Martinique Time Zone, Currency, Banking
Martinique is in the Atlantic Time Zone (GMT-4). When the eastern US is on Eastern Standard Time, the time in the island is one hour later.
When the eastern US switches to Eastern Daylight Time, the time in the island is the same. Local time is usually indicated in the 24-hour format (1:15 p.m. is 13:15 or 13h15). Martinique does not convert to daylight savings time.
As with most of the Caribbean, there is also something called "Island Time". This means that things may actually take a lot longer than one expects. The best way to deal with Island Time is to simply relax and enjoy yourself while you are waiting.
CURRENCY AND BANKING
The local currency in Martinique is the Euro. Although U.S. dollars and traveler's checks (which are increasingly rare) may be accepted at some locations, it's best to rely primarily on major credit cards for larger purchases, and cash for small purchases. Be sure to check with your credit card company to see if you'll be charged foreign currency conversion fees. Visa and MasterCard are generally accepted, but most merchants do not accept American Express or Discover cards.
You'll need your ATM card to obtain Euros for smaller purchases. You must establish a 4 digit PIN for your account prior to departure or your card may not be accepted by ATMs on the island. Traveler's checks are best carried as an emergency backup.
You will usually get a better rate of exchange at local banks, currency exchange offices (bureaux de change), or ATMs (called ABMs or distributors des billets), than you will at hotels. All of those options are available upon arrival at the airport in Martinique. Major banks are located in Fort-de-France, but most towns have at least one bank with an ATM. Banks are generally open 8:00-12:00 and 14:00-16:00, Monday-Friday. Some are also open on Saturday mornings.
Although there is not a great deal of crime in Martinique, visitors should not leave cash or essential items unattended. Most hotels have a place to store important documents or valuables in rooms or at the front desk.
A universal currency converter is available at oanda.com.
Photo courtesy Martinique Promotion Bureau / © Luc Olivier
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