Things to know and ideas for your own trip to Martinique
- Regular berth: Pointe Simon Cruise Terminal
- Regular berth: Quai des Tourelles
- Harbour shuttle: not available/necessary
- Taxis: usually available at the berths
- Buses: A public bus network in Fort de France and various, private minibus lines to individual towns.
- Rental car*: Hertz, at Fort De France airport
- Rental car*: Avis, at Fort De France airport
- Rental car*: Europcar, Rue E. Deproge and at Fort De France Airport
- Rental car*: Keddy By Europcar, at Fort De France airport.
- Post office: Rue De La Liberté, at La Savane square
- Tourist information: 76 Rue Lazare Carnot
- Banks and cash machines: only very few in the city area
- Centrally located Berth
In the harbour of the island's capital Fort-de-France, there are two berths for cruise ships, which are a little further apart from each other. The Pointe Simon Cruise Terminal is conveniently located for the city centre. It offers space for two large ships and the city centre can be reached on foot in a short time. On shore, you will find traders selling art objects and souvenirs, as well as tourist information booths for the city of Fort-de-France and the island of Martinique. There is also a free wi-fi network available at the pier. Hostesses are usually on hand to help arriving holidaymakers find their way around.
- Somewhat outlying Berth
The second berth, Quai des Tourelles, is located on the outskirts of the city and is mainly used for arriving and departing guests. Many cruises, for example from Costa Cruises* and MSC, start here. From this jetty, it takes 15 to 20 minutes to walk to the city centre, simply following the blue path with its white stripes.
Normally, there are enough taxis available for the cruisers at the berths. According to regulations, these should be equipped with a taximeter, which is also used during the journey. Taxi rides in Martinique are highly expensive. The hourly rate for individual round trips is quite high at 45 to 50 euros. Drivers expect a tip of 15% for their services and a hefty surcharge of 40% is levied at night from 20:00-06:00. In addition, no public buses are allowed to the airport. For this reason, travellers have to rely on taxis or rental cars*.
On Martinique, minibuses travel between the towns. These hold 8 to 9 people, are almost always full to bursting and can be recognised by the "TC" in the number plate. The destinations of these so-called taxi collectifs are written on small signs that are usually placed behind the windscreen. There are no fixed timetables and you have to be patient, as the vehicles usually only start moving when they are full. From the bus station near the city centre at the Pointe Simon Cruise Terminal, the small buses swarm out during the day and in a star shape in all directions. They are cheaper than normal taxis, but much less comfortable. Fares range from 3.50 to 11.50 euros, depending on the destination, and are paid to the driver. It is best to tell the driver where you want to go. As a rule, the driver will then look for the best stop, but rarely deviates from his standard route.
- Intercity Buses
In Fort-de-France itself and in the surrounding area, larger buses are on the road daily from 06:00-20:30 hrs. They can carry up to 40 people, serve several routes and are operated by the operator CFTU under the brand name "Mozaik". The cost here is 1.80 euros per person per trip if you pay the bus driver. For the return journey, the ticket then costs 2.50 euros. At the official ticket sales points (kiosks) it is somewhat cheaper. You pay 1.25 euros for a single ticket and 2.30 euros for a round trip. You can make as many journeys as you like with a day pass for 3.60 euros. Children under the age of 4 travel free of charge. Tickets are available from the driver or at the bus stations. The nearest bus station is near the Pointe Simon Cruise Terminal, where some lines stop. At the normal bus stops, you should signal to an arriving bus that you would like to ride, as the buses do not necessarily stop. As a rule, you get on at the front and exit later through the rear door. Purchased tickets must be validated on the bus.
- Ferry Traffic
In the immediate vicinity of the Pointe Simon berth are several ferry piers from which passenger ferries cross over to the southern part of the large bay, calling at the resorts of Anse à l'Ane, Anse Mitan, Pointe du Bout and Bourg des Trois-Ilets. On weekdays, the first boats leave at 06:00 and sail at least until 16:30, sometimes until 22:00 and on average every 30 minutes. On Sundays, they don't leave until 07:30. A crossing takes about 20-25 minutes and costs 7 euros per adult return. Children pay 5 euros and tickets are available on the ferries.
