Dominica is called the "Nature Island of the Caribbean.
Tropical rainforests cover two thirds of the island,
and are home to 1,200 plant species. Without a doubt,
the rolling hills, energetic rivers and beautiful forests
contribute to it's name. Dominica covers about 289 square
miles, but is home to only about 70,000 people, many
of whom live in the capital city of Roseau.
to get physical? How about a 3 hour hike over challenging
terrain to Boling Lake? Of course there is the 3 hour
hike out as well. If that's not challenging enough,
there is always an excursion to the peak of Morne Diablotin
(Devil's Mountain) in the Northern Forest Reserve (4747ft.)
you can do nothing at all. Miles of secluded beaches
beckon. Take a leisure cruise on a bike and enjoy the
wonders of the contryside at your own pace. Take in
some shopping at the numerous little shops offering
arts and crafts of the island. Or sample the many restaurants
offering local creole cuisine, fresh fruits, and of
course home made ice cream.
There are no nonstop direct flights to Dominica
from the mainland US or Europe, mainly due to the fact
that the airports (there are two) cannot accommodate
jets. Connections with local carriers are readily available
from nearby island gateways such as Antigua, Barbados,
Guadeloupe, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St, Maarten and
St. Lucia. These gateways are served by international
carriers including .
The Melville Hall Airport is on the northeastern coast,
almost diagonally across the island from the capital,
Roseau, on the southwestern coast. Melville Hall is
a 1 1/2-hour taxi ride from Roseau, a drive that takes
you across the island through the forest and coastal
villages; the fare is $18 per person when there are
four passengers. On your own, the fare could be $50.
The newer Canefield Airport is about a 15-minute taxi
ride north of Roseau. The 2,000-foot airstrip accommodates
smaller planes than those that can land at Melville
Hall. From here, the typical taxi fare into town is
$15. There's also a public bus (with an H that precedes
the number on the license plate) that costs only $2
per person; buses come every 20 minutes and hold between
15 and 18 passengers.
From Antigua, you can board one of the five daily LIAT
flights to Dominica. Another possibility would be to
fly via St. Maarten. From there, LIAT offers
one nonstop flight daily and two other daily flights
with intermediary stops.
You can also fly to Guadeloupe and make a connection
on Air Guadeloupe, which has two flights a day to Dominica
except on Sunday, when there is no morning flight (flying
time is 30 minutes). If you're in Fort-de-France on
Martinique, you can take a LIAT flight to Dominica.
A 300-seat catamaran operated by L'Express
des Îles ferries passengers between Dominica,
Guadeloupe, Martinique and St. Lucia. The ferry departs
and arrives at the Roseau Bayfront, a short walk from
the heart of the capital.
officials require most visitors to the Commonwealth
of Dominica to present a valid passport on arrival.
All visitors need to show a return ticket. Canadian
citizens can show documents certifying proof of citizenship
that also bears a photograph, and French nationals can
stay for up to two weeks by presenting a valid identification
arriving from countries that are members of the Commonwealth
of Nations do not require a visa. However, nationals
of Nigeria and other exempt nationalities will often
require proof of visas into Dominica from Third Countries
in order to disembark as in-transit passengers in these
countries. Nationals of Haiti and the Dominican Republic
require a visa to enter.
who will remain on Dominica for less than 24 hours (including
cruise-ship passengers) do not require a visa to enter.
coming from the countries listed below who intend to
stay for 21 days or less, do not require a visa:
note that the following nationalities now require visas:
China, India, and Nigeria.
Helpful Visitor Information
The best way to get around Dominica is walking, bus
or by organized tour. Dominica is such a rich and beautiful
island. Unfortunately for drivers, roads are narrow
with sharp curves and switch backs. Locals familiar
with the roads will drive very fast on the inland roads
making renting a car a nerve racking proposition.
Public transportation is readily available in the form
of the ubiquitous mini-bus (look for number plates that
begin with 'H'); the Old Market in Roseau is the 'terminus'
for busses travelling south; the West Bridge for those
travelling north. Fares are set by the government.
There are a handful of small, usually family-owned car-rental
companies, the condition and price of whose vehicles
Language and Culture
English is the official language. Creole (French patois)
is widely spoken also.
Average daytime temperatures range from 75-85 F, with
cooler temperatures in the mountains. Dry season is
from January to April. Rainy season is from July to
Monday to Thursday: 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Friday: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Local currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, U.S.
dollars are accepted at most businesses, where the rate
of exchange is EC$2.60. You are advised to exchange
your currency at banks, where you will get the most
favorable exchange rate.
220/240 volts. A transformer is required for all appliances.
Outlets are three-prong European-style. Adapters may
be needed. Appliances rated at 110 volts (US Standard)
works satisfactorily with a transformer. Most hotels
provide dual voltage shaver units. An adaptor plug is
necessary for small appliances.
In case of emergency please dial 999 for the police,
Fire, and Ambulance.
The main hospital is the Princess Margaret and there
are smaller ones in other parts of the island. Portsmouth
the second town, Marigot in the East and Grand Bay to
the South. Clinics and Doctors can be found through
out the island.
