Health & safety
The fer-de-lance, an aggressive pit viper, can be found on Martinique, particularly in overgrown and brushy fields. The snake’s bite is highly toxic and sometimes fatal; it’s essential for victims to get an antivenin injection as soon as possible. Hikers should be alert for the snakes and stick to established trails.
There is a risk of bilharzia (schistosomiasis) infection throughout the island; the main precaution is to avoid wading or swimming in fresh water.
Beware of manchineel trees on some beaches, particularly on the south coast, as rainwater dripping off them can cause skin rashes and blistering. They’re usually marked with a band of red paint.
Occasional island-wide strikes can grind tourism services to a screeching halt.
After dark, it’s not advisable to wander off the strip of restaurants and hotels along Rues de la Liberté and Ernest Deproge; mugging is the main concern.
Good medical care is available throughout the island, but not all doctors speak or understand English. There’s a decompression chamber at the hospital in Fort-de-France.
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