Our offers for shore excursions in Fort-de-France (Martinique)
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Useful information for excursions in Fort-de-France (Martinique)
In the following paragraphs, you will find information about the cruise port, the most beautiful sights and a lot of useful information for shore excursions in Fort-de-France (Martinique).
The most beautiful sights in and around Fort-de-France
In Martinique you will visit one of the most beautiful places in the Caribbean. Fantastic white sandy beaches and turquoise water invite you to relax or take a bath. Martinique belongs to the West Indian Islands in the Caribbean. About 390,000 inhabitants live on the island. In addition, there is a still active volcano, from which you can enjoy a fantastic panoramic view over the island.
The south of the island is especially popular with tourists, as there are beautiful beaches. In the north there is a lot of rain forest and black sand beaches. At the Atlantic side there is the place La Trinite, where one can enjoy a wonderful view to the ocean and the peninsula. At the other side of the island there is a round road at the south of Fort-de-France that leads through different bays to the area Trois-Ilets. Here you will find, among other things, the famous Mitan bay. You can also take a wonderful walk along the peaceful beach promenade.
Fort-de-France is the island capital of the beautiful French Caribbean island Martinique. Before taking a stroll along the charming seafront promenade, you should get to know the historic city centre. The colourful shopping streets are perfect for a short stroll. On the way you can be enchanted by the great architecture in the city centre. It is also highly recommended to explore the Morne rock, which offers a wonderful panoramic view over the city of Fort-de-France, its port and the island. The famous monument of the French Empress Joséphine is also located on the rock.
The library is located in the historic city centre and was built in an eclectic style. The library is beautiful from the inside as well as from the outside and definitely worth a visit. The building was constructed from a mixture of concrete, wrought iron and wood. First built in Paris, the library was then dismantled and completely rebuilt in Fort-de-France.
The library was named after the politician and opponent of slavery Victor Schoelcher. He bequeathed his fortune and his extensive book collection to the general public. At present the library contains only 1,500 books. Once upon a time there were 12,000 books, which were unfortunately destroyed in a fire in 1809. Since 1993, the Schoelcher Library has been a listed building.
Another highlight awaits you in the centre of Fort-de-France – the beautiful Saint-Louis Cathedral. Other churches have been built on this site, but they have been destroyed by various natural disasters and raids. The Saint-Louis Cathedral was built in the 19th century and still stands today. Its handsome metal structure, the impressive bell tower with aluminium scales and the elaborate windows make the cathedral so special. It is also the seat of the Archbishop of Fort-de-France.
Be sure to visit the surrounding local markets of Fort-de-France and stroll through the alleys. One of the famous tourist markets is located near the market hall and offers a lively atmosphere. Here you will find everything from spices to pretty souvenirs. Another very popular market is the beautiful fruit and vegetable market, which is located in the flower park. Just let this experience take effect on you. You will not be disappointed.
On Martinique you will find many beautiful beaches and places to swim. The beaches are very different, some are of volcanic origin, others have snow-white or golden grains of sand. Cruise guests who would like to spend their day at the beach are recommended to go to the beautiful beach Pointe du Bout. It is a lively seaside resort with a variety of shops, restaurants and beach hotels. Another famous dream beach in Martinique is the Grande Anse des Salines beach in St. Anne. However, this beach is about 31 miles away from the harbour.
Vulkan Mount Pelee
The volcano Mount Pelee is located in the north of Martinique and is 1,397 meters high. The activity of the volcano is closely monitored. So you don’t have to worry if you take the beautiful path to the very top. The last eruption was in 1902, in which over 30,000 people died. Many knew about the eruption and fled to the nearby town of Saint-Pierre. The entire city was destroyed by the volcanic eruption. Today there is a popular volcano museum. Here you can learn more about the eruption. Be curious about the exciting story why almost everyone who was in the city died and only one man survived.
The port of Saint-Pierre, classified as a city of art and history, is also worth a visit during a stay in Martinique. Located at the foot of the Mount Pelee volcano, Saint-Pierre was founded in 1635. However, the last volcanic eruption in 1902 completely destroyed Saint-Pierre. The city slowly recovered and rose again from its ashes in the 1920s. Today, the coastal town of about 1,400 inhabitants convinces for example with the volcano museum Frank Perret, the historic cathedral Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption or its picturesque dream beaches.
Sacré-Cœur de la Balata
In the tranquil neighbouring village of Balata, the miniature version of the famous Parisian Sacré-Cœur Basilica sits enthroned on the hills above Fort-de-France. From here you can enjoy a fantastic view over the port city and the surrounding area. The Basilica is a popular stopover for trips into the interior. This replica was built to honour the Martinique soldiers who died for France in World War I.
