This wasn’t planned at all, but my cousin and I celebrated my birthday weekend on the island of Martinique. We took Norweigan Air Shuttle from NYC for Fort de France which was a convenient and affordable option for a quick getaway. I received a lot of questions on Instagram for first-time visitors so here’s a basic guide of what to know before traveling to Martinique.
There is no visa requirement for US Citizens traveling to Martinique under 90 days. You just need six months validity on your passport and at least one blank page.
It is a slight disadvantage because of the rate difference but you need to exchange your dollars for Euros. Most of the locations we went to accepted credit cards, but there’s nothing wrong with having cash on hand.
Martinique is a French territory, so the official language is French. If you’re not familiar with the language, make sure to bring along a translator app or book. You can also learn basic phrases; some of them include:
- Bonjour – Hello / Good day / Good morning
- S’il vous plaît – Please
- Au revoir – Goodbye
- Merci (beaucoup) – Thank you (very much)
- Tu parles anglais? – Do you speak English?
- excusez-moi – Excuse Me
- Je ne parle pas français – I don’t speak French
- Où se trouvent les toilettes – Where is the bathroom?
How to Get There
Like most Caribbean islands, the main way to travel to Martinique from the US is via Air or cruise ship. Purchase tickets from the US on American Airlines, Air France, and Norwegian Airlines. There is also island ferry service to Fort de France via L’Express des Iles from St. Lucia, Guadeloupe and Dominica.
- Drive – You can rent a car, but there are limited automatic cars available. If you know how to drive a manual car, you’re in luck.
- Taxi – There is no Uber, no flat rate to destinations and taxis are ridiculously expensive. My cousin and I pretty much spent 90-100 Euros on airport service to and from our hotel in Schœlcher. Taking a taxi should seriously be your last resort.
- Hire a Driver – If you rent from Airbnb, hiring a driver may be your best bet. Just contact your host to see if they offer this as an additional service.
- Public Transportation – There is NO public transportation available from the airport and the majority of the bus service is in Fort de France and Schœlcher. Keep in mind that there is less transportation on weekends and service end around 6 PM daily.
- Ferry – Ferries run in different parts of the island for around 6 Euros. Just make sure to get a round trip ticket or say aller-retour. On our last day, we took a Ferry to Pointe du Bout and walked to Anse Mitan before heading back to Fort de France.
Outside of visiting the official website, and getting information from travel groups, I purchased Your Ultimate Guide to Martinique from Amazon. It has tons of information including popular attractions, where to eat, accommodation suggestions, popular beaches, diving sites and more for solo and group travelers. It is also the only travel guide for Martinique that I’ve found in English.