Driving is on the right side of the road, like in the U.S. A valid driver's license is needed to rent a car. Minimum age is 21. Most car rental companies in Fort-de-France are open 8 a.m. to noon or 12:30 p.m., and 2:30 until 5 or 5:30 p.m. on weekdays, and from 8 a.m. to noon or 1 p.m. on Saturdays. At Lamentin Airport, hours depend on international flight schedules. Rates can begin as low as 215F (about $39) a day or 1,400F (about $255) a week, including taxes, insurance and unlimited mileage. Major credit cards are accepted everywhere.
Most people arrive by plane into Lamentin International Airport or via cruise ship.
You will probably want to rent a car and go exploring, or take an organized tour bus. The locals pile themselves into overcrowded taxis, and everybody's all sweaty and too close together -- an experience only for the truly intrepid adventurers, folks!
Martinique's ultramodern International Lamentin Airport near Fort-de-France, has regular flights daily on American Airlines and European Airlines
From Europe with Air France from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport there is a daily fly in the afternoon.
You need a car, because is the only way to go around.
But you must drive carefully, local drivers are very dangerous! And also the street are dangerous..
The best car rental service in my opinion is :
Doudou Services Martinique
A308 Rés. Marinelle
Phone number : 0596 77 00 10 - 0596 56 05 90
Fax : 0596 77 11 08
Mobile : 0696 45 56 27
E-mail : DOUDOU-SERVICES-MARTINIQUE@wanadoo.fr
Reserve your car before you arrive in Martinique, so that the nice lady that owns this firm can take you at the airport's or ferry's terminal. If I remember she speaks several languages, and the best is that she can provide you a homestay, organize for you trips... Ah, the must is that she gives each customer a 'V.I.P. card' that gives you discounts on many touristic spots (think about it, because many things are expensive on the island, and you will be glad at the end of your trip to have saved dozen and dozen of euros).
France has the best access to Martinique. Air France, AOM, Air Liberté and Nouvelles Frontières have daily flights between Paris and Martinique. It's also easy to get to the island from the US. American Airlines flights from Miami, New York and Boston connect at San Juan in Puerto Rico; Air France flies directly from Miami. There's a 30FF departure tax when leaving Martinique, although some air tickets already have the tax included in the fare.
Within the Caribbean, Air Martinique, Air Guadeloupe and Air France fly between Martinique and Guadeloupe, St Martin and St Lucia. Antigua-based LIAT connects Martinique with the English-speaking Caribbean.
In addition to ferry connections between Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica and St Lucia, Compagnie Générale Maritime has a weekly cargo/passenger boat to France. Cruise ships land at Pointe Simon in Fort-de-France. Yachting is very popular in Martinique and there are numerous charter companies operating on the island.
The best transportation option on Martinique is to rent a car. There are numerous car rental agencies at the airport that can set you up. Be aware that many companies offer a rate that adds on an extra charge for every km you drive. Your home driver's license is valid - as is driving on the right. Motorcycles can also be rented.
Public transportation, the cheapest transport option, consists of buses known as taxi collectifs. One of the most useful routes runs between Fort-de-France and Saint-Pierre. It runs frequently on weekdays, less frequently on Sunday, and takes about 45 minutes. Taxis are more convenient but considerably more expensive.
There are a couple of regular ferries (vedettes) running between the main resort area of Pointe du Bout and Fort-de-France, providing a good alternative to heavy bus and car traffic and city parking hassles - and they're quicker to boot.
Martinique's only commercial airport is in Lamentin, 9km (6mi) east of Fort-de-France. The airport is just a 10-minute ride from the capital and about 20 minutes from the Pointe du Bout resort area. Taxis are readily available at the airport but are expensive, so if you plan to rent a car during your stay consider picking it up at the airport. Because of the taxi union, there's no direct bus service from the airport.
LIAT goes there from other Caribbean destinations to the international airport there.
Also there is a ferry service from St Lucia,Dominica or Guadeloupe
I found the buses to be very cheap and the bus stands easy to find. Get a map to be your guide.
If you're coming from Guadeloupe, you have the possibility to get to Martinique by boat... I wouldn't do it because :
1) it's a 4 hours tiring travel
2) you get sea sick
It's preferable to go by plane, which is more expensive but more conveniant.
Transportation is somewhat a problem in Martinique, but if you're not afraid by heavy traffic, you can hire a car, it's the best (and sometimes the only) way to go everywhere. Forget the bus (which only goes around Fort-de-France), the taxi (too expensive), the train (no train here !), the motorcycle (too dangerous !), the bicycle (exhausting).
Don't forget to take the boat from Fort-de-France to Trois-Ilets, it's a really nice, unexpensive, 30min route.
Inter-island connections are avaliable by hover craft. It's a unique experience! When you get off the boat and the lines start forming for customs and you are a North American or EU citizen wave your passport to the officals and you can bypass the long, long lines.
A majority of major airlines also service the island.
By foot is always the best way to see cities, but if you want to vernture outside of the cities there are organized tours and taxis.
From Europe it is best to travel via Paris, Martinique is a French department - so there are more cheap flights to be had.- It is also possible to get a ferry from St Lucia.
You really need to a hire car to get the most out of the island.
We flew from Paris, France as it was much cheaper than flying from London - Martinique is a French 'Department' (State or county) and so there are more flights from Paris. The runway is very small so the landing is a bit exhilarating - The Pilots do a superb job. The food is also better on French airlines!
For obvious reasons you can only get to Martinique by air or by sea. I personally prefer to visit the islands by sea, since I don't particularly care for the sharp take-offs and landings necessitated by shorter island runways.
Several ferries run between the shore in the centre of Fort de France and 4 locations acorss the bay - Trois Islets, Anse Mitan, Anse á L´An and Point du Bout. These are all pretty touristy areas, but Anse Mitan especially is a beach hangout for locals too.
The boats are pretty regular, but become less frequent in the evening, most stopping around 10 or so. Its a little more expensive than getting the bus round there, but its much much quicker! Cost is I think 38 FF return trip.
The best way from Europe is to get a french airline like Air France, AOM or Air Liberte.
They have daily direct flights from Paris with new airplanes. If you are lucky you can get a return ticket for less than 3000 F (=450 USD).
The best and most conevnient way is to rent a car. Local rental car agencies are cheaper but you can have more trouble with their old cars. I rent a car from a local rental agency and saved 30% against the best special offer from AVIS but had a small car with almost 80 000 KMs. Buses are very cheap but you won't see a lot of them around.
We arrived by the Dawn Princess Cruise ship.
WALK, WALK, WALK. We only visit Fort-de-France on our visit to Martinique. So walking is what you want to do. The Cruise ship offers several different bus tours to sites located outside of Fort-de-France.
Cruise Ship. We took the Cunard Countess on a 14 day cruise. It was a terrific way to see the Carribean Islands.