Martinique Travel Information

Photo Martinique is a slice of France set down in the tropics. Islanders wear Paris fashions and eat croissants. Zouk music pouring out of tape players, bars and nightclubs will remind you, however, that Martinicans have a culture of their own, solidly based on West Indian Creole traditions. Urbanization has spread to much of the island, and most of Martinique's large towns feel like modern suburbs. Nevertheless, nearly a third of Martinique is forested and other areas are given over to pineapples, bananas and sugar cane fields. There are also plenty of hiking trails into the mountains.

ECONOMY

The economy is based on sugarcane, bananas, tourism, and light industry. Agriculture accounts for about 6% of GDP and the small industrial sector for 11%. Sugar production has declined, with most of the sugarcane now used for the production of rum. Banana exports are increasing, going mostly to France. The bulk of meat, vegetable, and grain requirements must be imported, contributing to a chronic trade deficit that requires large annual transfers of aid from France. Tourism, which employs more than 11,000 people, has become more important than agricultural exports as a source of foreign exchange.

Tourist Attractions

There is wide variety of scenery--rain forests covering the spiny central ridge of hills, palm-lined white beaches in the south, black volcanic sand beaches in the north, pineapple and banana groves that descend the steep eastern coast, fields of sugarcane in the central plain, and flowers everywhere, especially at the newly created Botanical Garden in Balata. Hiking trails are numerous and well marked for those who wish to enjoy the natural beauty of the island. The site of St. Pierre and its museum tracing the eruption of Mt. Pelee in 1902 is a must. A sense of history is every where in Martinique, from the small museum and plantation ruins that mark the birthplace of France's Empress Josephine and the museum of sugarcane in Trois Islets, to Diamond Rock off the southwest coast.

Important: Travel to Martinique may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Martinique visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

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