You may be vaguely familiar with Martinique – perhaps you have heard of it as a good holiday destination. Whatever the case may be it is less likely you have realised its currency is none other than the euro. Let’s find out more about both the country and the currency here.
The euro is a decimal currency and as such has 100 cents per euro. The official term for these is eurocents but in reality this isn’t often used in speech or daily life. Most people who use them say cents.
There are plenty of coins available for this currency, most of which have been denominated in the cent value. These are the 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent denominations. You can also get two coins denominated as euros, which are the one and two euro coins.
In addition there are a number of banknotes for this currency. Three of these are very familiar to those who use the currency regularly – they are the €10, €20 and €50 notes. You will also be interested to know three other notes exist that are larger in value – these are the €100, €200 and €500 notes. However they are less common in circulation because their value makes them more attractive as a target for forgery.
Martinique is recognised as an overseas portion of France. While it is a long way away from France itself, the fact that it is an overseas territory means that it uses the same currency as mainland France. It has therefore used the euro for some years now. Ironically Martinique is also recognised as a formal part of the European Union, even though it actually sits in the Caribbean Sea!
The euro for Martinique is the same as the euro used in any other European country that has adopted it. As you may know, the country-side of the coin changes in its design according to the country that issued it. Therefore you may spot coins in Martinique that were issued in France. However it is just as likely other coins from other European countries will be found in Martinique, depending on who spent them there and where they came from.
Getting euros is a pretty easy task. You can go to your chosen bureau de change prior to travelling to Martinique to get the required number of euros from there. Make sure you check the rates offered by different outlets so you can get the most for your money if at all possible. Traveller’s cheques are also worth thinking about as they are safe to carry and easy to replace if anything should happen to them. Keep a note of their serial number separate to the cheques themselves, just in case you should need it. Get these in euros as well for ease of use – it may also be cheaper for you to exchange them when the time comes.
You can use credit cards in Martinique but Visa tends to meet with more success than Mastercard so bear this in mind. Cash machines are also available in Martinique and credit cards are quite easy to use in these as well if you need more cash. Do be aware of the charges applied to such transactions though; it is a good idea to find out prior to going so you know where you stand.
Any good currency converter will have information regarding the latest exchange rates with the euro. Make sure you opt for one that updates regularly if you can, since this will give you a better idea of where you stand. Remember though that the currency converter figures do not take into account any charges that would typically be applied to a conversion at a bureau de change.
Martinique is generally quite a safe place to visit, which will be good news to you if you are thinking of booking a holiday there. However it might be worth checking on the latest information for Martinique prior to travelling, just so you are aware of the situation. The latest information is always regularly updated on the official UK government website at this page - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/martinique/safety-and-security.
Most of the advice we could give regarding a trip to Martinique would be nothing short of common sense. For example it is usually advisable not to carry huge sums of cash at any point, since someone might see you carrying it or withdrawing it from a cash machine. In addition if you were unlucky enough to be pickpocketed or targeted by a criminal you would lose a lot of cash. The same applies to wearing or carrying jewellery – try to keep it all to a minimum if you can.
Ideally you should choose a hotel that provides you with your own personal safe. Make sure everything you don’t need to have with you that is of any value can be kept locked in here until you need it. It is also wise not to travel alone at night if you can help it, and to stay in populated areas rather than going off the beaten track alone. As you can see, this is really just common sense for most people.
We have discovered now that Martinique is in the Caribbean Sea, but where exactly would you find it if you were to look at a map? It is known as one of the Windward Islands, and it actually exists in a chain of islands that includes St Lucia immediately to the south and Dominica immediately to the north-west.
As you would expect of an island that is a foreign territory of France, the place names here are largely in French. This is the predominant language too, although you will hear a version of Creole spoken by many locals as well.
It is quite easy to get around on the island because it has a good network of roads that cut through the centre of the island as well as taking you around the outskirts. One of the main sights on the island is in the northern reaches of Martinique, and is known as Mount Pelee. This literally translates into the rather wonderful name of Bald Mountain! It is a volcano and while it has been many decades since it last erupted, it is particularly known for causing the deaths of many thousands of people way back in 1902. Today you can walk up it and since it is closely monitored for any activity, you should be safe in doing so. Obviously keep an eye open for any signs or warnings that may appear, although this is unlikely given the current situation.
The island’s capital is Fort-de-France, which lies roughly halfway down the western side of the island. It has the advantage of being on a bay, offering a nice setting and plenty to see and do as a result. Not least are the markets and the stall owners who are regularly plying their wares here – this makes for a wonderful excursion during the day. You can also see the birthplace of Napoleon’s Josephine (yes, the famous Josephine) who began her life on Martinique.
Of course some people come to Martinique to enjoy the beaches it has to share. One such example is Diamond Beach, which is free to use and enjoy and is usually quite sparsely-populated as well. This means you don’t have to worry about getting there early to stake out a spot on the sand. The beach is located to the south-west of the island and is largely quiet and relaxing, although this does mean it makes sense to bring your own supplies.
The island is also famed for its many water sports activities that you can take part in. From snorkelling to scuba diving, there is something here that allows you to enjoy the waters around many parts of the island if you want to.
Martinique may have a dramatic history thanks to that infamous eruption over a century ago, but today the island is a hotspot for many tourists looking to enjoy a trip to a sun-drenched island with great beaches. We have covered only a few attractions here but the island holds many more, which is ideal for those who want a little more than just an island with lots of beaches. Walkers and hikers will enjoy the many perks it offers them, while there are many natural sights here too, including the Balata Garden, a tropical setting that is quite pleasing and relaxing to see.
Wherever you go in Martinique you are assured of a memorable stay and one that may tempt you to come back at some point in the future as well.