Martinique is truly ”a little bit of France in the Caribbean.” It exudes a distinctly French ambiance in the excellence of its cuisine, the style of its population and the beauty of its language. Yet Martinique has a cachet all its own, an endearing West Indian warmth in its personality, a special spice in its music, its dance, its local dishes and its way of life.
The beauty of Martinique is everywhere. It can be seen in its attractive residents (population 400,000), its beaches and its spectacular topography. However, it is the lush vegetation of the “Island of Flowers” that takes your breath away. Hibiscus, frangipani, bougainvillea, anthuriums, poinsettias, orchids and exotic hardwoods are found throughout the island. There are fields rich in guava, mango and papaya as well as vast plantations of bananas, pineapple, sugarcane, cinnamon and coffee. In the tropical rainforests of Martinique, ferns grow as tall as trees and green comes in a thousand different shades.
It is also an island rich with contrasts. The northern part of the island features dense rain forest, mountain peaks and dark sand beaches. The southern areas are much drier and flatter with magnificent white sand beaches. There are charming fishing villages and commercial developments, tiny guest houses and large, upscale resorts. All in all, something for everyone.
The capital city of Fort-de-France, built like an amphitheater around the yacht-filled harbor, is backed by luxuriant mountains and is one of the most memorable, picturesque settings in the Caribbean. It is a city of just over 100,000, with narrow balconied streets, busy and bustling by day, generally quiet by night.
The island is 3275 km (1965 mi) from New York, 2450 km (1470 mi) from Miami, 3783 km (2270 mi) from Montreal, 708 km (425 mi) from San Juan and 7102 km (4261 mi) from Paris. The island covers 1105 sq km (425 sq mi), is 83 km (50 mi) long and 37 km (22 mi) wide.