- Car Hire in Martinique
For excursions on your own, a rental car* is not unsuitable for exploring the island. There is no public transport system outside the capital Fort-de-France. Only private and uncomfortable minibuses connect the most important places. However, you can't get everywhere by minibus and taxis are quite expensive in Martinique. In many cases, you can travel cheaply with a rental car if you are travelling with several people, and you can reach almost every destination on the island that is worth seeing. The roads are mostly in very good condition and there is the usual right-hand traffic.
- Fort de France Centre
The City Centre of Fort-de-France is just a few minutes' walk from the berth at the Pointe Simon Cruise Terminal. From the Quai des Tourelles berth, it takes 15-20 minutes each way to reach the shopping streets. The city's numerous shops and boutiques are mainly concentrated in and around the streets Rue Victor Hugo, Rue Victor Schoelcher and Rue Francois Arago. Other shops, restaurants and bars can be found in the surrounding and adjacent streets. Various textiles and perfumes are often offered at comparably low prices.
Under a massive hall roof on the Rue Blenac street, there is a lively hustle and bustle every day except Sundays. From 6 a.m. in the morning until around 3 p.m. in the afternoon, a wide variety of traders offer their many goods on the Marche Couvert. These include mostly Caribbean fruits, vegetables, spices, homemade drinks, flowers and handmade crafts. At lunchtime, the raised table spaces in the centre of the market hall and the food stalls on the outskirts fill up. An opportunity to sample local dishes.
- Green Square Place de la Savane
Napoleon Bonaparte's first wife was memorialised on the 5-hectare Place de la Savane. She was born in Martinique in 1763, grew up on the island and, as a later empress, was against the abolition of slavery. One reason why she was and still is extremely unpopular with the population. Hardly repaired, the marble statue was made a head shorter again a short time later. At some point, the authorities finally capitulated and left it at that. The largest part of the square is taken up by lawns, which are used from time to time for various events. On the western side, there are a few small traders and food stalls.
- La Francaise Beach
A manageable city beach with natural shade is located south of the large square La Savane. Plage La Française is sheltered by the mighty walls of the adjacent Fort Saint Louis and is thus only a short distance from the moorings. From the Pointe Simon Cruise Terminal, you can reach this beach, which is around 800 metres away, in an easy 10-minute walk. The distance to the Quai des Tourelles jetty is about twice as long.
- Schoelcher Library
At the northern corner of La Savane is the Bibliothèque Schœlcher, originally constructed in Paris between 1886 and 1887. The house, which is now a listed building, was given a dismantleable metal skeleton when it was built, which enabled it to be transported to Martinique and rebuilt in Fort-de-France. Today, the library houses a large number of historical books from part of Victor Schœlcher's former collection. Admission to the building is free of charge. It is open on Monday from 13:00-17:30, Tuesday to Thursday from 08:30-17:30, Friday from 08:30-17:00 and Saturday from 08:30-12:00. On Sunday the doors remain closed.
The Cathédrale Saint-Louis, not far away, also has a metal skeleton and, like the Bibliothèque Schœlcher, was constructed with prefabricated elements according to the plans of Pierre-Henry Picq. The tower of the church building, which is well worth seeing, towers 58 metres above the roofs of the city. The large, glazed and beautifully decorated windows let relatively much daylight fall on the interior. Before the present building, there were already several predecessor buildings on this site, which were repeatedly destroyed by fire, earthquakes and heavy storms. Access is barrier-free and from the Place Montseigneur Roméro opposite, you get a good view of the cathedral. In addition, one of the city's free Wi-Fi hot spots is located here.
- Saint Louis Fortress
On the elevated headland between the berths is Fort Saint Louis, which is still used today as a French naval base. Part of the mighty, historic fortifications, whose construction began in 1638, is nevertheless open to visitors. The necessary tickets are available in the adjacent Place de la Savane park, at the tourist information pavilion. Adults pay 8 euros per person and children aged 6 to 14 pay half price. A tour opens up beautiful views of the city, countryside and sea. This is possible Tuesday to Saturday from 09:00-12:00 and from 14:00-16:00. Guided tours start at the tourist information kiosk and depart every hour.
