$305 - $306 / night
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Dominica is a part of the region of Central America and is a Caribbean island country between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about one-half of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago. It is often known as "The Nature Island of the Caribbean" due to its spectacular, lush, and varied flora and fauna, which are protected by an extensive natural park system. The most mountainous island of the Lesser Antilles, its volcanic peaks are cones of lava craters and include Boiling Lake, the second-largest, thermally active lake in the world. Should not be confused with the Caribbean nation of the Dominican Republic.
Tropical; moderated by northeast trade winds; heavy rainfall. Flash floods are a constant threat; destructive hurricanes can be expected during the late summer months.
Rugged mountains of volcanic origin.
Dominica was the last of the Caribbean islands to be colonized by Europeans, due chiefly to the fierce resistance of the native Caribs. France ceded possession to Great Britain in 1763, which made the island a colony in 1805. In 1980, two years after independence, Dominica's fortunes improved when a corrupt and tyrannical administration was replaced by that of Mary Eugenia Charles, the first female prime minister in the Caribbean, who remained in office for 15 years. Some 3,000 Carib Indians still living on Dominica are the only pre-Columbian population remaining in the eastern Caribbean.
Administrative divisions. 10 parishes: Saint Andrew, Saint David, Saint George, Saint John, Saint Joseph, Saint Luke, Saint Mark, Saint Patrick, Saint Paul, Saint Peter
Visitors from the United States, Canada, Singapore and European Union nations are granted automatic visas on entry for up to 21 days (with extensions available). Other nations should check with Dominica immigration before traveling.
There are two airports in Dominica, Melville Hall (DOM) and Canefield (DCF). Most commercial flights land at Melville Hall. However, the airport is not able to accommodate jet aircraft. Night Landing has been approved starting at the beginning of October 2010; however, many airlines have not yet adjusted their itineraries to accommodate the added landing hours. The island can be accessed through San Juan, Antigua, Barbados, St. Maarten, Martinique, Guadeloupe and other Caribbean hubs.
From Martinique and Guadeloupe ferries on most days of the week. Arrival in Roseau.
Cruise ships increasingly visit. A large pier serves many directly in front of the downtown area. If already occupied, ships dock at the industrial port about 1.5 miles away.
As far as freedom of movement and exploration a car can be invaluable. Though small the island's tightly turning mountain roads make for relatively long journeys and a hair-raising experience. Driving is on the left hand side of the road and there are various car rental agencies at both airports. Road Runner Car Rental is an excellent choice, offering a variety of 4x4 vehicles at bargain rates.
See One week in Dominica for a sample one-week itinerary around the island.
Languages : English (official), French patois
Hiking trip, biking, ATV tours, or zip lining- Enjoy nature and experiencing the greenery and wildlife in their own habitat. Dominica offers a trek through the rainforest on some of the best biking or hiking trails. The ATV tours are exhilarating. They are a great way to cover a large area of the island. And, zip lining gets you right in the middle of the forest with an amazing view and a thrilling ride!
Scuba Diving, waterskiing, jet skiing, kayaking or other water sports- Scuba Diving or snorkeling in Dominica allows you to see ocean life from a whole new perspective. Waterskiing and jet skiing are a challenging, fast-paced ride. And kayaking or canoeing provide an alternative to the ocean and let you experience the rivers and inland bodies of water throughout Dominica.
Whale watching, dolphin watching, or boat tours- See beautiful sea creatures swim the open waters on a Dominica whale or dolphin watching trip. And, take a boat tour around the island to photograph Dominica’s exotic scenery and historic site seeing spots.
Canyoning or rock climbing- Dominica rock climbing and canyoning is an encouraging and motivating experience. It tests strength and agility while experiencing some of the most breathtaking views of Dominica.
Festivals or special events- Dominica is known for their many island events. The Caribbean Islands love food, music, and celebration. Whether it’s a cultural gathering or a music festival Dominica offers it.
Spa treatments and relaxation- Many of Dominica’s resorts offer spa vacation services on the premise for a convenient way to get rejuvenated for the next day of activities.
The best local handicrafts are Carib made baskets. The earth tone colors come from burying the fibers in the ground for different lengths of time. U.S. citizens (likely others) need to ensure that the materials from which they are made allow them to be taken back home.
Dominica is also well known for its music, so be sure to buy some local music while you are on the island. Genres range from jazz, reggae-dancehall, calypso & soca, to Cadence-lypso and Bouyon and which are popular Dominican genres. Visit during the last weekend in October and be treated to the World Creole Music Festival or if you can't make it, ask for the best local artistes, and be aware of pirated copies!
Many kiosks and vendors line the shore at the main cruise ship dock. One excellent leather store faces the dock on the other side of the road. Just a short block inland lies a packed, open-air market with perhaps the island's best selection of souvenirs.
Look out for cacao sticks to make cocoa tea as a nice souvenir to take back home.
Freshly squeezed grapefruit is ubiquitous and is perfect with every meal. Coconut water is cheap and readily available by the side of the road. Another local specialty is sorrel. This red refreshing drink is brewed from the flowers of an hibiscus specie common also in Jamaica. The popular locally brewed beer is Kubuli. Ask your hotel to set up a tour of the brewery.
There are many vendors of fruit juice in Roseau. Almost without exception this is non-pasturised fruit juice with water and sugar added. The added water is usually chlorinated tap water. A juice vendor known as Pal sells his juice by the area where one can find a bus to Portsmouth. Pal is one of the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable fruit vendors on the island. He sometimes has juice from rare fruits.
Quenchi is a local soft drink which comes in many different flavors. It can be found in every village (with diet varieties at the IGA in Roseau).
Sorrel, known as the christmas drink for its red colour (and because it only flowers around christmas) is made from boiled flowers. It tastes heavenly.
Avocado pear juice can be purchased in some small cafes and is certainly worth a try. Other flavours include soursop, passionfruit, grapefruit, orange, lime, beetroot.
Many accommodations on the island are outside of the towns. For in-city accommodations, see the respective city articles.
All work permits are valid for one-year duration and can be renewed. An application involves the submission of two completed copies of the relevant form together with the following supporting documents;
Work Exchange at Nature Island Eco-village Tourist permits do not permit work for money, however, work trade is not forbidden.
Tap water is safe to drink, but since it is sometimes drawn straight from Dominica's many rivers, it has a tendency to turn brown after heavy rainfall. It's better to drink the bottled water available almost anywhere.
Basic healthcare is available at Princess Margaret Hospital in Roseau.
North Americans moving to Dominica often experience boils for the first time and fingernail and toenail fungi. Stomach problems are rare among travellers.
Towns are sprayed with insecticides periodically to control the mosquitoes responsible for spreading Dengue fever. However, the spraying may not be done at the scheduled time and pesticides may drift into your home if the windows are open.
In the high lands and uninhabited central regions water is gathered at roadside springs. Sometimes the bus will stop and passengers will fill their water bottles. Locals prefer the taste of this water to bottled water. Public water is bacterially safe to drink due to heavy chlorination and has the expected chlorine flavor.
Area code is 767, on the North American exchange.
Digicel is a local cellular company which provides prepaid plans for those visiting for short periods. Cable & Wireless and Orange also provide cell service.