General Info, Travel Info, & FAQs are provided to assist with your vacation.
ATMs Not all ATMs in the Caribbean operate like those in your home country. Some may only accept a four digit PIN number, so if yours is longer you may want to change it before your trip. Ensure you keep your travel money in your primary chequing account as some ATMs default to this account and will not allow you to choose another. Withdrawal fees are generally much higher outside your home country.
The main banks are BNP Paribas (tel 05 96 59 46 00), Crédit Agricole (tel 05 96 73 19 15), Banque des Antilles Françaises (BDAF)/Crédit Lyonnais (tel 05 96 70 10 19), Crédit Mutuel (tel 08 20 80 28 03), and Société Générale de Banque aux Antilles/SGBA (tel 05 96 72 82 82). ATMs generally accept Visa and MasterCard on the Cirrus/Plus and Maestro networks.
BANKING AND BUSINESS HOURS Banks Hours vary widely between banks and between branches. In general they open Mon-Fri anytime between 7:30 and 9am and close anytime between 3:30 and 6pm. Some close Mon or on Wed afternoon, and many close for an hour at lunch, either at 12 noon or 1pm. Crédit Agricole branches are open Sat anytime between 7:30 and 9am and close anytime between 11:30am and 12:45pm.
CHURCHES/RELIGIONS Mostly Roman Catholic. Protestant, including Baptist, Evangelical, Evangelical Christian, Jehovah's Witness, Methodist and Seventh-day Adventist, as well as Hinduism, Jewish and Islam also represented.
CURRENCY AND CREDIT CARDS The local currency is the euro (€ or EUR). Paper money comes in denominations of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500 bills, and coins in 1¢, 2¢, 5¢, 10¢, 20¢, 50¢, €1 and €2 pieces. US and Canadian dollars are accepted almost everywhere, and most shops, hotels and restaurants in the main tourist areas accept major credit cards, as well as traveller's cheques. American Express is not widely accepted.
Currency exchange is available at Change Caraïbes (tel 05 96 42 17 11, Lamentin International Airport; tel 05 96 60 28 40, 4 Ernest Deproge St), Point Change (tel 05 96 60 35 56, 14 Victor Hugo St) and Ventes Achats Services/SARL (tel 05 96 63 80 33, 137 Victor Hugo St), all in Fort-de-France.
To ensure hassle-free purchases during your trip, you may want to contact your credit card company and let them know you will be travelling abroad.
EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS American Express: lost or stolen card, 336/393-1111 (call collect); lost or stolen cheques or cheque cards, 801/964-6665 (call collect) Discover Card: 801/902-3100 MasterCard: 800-1561 Visa: 410/902-8022 (call collect) Western Union: no agents in Martinique
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS A valid passport is required. All visitors must also have an onward or return ticket.
Nationals of countries other than Canada, the US and UK may require a visa. Consult your nearest France consulate/embassy.
Note: As of January 8, 2007, all persons travelling by air to the Caribbean, Mexico and Bermuda will require a valid passport, Air NEXUS card or US Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document to enter and/or re-enter the United States in accordance with the US Government's Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. For more information visit the US Government's Bureau of Consular Affairs website at www.travel.state.gov.
Some countries require single/lone parents or other adults travelling alone with children to provide documents showing evidence of parental/custodial and/or access rights, and/or documents authorizing consent from the parents, legal guardian, and/or the court for the children to travel. Parents of adopted children, particularly those of a different nationality, should carry the proper documents.
NEAREST FOREIGN REPRESENTATION British Embassy: 33/1 44 51 31 00 (France), 05 96 61 88 92 (emergencies; Honorary British Consul in Fort-de-France) High Commission of Canada: 246/429-3550 (Barbados), 613/996-8885 (collect to Ottawa) US Consular Agency: 05 96 75 67 54 (Fort-de-France), 246/436-4950 (US Embassy, Barbados)
As of November 1, 2006
British pound sterling
European Union euro
HEALTH STANDARDS Martinique has numerous public and private clinics and hospitals, including public hospitals in Carbet (tel 05 96 78 02 20), Fort-de-France (tel 05 96 75 17 04), Le François (tel 05 96 54 30 99), Lamentin (tel 05 96 57 12 52), Lorrain (tel 05 96 53 27 27), Marin (tel 05 96 74 92 05), Saint-Esprit (tel 05 96 77 31 11), Saint-Pierre (tel 05 96 78 14 93), Trinité (tel 05 96 66 46 00) and Trois-Ilets (tel 05 96 66 30 00). There is also a visiting doctors service called SOS Médecins (tel 05 96 63 33 33). Doctors may not speak or understand English, however, tourist offices or your hotel should be able to help you find an English-speaking doctor.
