This wasn’t planned at all, but my cousin and I went to the island of Martinique to celebrate my birthday. Last year we visited Barbados and hope to continue the tradition of visiting the Caribbean in years to come. We traveled to Martinique from NYC to via Norweigan Airlines and it was a convenient and affordable option for a quick getaway.
The hotel where we stayed in Martinique was Hôtel La Batelière in Schoelcher. It is about a 15 min drive from the airport and close to the beach, restaurants, public transportation, and has a grocery store across the highway. Even though I shared a list of things to do in Martinique, I still received a lot of questions about visiting Martinique via Instagram. Here’s are some basic things to know before traveling to Martinique for first-time visitors.
Martinique Visa Requirements
Before traveling to Martinique it is good to know there is no visa requirement for U.S. Citizens. You just need six months validity on your passport and at least one blank page.
Since Martinique is part of the French Caribbean as an overseas territory, be ready 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.
Below are the current exchange rates at the time of posting:
$1 USD = 0.88 Euro
£1 GBP = 0.79 Euro
Martinique Official Language & Basic Phrases
If you haven’t guessed it, the official language of Martinique is French. If you’re planning to travel to Martinique and don’t speak French, download the Google translate app or bring a translator book with you. You can also learn basic French phrases by using a free app called Duolingo. Below is a list of basic phrases:
- Bonjour – Hello / Good day / Good morning
- S’il vousplaît – Please
- De rien – You’re welcome
- Au revoir – Goodbye
- Merci (beaucoup) – Thank you (very much)
- Parlez-vous anglais? – Do you speak English?
- excusez-moi – Excuse Me / Sorry
- Je ne parle pas très bien français – I don’t speak French very well
- Je ne comprends pas – I don’t understand
- Où se trouvent les toilettes – Where is the bathroom?
- Pouvez-vous m’aider, s’il vous plaît? – Can you help me, please?
- Pourriez-vous répéter, s’il vous plaît? – Could you repeat (that), please?
- Comment vous appelez-vous? – What’s your name?
- Comment Allez-vous? – How are you?
- Puis-je me connecter à l’Internet? – Can I get on the internet?
- Combien ça coûte? – How much does that cost?
- Pourriez-vous parler plus lentement, s’il vous plaît? – Could you speak more slowly, please?
Traveling to Martinique via Air or Sea
Like most Caribbean islands, the most common methods of traveling to Martinique is via air or cruise ship. Flights to Martinique can be purchased through 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.
Getting Around Martinique
Outside of finding a place to stay, it is important to figure out your transportation options will be when visiting Martinique. Common methods of transportation are:
- Driving – 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 in Martinique, 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.
- Hiring 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 ends 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.
Check out my video showing highlights from my Birthday trip to Martinique
Additional Resource for Visiting Martinique
Outside of going on the official website, and getting information from travel groups, before traveling to Martinique, I purchased Your Ultimate Guide to Martinique. This travel guide contains loads of travel tips including popular attractions of where to go in Martinique, where to eat, accommodation suggestions, beautiful beaches that are popular, diving sites and more things to do in Martinique for solo and group travelers. It is also the only Martinique travel guide that I’ve found in English.
Any interest in traveling to Martinique?