The island's best-stocked drugstore is Jolly's Pharmacy,
in Roseau at 37 Great George St., and 12 King George
V St. Both branches share the same phone number and
hours (tel. 767/448-3388). They're open Monday and Friday
from 8am to 6pm, Tuesday to Thursday from 8am to 5pm,
and Saturday from 8am to 2pm.
Although crime is rare here, you should still safeguard
your valuables. Never leave them unattended on the beach
or in a locked car.
A 10% government room tax is added on accommodations,
and a 5% tax on alcoholic drinks and food items. Anyone
who remains on Dominica for more than 24 hours must
pay a US$19 departure tax.
To call Dominica from the United States, dial 1,
then 767 (the country code for Dominica) and the local
number. To call Dominica from another island within
the Caribbean, just dial 767, plus the seven-digit local
number. International direct dialing is available on
Dominica, as well as U.S. direct service through AT&T.
You can contact AT&T in Dominica by dialing tel.
800/872-2881. Most hotel telephone operators throw up
their hands at even placing a long-distance call for
a resident. Instead, they connect their clients to the
island's long-distance phone operator, who dials the
call for a client, and then calls are billed directly
to a client's room.
Dominica is on Atlantic Standard Time, 1 hour ahead
of Eastern Standard Time in the United States. Dominica
does not observe daylight savings time, so when the
United States changes to daylight saving time, clocks
in Dominica and the U.S. east coast tell the same time.
Most hotels and restaurants add a 10% service charge
to bills; check carefully to see if it's been added.
If this charge has not been included, tipping is up
to you, though an additional 5% for particularly good
service is always welcome.
The water is drinkable from the taps and in the high
mountain country. Pollution is hardly a problem here.
As dramatic as the topside terrain of Dominica is,
so will divers find below the waves. Over the past few
years, Dominica has earned the reputation as one of
the top five dive destinations in the world. In addition
to unique dive sites like "Champagne" which
features a bubbling, underwater hot spring, Dominica's
reefs are full of gorgeous multi-coloured hard and soft
coral, an abundance of reef fish and fascinating marine
life such as seahorses and frogfish. The underwater
terrain is unique and diverse, providing dive sites
suitable for all skill levels, from beginner to the
Diving off Dominica offers an amazing diversity of reef,
wreck, dramatic wall, pinnacle and drift dives. Dominica
has a profusion of sponges and unique creatures... Seahorses,
Frogfish and Snake Eels.
Water Temp 78 - 83F 25 - 28C -- Visibility - Can
reach 100+ ft 30 m depending on river runoff.
Snorkeling sites are never very far, regardless
of where you are on Dominica. In all, there are some
30 separate and first-rate snorkeling areas immediately
off the coast. The western side of the island, where
nearly all of the snorkeling takes place, is the lee
side, meaning the waters are tranquil. You can explore
the underwater hot springs at Champagne and Toucari,
the Coral Gardens off Salisbury, and the southern shoreline
of Scotts Head Beach, with more than 190 species of
flamboyantly colored fish. The closeness of the reefs
to shore makes snorkeling here some of the best in the
Caribbean. Your hotel or one of the dive shops can set
you up with gear.
Dominica beaches are far from the best of the Caribbean.
Most are rocky with gray-black volcanic sand. But some
beaches, even though they don't have great sand or shade,
are still good for diving or snorkeling in the turquoise
The best beach on the island lies on the northwest coast.
Picard Beach stretches for about 3km (2 miles), a strip
of grayish sand with palm trees as a backdrop. It's
ideal for snorkeling or windsurfing. You can drop in
for food and drink at one of the hotels along the beach.
On the northeast coast, four beaches -- L'Anse Noire,
Hodges Beach, Woodford Hill Bay, and Hampstead Beach
-- are among the island's most beautiful, although none
are great for swimming. Divers and snorkelers often
come here, even though the water can be rough. Watch
out for the strong currents.
The southwest coast also has some beaches, but the sand
here is black and rock-studded. Nonetheless, snorkelers
and scuba divers flock to Soufrière Bay Beach
and Scotts Head Beach for the clear waters and the stunning
The beaches may be lousy, but Dominica has some of the
best river swimming in the Caribbean. Some say the little
island has 365 rivers, one for every day of the year.
The best places for swimming are under a waterfall,
of which there are dozens on the island. Almost all
waterfalls have a refreshing pond at the base, ideal
for a dip. Your best bets are on the west coast at the
Picard or the Machoucherie Rivers. On the east coast,
the finest spot is White River, near the hamlet of La
Plaine. Consider also the Layou River and its gorges.
Layou is the island's largest river, ranging from tranquil
beach-lined pools ideal for swimming to deep gorges
and turbulent rapids. All the rivers are pristine and
make nice spots for a little sunbathing or perhaps a
picnic lunch to enjoy along their banks.
Whale watching ranks at the top of the list for
exciting excursions. Who wouldn’t get caught up in the
spectacle of seeing these majestic giants up close and
personal? Dominica’s temperate seas and underwater contours
are ideal for hosting numerous whale population.
