At A Glance
Martinique is said to be a little bit of France in the Caribbean. This is seen in the excellence of its cuisine, the size of its population and the beauty of its language. One can get a sense of why this title is bestowed on the island. Yet Martinique is still a Caribbean island and with that comes 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 of a population roughly 409,000, its beaches and its spectacular topography. It is however 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.
One of the biggest festivals in Martinique is Carnival, also known as Vaval in Martinique. Almost everything shuts down for Vaval, the biggest bash of the year. An unforgettable experience, four days of parades, masquerades, music and more. People have to atone for everything they did during Vaval so the fun ends on the first day of Lent. Halfway through Lent, the mini-carnival Mi-Carême provides a one-day respite from the serious business of repentance. Musical events are enjoyed regularly since music plays a huge role in Martinique’s culture. Jazz à la Martinique and Carrefour Mondial de Guitare, alternate years in early December these are the two biggest musical events during the year. Both of them draw international musicians and host events in several locations over a week-long period.