- Archaeological Museum
On the western side of the Place de la Savane, at Rue de la Liberté 9, there is an archaeological museum in the building of the former military administration. This so-called "Museum of Archaeology and Prehistory of Martinique" has over 2000 exhibits, most of which come from local areas. It is open on Monday from 13:00-17:00, Tuesday to Friday from 08:00-17:00 and Saturday from 09:00-12:00. Closed on Sunday. Admission is 4 euros per person for adults and 2 euros for children aged 3 to 12.
Martinique has a number of beautiful beaches. These are well spread out around the island and tend to have dark sand in the northern part. The south, on the other hand, is mostly blessed with fine sandy, light-coloured beaches. For pure swimming and snorkelling, the south and west coasts are quite suitable, as they are situated on the calmer Caribbean Sea. On the Atlantic coast, on the other hand, it is usually more choppy, the swell higher and the wind stronger. These circumstances suit surfers of all kinds, and they like to take advantage of them.
- Neighbouring Village Schoelcher
Schœlcher, a small neighbouring community of Fort-de-France, can be reached by taxi or rental car* in about 10 minutes. The distance is a good 6 kilometres in each direction and includes several beaches that can be reached quite quickly.
- Bateliere Beach
The Plage de Batelière, for example, also known as PLM for short, is a small hotel beach with fine white sand. It is well protected in an artificial bay and has a nearby beach restaurant, umbrellas and sun loungers. Access is free of charge.
- Madiana Beach
A little further north, you come across the quite popular Plage de Madiana. It is quite close to the centre of the village and the fine sand runs gently into the cooling sea. A few palm trees provide shady spots and a beach restaurant caters for your physical well-being. Lifeguards are often on hand to watch over the beach area. You can park your rental car* in the adjacent car park.
- Bourg de Schoelcher Beach
Even more central is the Plage du Bourg de Schoelcher, also called "Plage de Case Navire". Because of its location, this section of beach is very popular with the locals and is also used by local fishermen with their small boats. Parasols and palm trees provide pleasant shade. Localities can be found on the parallel road.
- Anse Madame Beach
North of the mouth of the Rivière Anse Madame is the Plage de l'Anse Madame. There is a large water sports centre on this beach and you will meet many small sailors, kayaks and various surfers. Water gymnastics, stand up paddling and kayak tours are launched from here in guided groups. Most of these excursions take you along the charming coastline.
- Anse Collat Beach
A little further north is a narrow sandy beach. The Plage du Lido, also called "Anse Collat", is relatively small, runs rather quickly and steeply into the refreshing water. Due to its location close to the village, it is mainly used by local residents for short stays.
- Anse a IÀne and Anse Mitan Beach
The beaches on the other side of the bay of Fort de France are also easy to reach for cruisers. You can take one of the ferries that depart from the ferry pier near the Pointe Simon berth. The destinations are the places in this region that are very well developed for tourism. The boats to Anse à l'Ane and Anse Mitan moor directly at the jetties of the beautiful beaches. Fine, white sand, partly shady palm trees, numerous hotels, restaurants, bars and cafés can be found there. You can also take advantage of the water sports facilities that are usually available. The two beaches are about two kilometres apart. It takes about 30 minutes to walk from one beach to the other in each direction.
- Anse Noire and Anse Dufour Beach
To the southwest and about 6 kilometres from Anse à l'Ane beach, you may be lucky enough to see sea turtles while snorkelling. The beaches of Anse Noire and Anse Dufour, which are close to each other, are usually quite quiet. Anse Dufour beach has fine golden sand and a beach bar. Anse Noire, on the other hand, has fine black sand and a small jetty.