Dominica is probably the best place in all the Caribbean
for kayaking. You can rent a kayak for a unique adventure
around the rivers and coastline of the lushest island
in the West Indies. You can combine bird-watching, swimming,
and snorkeling as you glide along. Consider Soufrière
Bay, a marine reserve in southwest Dominica. Off the
west coast, you will discover tranquil Caribbean waters
with rainbow-hued fish along the beaches in Mero, Salisbury,
and in the region of the Layou and Macoucherie Rivers.
For sport fishermen who want the thrill of chasing 200
lb marlin, dolphin fish, barracuda, and yellow fin tuna
then Dominica should be a major attraction.
Whether you're an experienced explorer or a novice adventurer,
Dominica has a trail waiting for you to discover. Trailheads
are found throughout the forest reserves, national parks
and island resorts. These pathways provide you with
a tour of the lush, green rainforests and some trails
lead to romantic waterfalls with excellent swimming
and photo opportunities.
For the experienced - Boiling Lake
Morne Trois Pitons National Park
Said to be the second largest in the world, this hot
springs lake is a caldron of gray-blue water at a temperature
ranging from 180 to 197 degrees Fahrenheit; a full-day
rigorous hike with a guide is needed to visit this awesome
sight. A well-maintained trail begins at approximately
1,600 ft, where a level stretch of rocky pathway blends
alternately with wooden steps. But don't be fooled by
the flat beginning, it grows steeper. Although this
is a strenuous trail, the trip is among the best ways
to experience the rainforest of the Caribbean’s Nature
Island. See and hear rainforest birds and other rare
tropical animals while truly experiencing the heart
of the island.
Moderate experience - Sari-Sari Falls
Sari-Sari Falls is off the East road. After parking
next to the Banana field, you begin descending down
a steep incline to the bed of the Sari-Sari River. You
will travel along the river bed, crossing several times
as the exact path you travel depends on the flow of
the river. The hike is only about a mile each way, can
be slippery when wet. Sari-Sari is a beautiful waterfall,
but most of its appeal is its location on the remote
Atlantic side of the island.
Bird watchers will take pleasure in sighting our 160
bird species, including the Dominica trademark Imperial
Parrot and the purple-throated hummingbird.
This reserve encompasses history and the natural environment,
with an 800-acre marine reserve as well as a museum
and ruins of colonial outposts.
This English colonial fort is among the ruins found
at the Cabrits Historical and Marine Park, which preserves
remnants of the islands tumultuous history.
This museum highlights the island's cultural and natural
Leisurely cruise through the rain-forest on a fully
guided nature adventure! Our docile, well-trained, riding
horses will take you deep into the rain-forest along
mountain trails. Relax in your western style saddle
and enjoy all that nature has to offer!
Although the mountains of Dominica look very imposing,
you will be surprised to find a fantastic selection
of trails suitable for any skill level. We will help
you pick the best route for your experience and energy
Store hours are usually Monday to Friday from 8am to
5pm and Saturday from 9am to 1pm.
In Roseau, the Old Market Plaza, of historical significance
as a former slave-trading market and more recently the
site of a Wednesday-, Friday-, and Saturday-morning
vegetable market, now houses three craft shops, each
specializing in coconut, straw, and Carib craft products.
Outlets for crafts include Dominica Pottery, Bayfront
Street at Kennedy Avenue, Roseau. An array of pottery
made from local clays is on sale, as well as other handcrafts.
Balisier's, 35 Great George St., Roseau. The shop has
some of the most original T-shirts on the island, as
well as an assortment of Carnival dolls and handmade
jewelry. Ego Boutique, 9 Hillsborough St. in Roseau,
has the best selection of clothing, much of it in the
classic West Indian style, along with some crafts and
home accessories, much of it made locally.
The casual shopper seeking souvenirs and crafts can
also drop into Island Stuff, 25 Hanover St. in Roseau,
a small shop that's jam-packed with intriguing items
including handcrafts and fine art. Try also The Crazy
Banana, 17 Castle St. in Roseau, which offers a little
preview of some of the best items for which the Caribbean
is known, including handcrafts, handmade jewelry, bottles
of rum, cigars, and regional paintings.
Dining in Dominica is a savory story with a happy ending.
Spend a day touring the island and it’s easy to see
why restaurants set such a varied and tasty table. Fruits
and spices abound. Tables overflow with red, pink, yellow,
orange and green vegetables. Nowhere in the Caribbean
will you find such a culinary assortment.
The country’s cuisine, like the island, is a blend of
cultures. African, Carib Indian, French and Oriental
influences provide an assortment of dishes, which are
waiting to be sampled during your visit.
When the sun sets on the day’s adventures, evenings
in Roseau and Portsmouth unfold with a blend of music
that includes reggae, jazz, soca, zouk, steel band,
blues, rock and roll and resounding dance hall disco.
Some hotels have regularly scheduled entertainment.
Catch a first-run movie at Carib cinema in Roseau or
Dominica's Carnival, held at the traditional pre-lenten
time, is a feast of calypso, shows, and two-exciting
days of street jump-up. Carnival is formally opened
about a month before the two final days of jump-up.