Medical facilities may require advance payment. Your home medical program may not provide payment for medical services outside your home country. Obtaining adequate medical/travel insurance, including air ambulance coverage, and consulting a physician or travel medicine specialist six to eight weeks prior to your trip to determine health risks and necessary vaccinations is recommended.
ILLEGAL ITEMS There are harsh penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs. Detained people may wait months for their case to be heard and they are presumed guilty until proven innocent. There are strict regulations for exporting or temporarily importing firearms, medications and certain animal specimens.
For more information call the Martinique customs office (Direction interrégionale des douanes et droits indirects d'Antilles-Guyane) at 596/596 70 73 00.
LANGUAGE The official language is French. Creole patois is widely spoken and some English is spoken in tourist areas.
POSTAGE There are numerous post offices throughout Martinique, including branches located in Fort-de-France (tel 05 96 60 83 86), Belle Fontaine (tel 05 96 55 01 63), Case-Pilote (tel 05 96 78 82 94), Grand-Rivière (tel 05 96 55 70 70), Le Carbet (tel 05 96 78 05 44), Le Diamant (tel 05 96 76 40 79), Les Anses D'Arlets (tel 05 96 68 62 33), Les Trois-Ilets (tel 05 96 76 31 28), Sainte-Anne (tel 05 96 76 73 32), Sainte-Luce (tel 05 96 62 50 24), Saint-Pierre (tel 05 96 78 62 99) and Trinité (tel 05 96 58 13 08).
Post office hours vary depending on the branch. Generally they are open Mon, Tue, Thurs and Fri 7am-6pm, Wed 7am-5pm (although many close at 12 noon or 1pm on Wed) and Sat 7am-12 noon (some are closed on Sat). Many close for lunch 12 noon-2pm and smaller branches may close at 1pm daily.
You can also purchase stamps at café-tabacs and hotel newsstands. Airmail to North America can take one to two weeks and to the UK, two to three weeks. Courier service is also available.
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS Jan 1 New Year's Day Feb/Mar (varies) Carnival Mar/Apr (varies) Good Friday Mar/Apr (varies) Easter Monday May 1 Labour Day May 8 Victory Day May 22 Slavery Abolition Day May/June (varies) Ascension Thursday May/June (varies) Pentecost Monday July 14 Bastille Day Aug 15 Assumption Day Nov 1 All Saints Day Nov 2 All Souls Day Nov 11 Armistice Day Dec 25 Christmas Day
SHOPPING HOURS Shops are generally open weekdays 8:30/9am to 6pm, as well as Sat mornings. Malls generally stay open later, until 8:30-9pm. Many stores close for lunch from about 12 noon to 2:30pm.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS The phone system on Martinique is modern and cellular and Internet services are available.
The country code is 596. Local phone numbers have 10 digits. All phone numbers start with 05 96 (eg. 05 96 XX XX XX) and all cell phone numbers with 06 96 (eg. 06 96 XX XX XX). To make local calls and calls within the French phone system dial all 10 digits. To call Martinique from North America dial 011 + 596 + the local nine-digit number (the 0 is omitted for calls originating from overseas). To call North America from Martinique dial 00 + 1 + area code + the local phone number.
France Télécom (tel 10 14) provides telecommunications services for Martinique. Public phone booths do not accept coins. Télécarte prepaid phone cards are available at post offices, café-tabacs, hotels and bureaux de change for use in Télécom phone booths.
For more information see the section in FAQs: Can I use my calling card from here?
Orange Caraïbes (tel 05 96 42 74 42 Lamentin; 05 96 58 16 30, Trinité) and Digicel (tel 08 10 63 56 35) provide cellular roaming services. Check with your service provider to see if they have a roaming agreement with one of these companies.
TEMPERATURES The average year-round temperature is 79°F. The wet season is June-Nov.
TIME ZONE The island is on Atlantic Standard Time year round, which is four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During the summer the time is the same as on the east coast of North America and during the winter, the time is one hour ahead.
Disclaimer: Information is provided as a service to visitors and is updated regularly. All
information should be verified prior to travel.