Travel By Fingertip...Martinique

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& Precipitation

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Martinique Profile

To the vacationer, Martinique serves up its charms like a rich alfresco lunch on the Cap d'Antibes: relaxed yet sophisticated, sensual yet folksy. On this island, one is literally and spiritually on French soil, so local customs and food, while spiced with native geniality are assuredly Continental. Though Martiniquais welcome all visitors warmly, most who tour here are French, and in backroad locales English is scarce. But in urbane Fort-de-France and Pointe du Bout, where boutiques, fine restaurants, nightclubs, and casinos abound, communication is rarely a problem. Here, too, travelers can enjoy a myriad of sports, from scuba diving to championship golf.

This island boasts an exceptionally tempestuous past, offering numerous diversions to those who relish delving into history as much as they do soaking up the sun. Martinique's prime claim to fame is the 1902 eruption of Mount Pelee, which, in a matter of minutes, incinerated the cultural mecca of St. Pierre, leaving just one survivor. The volcano, alive but dormant, is monitored year-round by volcanologists; St. Pierre, never reclaimed, is a haunting tropical cousin to Pompeii. Spilling down from Pelee's slopes is a hilly Eden of magnificent rainforest, ideal for hikers, botany buffs, and travelers who dream of staying in a rustic French inn transported to a flourishing jungle. Farther south, wilderness gives way to sugarcane fields; everywhere, bougain-villea, hibiscus, and fruit trees bloom in profusion.

The coral beaches are equally stunning, though along the coast of posh Pointe du Bout even the most upscale resorts sometimes lose their shoreline to pillaging offshore currents. For clients who must have postcard-perfect stretches of rosy sand, hotels to the south are a better bet.

One of Martinique's most charming attractions is its hodgepodge of small museums. Are your clients fascinated by the history of rum or dugout canoes? Devotees of Josephine Bonaparte (a former native) or Paul Gauguin (who lived here en route to Tahiti)? Sharkoholics should hit the aquarium, volcano lovers the Pelee museum. Martinique is also proud of its creole traditions, and its dance troupes are a must-see, especially at Mardi Gras, when the entire island celebrates in style. Recommend this place to clients who long for an idyllic retreat with robust foreign panache.


Degrees (F)


January 69-83 4.7
February 69-84 4.3
March 69-100 2.9
April 71-86 3.9
May 73-87 4.7
June 74-86 7.4
July 74-86 9.4
August 74-87 10.3
September 77-88 9.3
October 73-87 9.7
November 72-86 7.9
December 71-84 5.9