Following the universal carnival traditions, Martinique Carnival puts a distinctly European twist on the classic celebration. For five days each year, the daily life of Martinique is suspended and the villages are filled with non-stop music, parties and more. Each village prepares new costumes, props and floats; which are unveiled at the carnival parade. Although the festivities take place over five days, preparations begin months in advance; with processions seen throughout the island every Sunday leading up to the carnival.
“During the carnival, the daily life of Martinique comes to a stand still and the island comes alive with Carnival Fever”
Each day of the carnival has it’s own distinct theme. Saturday and Sunday allows everyone to dress as they please; while the remainder of the event has specific costume requirements. Monday is known as the day of ‘Burlesque Weddings’; where men dress as brides. Tuesday is known as the day of the devil and everyone dresses in red and/or devil costumes. Ash Wednesday signifies the death of the devil; and is represented by wearing black and white to mourn death.
Martinique Carnival takes place on the overseas French region of Martinique. Festivities take place throughout the entire island; with each village represented with their own Queen of the carnival. The Carnival Parade occupies the streets of Fort de France, the capital of Martinique.
The region of Martinique is located in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies in the Caribbean Sea. Visitors can fly into the main airport; Martinique Aime Cesaire International Airport. The airport operates flights from Europe, the Carribean, Venezuela, the United States and Canada. Martinique can also be accessed by boat, with the regular ferry service travelling to Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Lucia, Les Saintes and Marie Galante.
Upon arrival, the easiest way to get around is by car. There is an extensive road network available, with freeways passing through the city and surrounding areas. Martinique also has a railway line in operation. The train runs from the Rhum Museum to the Banana Museum; and passes through sugarcane and banana plantations and a number of bridges.
A number of accomodation options are available in and around the main city of Fort de France. Many visitors opt to stay in the city centre and there are a range of accomodation options from hostels to hotels and airbnbs available. You can find nearby accommodation options below.
There are many attractions and activities for visitors to explore during a visit to Martinique. One of the most popular attractions is Mount Pelée, a volcano and frequented hiking spot. Known for the famous 1902 eruption, the volcano features a number of hiking trails. Presquî’le de la Caravelle is also another popular nature reserve for hiking as well as swimming. Popular beaches include Anse Dufour, Anse Mitan and Plage des Salines; featuring white sand and home to swimming, snorkelling, boating and more.
With 28 degree water year-round, Martinique is perfect for all your ‘summer’ activities. One of the most enjoyable ways to explore the island is to rent a kayak. Diving, surfing and kitesurfing are also popular activities enjoyed in the Caribbean waters.. A range of unforgettable sea excursions are also available; including day cruises onboard catamarans. A number of historical locations such as the Château Dubuc castle, St. Louis Cathedral and Fort Saint Louis are also popular tourist attractions.
Dress Up! – It’s not a true carnival celebration unless you dress accordingly. Each day has it’s own theme so gather your garments and dress up in the colours of the carnival!
Watch the musical performances – The most famous musical groups in Martinique spread out across the island during the carnival. With villages filled with music 24 hours a day, it’s impossible not to catch a traditional musical performance!
Catch a parade – Every carnival has street parades and Martinique has plenty to choose from. We recommend the street parade in pigiamas; that starts at 5am and fills the streets with the shuffling sounds of ‘slippered’ feet.
The next celebration of Martinique Carnival will take place from March 2-6, 2019.
Rad Season is providing you with hotels and Airbnbs at the lowest prices available online. Book your stay for Martinique Carnival 2019 using the map below!
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