Do not believe the "recent" guidebooks, like my two "2010" ones, suggesting that you can visit the plantation Habitation Céron. The latter is located about 5 km North of Le Prêcheur. But it was badly damaged by hurricane Dean in 2007 and has not re-opened since.
There is one plant you have to careful with in Martinique, the Mancenillier. Everything is toxic in it, including sap, leaves and the small apple-looking fruits. Even standing beneath it when it rains could give you burns! In popular areas like beaches and trails, the trunks of mancenilliers are painted with a red band. The name comes from the Spanish Manzanilla, which means small apple.
Please see pictures to be able to recognize it.
Driving in Martinique is tiring because the roads are so narrow and twisty. The topography is very mountainous, so you never stop going up and down. Flat roads are rare. As a result, although the island is small, you will end up driving for hours. Just crossing the island East-West can take an hour.
Finally, beware of traffic jams around Fort de France during commuting times. Even the main western coastal road, N5, which is large and almost a freeway gets clogged up in and near the capital. So does the East-West N6 between Lamentin and Le François.
You do not need any special shots for traveling to Martinique. The main problem are mosquitoes and Dengue fever. There was an epidemic of Dengue in 2010. However, there is nothing you can do to protect yourself from getting Dengue fever, just try to minimize mosquito bites.
Watch for urchins spikes when you dive or snorkel, do not touch or step on urchins!
There is a poisonous snake in Martinique, called Triginocéphale or Fer de Lance. But it has been so efficiently hunted that it is now very rarely seen, and only if you go to the most remote area of tropical forest.
In general, always carry sufficient water, wear a hat, put on sun cream, the sun is very harsh here. It is very easy to get dehydrated and sun-burned.
This happened at Christmas in the Dominican Republic, but can happen anywhere, that is why I am posting it in all my travel places.
This is something that makes me sick. This is not a place specific concern.
While at the pool I notice a little girl about 2 ? 3 yrs old. She had water wings on and was in water over 5 feet deep. There was absolutely nobody watching her. I stayed within a couple feet of her while with my son. After 30 minutes (I thought her parents would come back) I asked her if her mother was around. The girl said yes and quickly left to run to her mother. (I was a stranger so she ran away). I noticed who her parents were.
My dilemma was this; do I make an attempt to tune her parents into reality??? Or do I turn a blind eye and pray nothing happens ??? I know that if something happened to her, I would feel guilty.
I decided that I would keep an eye out for her. The next day, she was left alone in deep water for over 1 hour while her dad was at the other end of the pool reading a magazine. He looked for her every 20 ? 30 minutes. Her mother was sleeping on a pool chair the whole time.
The following day an announcements was made that parents must watch their kids and not leave them alone in the pool. Guess what??.
A friend of her family walked to the edge of the pool to check up on her?.it took 3 minutes for him to find her. When he did, he said to the father, ?oh she is with my son? (who was about 4 ? 5 years old). He went back to his chair and they ignored the kids for another hour.
PEOPLE WATCH YOUR KIDS?..AN ALL INCLUSIVE DOES NOT MEAN THEY WILL WATCH OUT FOR YOUR KID.
I took the opportunity to speak very loud to my wife (loud enough for the parents to hear).
I mentioned how parents that do not look after their kids in situations like that should have family services take their children away from them. That is neglect as far as I am concerned.
SUN POISONING ALERT!!!!!! Please remember that Martinique is only 14 degrees north of the Equator. The sun is deceptively and dangerously strong here, and you'll get seriously burned and require medical attention if you're not careful here. Take it from me; I'm speaking from personal experience! The local prescription cure for sun poisoning is this nasty cream made with cod liver oil (Vitamin A). When I came home from my trip, I smelled so fishy that I couldn't keep my cat off of me!! To this day, I've still got little pink triangles that appear on the top of my chest every time I take a shower which are residual damage from sunburn I got 19 years ago at a topless beach. Please don't overdo it, friends!
Not a danger, but only some information about the climate:
The mean temperature averages 79°F. Two regular, alternating wind currents (east and northeast) cool the atmosphere. These are the tradewinds, called les alizés. There is only about a 5° difference between summer and winter temperatures
Martinique is expensive, especially in the Southern part, so check prices before eating somewhere, they are plenty of nice and good local restaurants for a raisonable price. Moreover many touristic spots do not accept the student card, so be ready to pay adult price...
- Be careful of the sun, espacially on windy days : you don't feel hot but the sun is really strong !
- Be careful of hitch-hikers, sometimes they're gangsters or drug addicts who will rob your money or even your car !
Watch out if you are driving on the island and you are not a confident driver - The locals here have an 'anything goes' attitude towards driving. They might stop anywhere, without indicating and block the road while they talk to a friend, or overtake on the wrong side when there is no room to do so.