February is the perfect time to escape the dreariness of winter and find a little sun with a trip to France's Hawaii, Martinique. Part of the French West Indies, this small island brings a slice of Europe to the Caribbean, with euros as its currency, French as its main language, and a fusion of French-Creole food served all over the island. February also brings Carnival, as well as new flight routes this year, making getting there more convenient. Prices may seem a little steep during this peak season, but there are ways to still have a fun-filled vacation without breaking the bank.
Why Martinique in February
Getting to the island has never been easier, with Delta now offering nonstop flights out of Atlanta, and American Airlines/American Eagle beginning daily nonstop service from Puerto Rico on February 1. Flights land in Fort-de-France, the main city and port, giving visitors a chance to start their vacations the moment the plane's wheels touch down.
February is also when the island jumps into action and businesses close their doors for Carnival celebrations, which include parades, burlesque shows, wild parties, and many other festivities. Nautical Week also takes place during this time, with boat races and several sea-related activities. For those seeking something a little more laid-back, the Jazz Ici concerts at the Atrium happen during the first week of February.
For visitors who'd prefer to avoid crowds and loud music, the many black- and white-sand beaches offer a safe haven. The island also provides plenty of cultural and historical sightseeing activities, not to mention a thriving rum industry that's definitely worth exploring.
Forte-de-France is the epicenter of festivities, and because of this it can be extremely crowded. Major hotels may also be more expensive since it's the island's high season. Staying outside the downtown area may reduce lodging costs, but may make it difficult to get in and out of the city during the mayhem of Carnival. Many of the smaller towns also celebrate Carnival in style without the mobs of people, but if you want to party, then spend a little extra cash to be in the eye of the storm.
Staying in one of the nearby towns, especially during an event, may help save cash and provide a quieter atmosphere. Many have campgrounds for the budget-conscious, as well as small "Relais Créoles" (similar to B&B's), for those who require a few creature comforts at a reduced price. And since accommodations range from budget to deluxe, you can typically find the perfect place to rest your hat at a price that suits your wallet.
For those who prefer one-stop shopping, a package may be the perfect solution. There's plenty to choose from, including seven-night accommodations at Karibea Baie du Galion Resort and a flight on Delta Air Lines for $959. The Martinique Promotion Bureau offers many more deals and discounts available all over the island.
So if you're in need of a warm escape this February or are searching for a romantic getaway for the love holiday, Martinique is a perfect combination of both. And with the thrill of Carnival, the island is abuzz with activities and music, making it even more appealing. Plus, with a little prior planning, February can be just as affordable as any other month.