Most shops are open Monday through Friday 9 am to 1 pm and 3 to 6 pm and Saturday 9 am to 1 pm.
Shopping malls in the outskirts are open Monday through Saturday 8:30 am to 8:30 pm. The bigger supermarkets are also open Sunday morning 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.
Public services and banks usually open early in the morning, close around 4 pm except Wednesday afternoon when they close around noon. Most services are closed Saturday.
Euros, the same as France. For all of your foreign exchange, look for Change Caraïbeswith convenient airport and Fort-de-France downtown locations. Visaand Mastercardare accepted at most ATMs and shops in major towns on the island. American Express is accepted in supermarkets, major retail stores and in almost all shops in rue Victor Hugo in Fort-de-France. Diner's Club is rarely accepted (you might ask in shops in Fort-de-France as well as at Galleria shopping mall).
GMT/UTC - 4 hours.
On shore : 220V, 50 Hz, in the Marina in Le Marin : 220V 16A, 32A, 63A, 120A single or three phase, 110V with a transformer.
Tap water is safe to drink everywhere on the island.
You'll find card-operated public phones everywhere in Martinique. By using prepaid phone cards you will save money on your local, domestic and international calls (cards can be bought at news agents, cybercafes, souvenir shops, etc.).
Telephone numbers in Martinique have ten digits that start with 05 96 (06 96 for mobile phones). Telephone numbers in Martinique have ten digits that start with 05 96 (06 96 for mobile phones). To place a call from abroad, dial the international access code + the code for Martinique (596) + the number you want, making sure to omit the first 0 (dial only the last 9 digits). (From the US 011 + 596 596 + six digit number)
To call metropolitan France : no codes are needed, just dial the 10 digit number. To call other countries : dial 00 + the country code + the number you want.
Mobile phones are widely used on Martinique. If you intend to stay longer, consider buying a mobile phone with a prepaid card. Local operators (Orange Caraïbe, Digicel and Only) have interesting offers. Guadeloupe, St Martin and St Barths are all local calls from Martinique.
You'll find La Poste offices in almost every town (closed Wednesday and Saturday afternoon). A letter to Europe and the USA will take less than 10 days, letters to metropolitan France will take 4 to 5 days.
Health care in Martinique is among the best in the Caribbean. There are lots of general practitioners and specialists and they often attend patients without a prior appointment, however, you may have to wait a long time. Hint : show up at least half an hour before the office opens to make sure you'll be among the first to be attended. Consultation fees : 25€ at a general practitioner, around 30€ or more at a specialist.
• International West Indies Assurance(I.W.I.A.)
provides remote professional medical care to yachtsmen sailing throughout the Caribbean. 24 hours each day and 7 days a week, a qualified medical team is standing by to evaluate the state of the patient, and, if needed, they are able to direct you in the case of the emergencies and organize a medical air tansportation. Based in Martinique, I.W.I.A. offers multiple advantages including speed of intervention and the highest level of technical knowledge and familiarity of local procedures. The entire team is perfectly bilingual, speaking English and French.
• Dengue fever
Dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever (sometimes fatal) are viral diseases one may catch during a stay in Martinique, as all over the Caribbean. The disease is transmitted by Aedes aegypti, a domestic, day-biting mosquito. Dengue fever symptoms occur after a 2-7 day incubation period and may include high fever, severe headache, joint and muscle pain. If you suffer from any of these symptoms, avoid taking aspirin (because of its anticoagulant properties) and see a doctor immediately. Convalescence can be prolonged (2- 3 weeks).
• Manchineel trees : beware of danger !
You'll encounter manchineel trees all along the sandy coast. All parts of this tree are dangerous. The fruit, resembling small apples, the leaves, the bark, the sap, EVERYTHING is toxic. Don't take cover under this tree when it rains and do not use its branches in a barbecue. Contact with any part of this extremely toxic tree can cause severe burns. In Martinique most manchineel trees are recognizable by a red stripe painted on the trunk.
: New Year's Day February 15, 16 and 17
: Carnival (Lundi Gras, Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday) April 2
: Good Friday (traditional Day of the Cross) April 5
: Easter Monday May 1
: Labour Day May 8
: Commemoration of the eruption of Mount Pelée + Armistice Day (end of World War Two) May 13
: Ascension Thursday (commemorating the Ascension of Christ) May 22
: Slavery Abolition Day May 24
: Pentecost Monday July 14
: Bastille Day, French Independence Day August 15
: Assumption Day (celebrating the Elevation of the Virgin) November 1
: All Saints Day November 2
: Day of the Dead November 11
: Armistice Day (end of World War One) December 25
: Christmas Day