- Anse du Diamant Beach and Memorial
Further along the southern coastline of Martinique there are still many beautiful beaches. One of them is the long Grande Anse du Diamant. However, there are often high waves and strong currents here. Nearby is the Mémorial de l'Anse Cafard. The fifteen stone figures are around 2.5 metres tall and stand in front of an impressive backdrop. They commemorate the dark times of slavery and a shipwreck in which all the slaves on board lost their lives. The memorial is about 34 kilometres away from the berths. This distance takes a good 45 minutes each way in a motorised vehicle*.
- Anse des Salines Beach
Grande Anse des Salines is one of the most popular beaches on the island. The approximately 1200-metre section of beach is fine sand, crescent-shaped, has a few beach bars and runs shallowly into the water. Coconut palms emphasise the postcard look and offer a few shady spots. The beach is part of the three les Salines, bordered by Petite Anse des Salines to the west and Grande Terre des Salines to the east. It is about 50 kilometres from Fort-de-France. By taxi or rental car*, it takes about 60 minutes each way.
- Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden Jardin de Balata is located in the north of Fort-de-France. It was not until 1982 that work began on the design of the 3-hectare site. Today, the garden is one of the most beautiful in the Caribbean and is home to some magnificent plants. An extensive array of flowers also attracts numerous hummingbirds, which feast on the nectar. The botanical garden is about 11 kilometres away from the moorings, which takes about 20 minutes by car*. Open daily from 09:00-18:00, with last admission at 16:30. The average length of stay is 90 minutes and admission is €13.50 per person. Children from 3 to 12 years pay 7.50 euros each. Children under 3 are admitted free of charge.
The highest point of Martinique is the volcano Montagne Pelée in the north with a height of 1397 metres. Today well monitored, it brought devastation to the island in 1902 when it destroyed the former capital Saint-Pierre during an eruption. The last eruption took place in 1929. Today, there are several hiking trails in the volcanic area that can be used with or without a guide. The surrounding beaches are of volcanic origin and have mainly fine, dark sand.
- My Martinique
Further information on Martinique, especially on the sights, culture, interesting cities and Rhum Agricole available there, can be found in German on the pages of My Martinique.
- Excursion Portals and Excursion Providers
Through the tour and excursion providers GetYourGuide*, Meine Landausflüge* and Viator*, you can book various excursions, activities, tours, tickets and entrance fees on Martinique, which are often offered at much lower prices than comparable excursions by the shipping companies. Thus, if you book in time, you can realise a variety of excursions on your own.
A small pre-selection of shipping company-independent excursion offers
for, in and around Fort de France,
we have put together for you here.
- Cruises and Offers
If you haven't booked a Caribbean Cruise yet, but would like to get to know Martinique personally and go on excursions on your own, you will find great offers with the major cruise operators in the German-speaking countries. Aida*, Costa* and Tui Cruises - Mein Schiff* offer charming itineraries with their modern cruise ships, along with other interesting destinations. Book your next dream holiday directly with your favourite cruise line at the best conditions.
All ocean and river cruises can also be booked conveniently and inexpensively online with the cruise specialist Kreuzfahrten-Zentrale Astoria*. You can choose from a wide range of daily offers from various shipping companies. These include AIDA Cruises, Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and TUI Cruises. The popular special offers are also attractive, with which you can travel particularly cheaply and possibly also get a great bargain.
- Post office opening hours: Monday to Friday from 07:00-17:00, Saturday from 07:00-12:00
- Opening hours of the banks: Monday to Friday from 08:00-12:30 and from 14:00-16:30
- Opening hours of the tourist information: Monday to Saturday from 08:00-16:30
- Opening hours of shops: Monday to Friday from 09:00-17:00. Saturday from 09:00-13:00. Larger shops often close later.
- Country code: +596
- General emergency call: Tel. 112
- Police: Tel. 17
- Emergency doctor: Tel. 15
- Fire brigade: Tel. 18
- Vaccination recommendation: Martinique Tropical Institute
- Safety advice: Martinique Foreign Office
- Buses: Mozaik
- Bus route network: Mozaik network map
- Climate chart: Fort-de-France climate
- Port occupancy: Cruise ships in Fort-de-France
- Official language: French
- Everyday language: Creole
- National currency: Euro, 1 Euro = 100 Cent
More port information of popular cruise destinations in the Caribbean