tourist attractions, most grouped together around the city’s lushly landscaped town square, called La Savane (Savanna). Le Lamentin features Martinique’s airport and racetrack, as well as industrial zones. The region features fields of sugar cane stretching out across the Lamentin plain, visible all the way to the horizon.


When the sun sets over this beautiful tropical island, head to La Bodega (596/60-48-48). Here you will find a festive atmosphere and a wonderful assortment of drinks, with the occasional live band performing.


The island is dominated by Mount Pelee, the highest of Martinique’s many mountains, at 4,583 feet. Martinique’s north side features four groups of pitons (volcanoes) and mornes (mountains): the Piton Conil on the extreme north, which dominates the Dominica Channel; Mount Pelée; the Morne Jacob; and the Pitons du Carbet, a group of five extinct volcanoes covered with rainforest and dominating the Bay of Fort de France at 3,924 feet high.

Steering a kayak along the southern beaches of Martinique, driver's license not required.
Fleur d'o / Courtesy of Martinique Promotion BureauSteering a kayak along the southern beaches of Martinique, driver's license not required.

Family-friendly options

Museums are always a great family option, combining culture and history that can't be found elsewhere. In Martinique, there are several museums to visit. 

Les Trois-Ilets can be reached by ferry from Fort-de-France. The Pagerie Museum is in this town, set on the spot where Empress Josephine was born. A number of musical and cultural events are organized in the Park of the Trois-Ilets close to the island's magnificent golf club. Not to be missed is the Market or the Sugar Cane Museum. The pottery center, where objects are handmade by local craft artists, is also popular among tourists.

Museum lovers will delight at the Musée Departemental de la Martinique, at 9 Rue de la Liberté (596/71-57-05), which has artifacts that date back centuries. The museum is adjacent to La Savane and offers relics from the Arawaks and Caribs, Martinique's original settlers. The museum is open every day except Sunday.

Best bets for dining

The cozy, urban restaurant La Patio in Martinique offers a wide selection of gourmet and traditional dishes.
Andrew F. Smith / Courtesy of Martinique Promotion BureauThe cozy, urban restaurant La Patio in Martinique offers a wide selection of gourmet and traditional dishes.

Martinique's cuisine combines the best of France's highly refined tastes with the Caribbean's flair for the exotic, making this island one of the best places to eat in the world.

La Plantation Leyritz is a perfect example. A varied French menu that rivals anything you might find on the Champs-Elysèes, coupled with herbs and spices you will only find in the Antilles. If you have but one meal here, make sure it's the lobster. Le Dôme also follows this trend to perfection, offering intriguing combinations of the continent and the Caribbean.

YOLO (you only live once!)

  • Stop at Le Prêcheur to see the Anse Céron beach. Le Prêcheur is also the starting point of a popular six-hour hike that takes travelers to Grand-Rivière on the Atlantic coast, at the northernmost point of the island.
  • In Presqu'île de la Caravelle, a 30-minute walk up to the lighthouse provides uninterrupted views of the entire island. 
  • If you are lucky enough to be visiting Martinique in January or February, you will experience the magic of Carnival first-hand. Known as "vaval" locally, Carnival begins right after New Year's Day. Every weekend is a parade of floats and dancing in the streets. 

Fun facts

  • Josephine Bonaparte (Napoleon's squeeze) was born on Martinique, in Trois-Ilets, and a statue of her stands today in the center of Fort-de-France.
  • The Rum Capital of the World, Martinique is home to 12 brands, each utilizing a unique rhum agricole method yielding blends comparable to fine cognac.
  • World-renowned for its cuisine, Martinique’s 365+ restaurants feature the best of French and Creole. Seafood abounds, prepared Creole- style with spices, or in a classic French manner with herbs.
  • On May 8, 1902, Mount Pelee’s volcano erupted, destroying the city of Saint Pierre and killing 30,000 inhabitants.
  • Except for a short span between 1794 and 1815, when the island was under British rule, Martinique has been a French property.