Jardin de Balata
With its exceptional biodiversity, this botanical garden is one of the most unique gardens in the Caribbean. About 6 miles from Fort-de-France, you can visit the garden, which was built by Jean-Philippe Thoze and covers about 3 hectares. In 1982, the garden architect began building the garden around his grandparents’ house. After a few years, however, the garden became accessible to the public and invites young and old to take a walk through the beautiful plant world.
Le Domaine d’Émeraude
There is probably no better place to get to know the native biodiversity of Martinique than the Arboretum Le Domaine d’Émeraude. On this inland estate you can admire a multitude of exotic and unique trees and shrubs. Enjoy the idyll of this nature park and discover the surroundings during a hike on one of the three advertised routes of about 15, 30 or 60 minutes. In addition, the nature discovery pavilion will inform you about the natural history of Martinique or you can marvel at the Parc du Domaine d’Emeraude. This park is home to many endemic and exceptional species.
Map of the cruise port in Fort-de-France (Martinique)
Things to know before your trip to Fort-de-France (Martinique)
Cruise lines and routes
The port of Fort-de-France is an integral part of the routes of the German shipping companies AIDA Cruises and TUI Cruises as well as Costa Cruises during the winter season in the Caribbean. MSC Cruises also calls at Martinique frequently and also uses the port for passenger transfers. American shipping companies such as Royal Caribbean, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises also call at the port, although not quite as frequently.
Other destinations on the classic routes through the Caribbean and Central America are often La Romana, Montego Bay, Roseau (Dominica), Castries (St. Lucia), St. John’s (Antigua), the ABC islands of Oranjestad (Aruba), Kralendijk (Bonaire) and Willemstad (Curaçao) as well as Puerto Limón, Cartagena de Indias and Colón in Central America.
Entry and Visa
Martinique is a French department. Entry is subject to the same regulations as in France. As a U.S. citizenship holder, you do not need to apply for a France Schengen Visa! You are allowed to travel to France and to all other members of the Schengen Area for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa, as long as your U.S. passport is valid for at least 3 months after your planned return to the United States.
We generally recommend that you obtain information about all valid entry requirements directly from your cruise line and from the Federal Foreign Office in good time before your cruise.
In Martinique, the official currency is the euro. Cashless payment is very common on the island.
Taxi and public transport
If you have not booked a transfer or guided shore excursion, you have several possibilities to discover Fort-de-France and its surroundings on your own.
Taxis are usually available in sufficient numbers at the port exits. Usually they are equipped with a taximeter and there are fixed prices per hour for round trips of about 40 Euros. In order to avoid surprises at the end of the trip, we recommend, however, to discuss the price with the driver before the start. In general, the price level is much more expensive compared to other ports in the Caribbean.
Public buses can be a cheap alternative during your cruise. On the one hand, there are larger buses that run on different routes through Fort-de-France and the surrounding area. Another alternative are the so-called Taxis Collectifs. These are minibuses for a maximum of nine persons that also drive outside the immediate surroundings of Fort-de-France over the whole island. They are easily recognisable by the “TC” on their number plate. The destinations of their journey are usually indicated on a sign behind the windscreen. However, the minibuses do not drive according to fixed schedules, so that in any case sufficient time should be planned for the return to the ship. The next bus station Gare Routière is located in the city centre between the Place de la Savane and the harbour Pointe Simon.
A popular means of transport to get to the beaches on the opposite side of the bay are ferries. When you arrive at the Pointe Simon Cruise Terminal, all you have to do is keep to the right and you will reach the piers after a few metres. Several operators usually depart every 30 minutes to the popular places Pointe du Bout, Anse-Mitan and Anse à l’Ane. From there you can quickly reach one of the beautiful sandy beaches and spend a relaxing day. A return ticket costs about 7 euros and can be purchased on board. Please make sure you find out before departure when the ferries leave on your day.
Martinique has a tropical climate with year-round high temperatures between 80 and 86 Fahrenheit. Also the water temperatures are pleasant for bathing all year round. The best time to travel is in the dry season between December and May. During this time the humidity is not too high. But even then short, heavy showers are not unusual. From June to November is rainy season. Especially in the north of the island, hurricanes can also occur at this time. In general, there is more precipitation in the north of the island and it is often a little cooler than in the south.
The main season for cruises is between November and April.
Website port operator and tourism organisation
- Terminal: Pointe Simon
- Terminal: Quai des Tourelles
- Official website: La Martinique
- Online tour guide: Wikivoyage – Fort-de-France
Video: Impressions of Fort-de-France (Martinique)
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