Martinique Travel Guide
The month-long labor strike paralyzing the French Carribbean isles of Martinique and Guadeloupe has grown increasingly violent—with rioters looting buildings and burning cars, at least one protester shot and killed by police, and tourists desperate to get out.
The situation is the worst in Guadeloupe, where protesters have blocked roads to the airport and tourists have been advised to stay in their hotel rooms, although there have been no specific reports of threats or violence against foreigners.
And the strike has devastated the isles' tourism economy, with cruise ships docking elsewhere instead and at least 10,000 travelers canceling flights.
French vacationers have long treasured the country's utopian overseas departments, where idyllic Carribbean beaches generally outshine any mini-outbreaks of post-colonial conflict. But economic doldrums and long-simmering racial tensions are currently casting some rain clouds over the island paradises of Martinique and Guadeloupe.
In Guadeloupe, 50,000 workers are in the midst of a three-week strike, which while peaceful, has reportedly left hotels and resorts short on gas, food and other necessities. Meanwhile in Martinique, racial sentiments bubbled over after the airing of a TV documentary detailing how the white minority has dominated the island's economy, leading to a nine-day strike and inciting the French to export a riot police brigade to the island.
The situation for tourists on both islands sounds more inconvenient than threatening so far. Any Jaunted readers out there in the French Caribbean? How are the hotels holding up? Do you feel safe? Let us know.
Our Eat 'n Sleep feature profiles a restaurant in a random city and a hotel nearby. It's kinda like that old show "Dinner and a Movie" but you know, with restaurants and hotels. And better jokes.
The Karibea Hotels Camelia Residence is a resort near the touristy--for good reason--Trios-Ilets village of Martinique. The hotel's best attribute is its proximity to the island country's geographic and cultural sites, and guests can easily watch the immense yachts docking at Fort-de-France bay.
Skip a visit to nearby The Pagerie Museum, the birthplace of Napoleon's first wife, Empress Josephine. Really, it's just an old house with knick knacks on display like every other famous-person-was-born-here monument. Instead, drive or walk a bit farther to the Canne Museum, which celebrates Martinique's sugar cane and rum heritage.
The hotel has 22 rooms, each with air-conditioning and standard amenities, though we hear from one visitor that the WiFi is lousy:
We had been told there was a WiFi in the house, which was not free. Eventually, we managed to pay for it online. Our credit card was debited, but we never got the service. Their hotline -- which was more of a cold line -- never responded.