Best time to go

The best time to visit Martinique is either May or June. Temperatures stay fairly consistent in the 80s for most of the year, but in the summer there may be hurricanes. Visiting in late spring will ensure you don't experience storms, and it will also help you avoid the island's peak season, which is from December to April. But really, Martinique's weather is temperate year-round. 

A canopy of trees on Martinique gives shelter to birds fish, shellfish and lizards native to the island.
David Giral / Courtesy of Martinique Promotion BureauA canopy of trees on Martinique gives shelter to birds fish, shellfish and lizards native to the island.

When you arrive

Docking information

Cruise ships dock at the Passenger Terminal or the new pier at Pointe Simon. The Passenger Terminal is a 5-minute drive to Fort-de-France and Pointe Simon Pier is in the heart of town. If your ship tenders, you will be dropped at the wharf in the heart of Fort-de-France.

Getting around

You can traverse Martinique's diverse geography by any number of vehicles. Taxis are a popular and easy choice, but be advised that they are expensive. What's more, they aren't metered, so it's better to settle on a price before you step into the cab.

Buses come in two sizes on the island. There are the grands busses, which hold around forty people at a time and travel all through the capital city of Fort-de France. Then there are taxis collectifs, which handle the longer trips beyond the city limits. These taxis collectifs are privately owned, and you can recognize them by their "TC" sign.

Ferry transportation between Fort-de-France and Pointe du Bout is inexpensive and convenient. A one-way ticket costs fewer than $4, while the round trip ticket runs about $6.

Bicycles and motor scooters are another popular way around Martinique. In Fort-de-France, Locabike (596/71-95-72) is a good place to rent them.

Free wi-fi

  • Domaine Château Gaillard, SARL SH11, Rte. des Trois-Ilets, Les Trois-Ilets

Need to know

Passport: U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport.

Language: The official language is French, and almost everyone speaks Antillean Creole, a mix of French, Spanish and African languages. In tourist areas you'll find lots of people who speak some English.

Currency: The euro

Store hours: Stores are usually open 8:30 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday, and on Saturday mornings. Some shops will close for a traditional 2-hour break around 1 pm.

Tipping: Restaurants generally add a 15% service charge to all bills, so check before you leave any tip.

Safety: It is always advisable to be aware of your surroundings when traveling, especially in Fort-de-France and in the tourist-hotel belt of Pointe du Bout. As always, it is best to leave your valuables on ship.

ShoreFox contributed to this guide. 

Your take

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Cruiseable team
The Cruiseable editorial team consists of award-winning travel writers, cruise bloggers and journalists.


“The ride north is beautiful. The crowded coastal plain rises into Tahitian-style mornes, jungle-draped mountains lost in the clouds. Houses in small villages are all in that lovely state of colonial decay — water-stained stucco walls and tiled roofs furred with ferns.”

Islands magazine

“The traditional covered Grande Market downtown features stalls with everything imaginable when it comes to island fruits, herbs, crafts, and food." 

Cruise Travel magazine

“Pointe Simon in Fort-de-France is easy walking distance of the city center and main sights. Visit the spice market and the beautiful Bibliotheque Schoelcher when you arrive. Be sure to wander past La Savane, a large central park, to Fort St-Louis for a dose of history.”

Lonely Planet 

“Take a day trip and head up to Saint-Pierre on the Caribbean coast to see the ruins of the Mont Pelée eruption; venture to Saint-Joseph to spend the afternoon at the river and see wild plants you’ve only seen in botanic gardens; or make your way to La Trinité to surf or do the circuitous Presqu’île de Caravelle hike.”

Porthole Cruise magazine


“Saint James - In addition to tasking white, aged, and limited edition rums, you can walk through the nearly 250-year history of the spirit in the Musee du Rhum located on the distillery grounds.”

AFAR magazine

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