Discover Martinique

Map of Martinique (Google)

Martinique formerly called Matinino which means Island of Women mistranslated Madinina (Island of Flowers) is an island of the Caribbean archipelago located between Dominica at north, and Saint Lucia at south.

History of Martinique

Slaves working in a sugarcane plantation in MartiniqueLike other Caribbean islands, Martinique was first a land of Carib Indians before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in June 1502, and colonization in the 16th century by the French. She has had various waves of immigration which the local population is now the heir.

Whereas slavery was abolished in 1848, the traces of this period are still visible on many levels. Today, Martinique is a French department and region, that has the same rights as metropolitan departments, although the gap according to different economic and social criteria remains important.

The languages spoken are French and Creole (regional language inherited from slavery). English and Spanish are also spoken by part of the population and studied at school. The currency is the euro. The US dollar and other currencies are often accepted in souvenir shops, even if it is better to exchange your currency against the euro before arriving.

Geography of Martinique

Map of MartiniqueTemperatures are stable (around 82.4°F all year). Located in the tropics, Martinique has two seasons: the rainy season and the dry season (Lent). Martinique has 34 municipalities. Its capital is Fort-de-France since 1902.

Previously, it was the city of Saint-Pierre, but destroyed by the eruption of Mount Pelee, it has lost its role as the "capital" of Martinique in favor of its neighbor, in the center of Martinique.

Population of Martinique

Map of the distribution of the population of Martinique by municipalityOn an area of 1,128 km square kilometers, Martinique has 358,749 inhabitants on January 1, 2020. The population is unevenly distributed over the territory. Nearly 70% of the surface of the island is uninhabited due to vegetation or relief. Of the remaining 30%, the population is concentrated in the cities of the center, more attractive and genuine employment areas of the island.

Economy of Martinique

Rhums of MartiniqueEconomically, the main wealth of Martinique are tourism and banana exports (mainly to France and the countries of the European Union) and cane products (sugar, rum). Martinique is the second richest island in the Caribbean in terms of GDP per capita after Barbados according to the study CIA World Factbook .

In the wrong numbers can be noted, the unemployment figures. In fact 22% of the workforce is unemployed according to the INSEE (French Statistics Institute). In terms of schooling, the numbers are almost identical to those of metropolitan France.

A data will please tourists wishing to go to the Caribbean and having opted for Martinique. Several recent studies show that Martinique is one of the safest islands in terms of security in the Caribbean (criteria number of homicides/100,000 inhabitants).

When traveling to Martinique?

Salines beachMany are wondering. Thanks to the many cultural and traditional events, certain periods will be more interesting than others. If you want to swim in the local atmosphere, prefer the two major highlights that represent the Carnival (February or March) or The Tour des Yoles Rondes de la Martinique (Tour of Round Skiffs in Martinique) (end July-early August) a single popular event in the world.

If on the other hand you want to enjoy a quiet stay where swimming, hiking and other discovery activities will occupy your time without spending too much money, opt for the quiet months of January, March, April, May, September, October or November.

Fruits and vegetables sold at Fort de France marketDon't miss the many local fruits and vegetables. Do you know the papaya, the maracuja, the water apple, the caimite or the "Bassignac" mango? Visit the fruit and vegetable stands along many roads or the various fruit and vegetable markets, the most famous of which is the one in Fort-de-France, to taste the local natural delicacies.

Culture and traditions

Want parties, dancing to the drums sounds, or you prefer a swaying dance? Martinique's music is the result of various Caribbean influences (reggae, dancehall, salsa, calypso, merengue) or related to its past where the sounds of African drums integrated local music. The main music is zouk. It's a quiet music with lyrics on the theme of love. It is danced in couple.

Pom' Kanel ballet from MartiniqueOther musics such as bèlè, Martinican traditional music where dancers move to drum sounds, or the biguine and Mazurka are an important part in the local music even if they have an older audience as music such as zouk or Dancehall / Raggamuffin.

Alma RiverIn contrast to the paradisiacal islands of the tourist posters, Martinique has as main asset to offer different types of landscapes and thus to propose diverse and varied activities.

Both lovers of beaches with turquoise water and fine white sand, and Robinson Crusoes who wish to be as close as possible to Mother Nature (rivers, mountains, excursion to islets) will be pleased by visiting Martinique.

In addition, the number of species of fauna and flora larger than the entire continent of Europe are also worth visiting.