Dominica (pronounced “Domineek-ah”), not to be confused with the Dominican Republic, is the “Nature Isle of the Caribbean.” The youngest island in the Lesser Antilles, Dominica is located between Guadeloupe and Martinique.
When you travel to Dominica you’ll discover an island rich in natural beauty and undisturbed
Dominica features eight active volcanoes, an abundance of wildlife, more than 1,200 plant species and 365 rivers that rush out to sea.
Most of the 289.5-square-mile island is covered in natural vegetation and many of the island’s 70,000 inhabitants live near the capital city of Roseau.
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… densely forested, with waterfalls and exotic birds, much of Dominica is protected as national wilderness. Volcanic activity provides boiling pools, geysers, and black-sand beaches. Most Dominicans are descendants of African slaves brought in by colonial planters. Independent from Britain since 1978, Dominica remains poor and dependent on banana exports. Governments, including that of Mary Eugenia Charles, the first female prime minister in the West Indies, have sought to broaden the economic base with tourism and light industry. Home to 3,000 Carib Indians, Dominica is the last bastion of this once populous Caribbean tribe
- Full name: Commonwealth of Dominica
- Population: 71 000 (UN 2012)
- Capital: Roseau
- Area: 751 sq km (290 sq miles)
- Major languages: English (official), French patois
- Major religion: Christianity
- Life expectancy: 74 (men), 78 (women) (UN Demographic Year book 2008)
- Monetary unit: 1 East Caribbean dollar = 100 cents
- Main exports: Bananas, soap, bay oil, vegetables, grapefruit, oranges
- GNI per capita: US $7,030 (World Bank, 2011)
- Internet domain: .dm
- International dialling code: +1767
- Gary Trotman (Dominican)
Weather: The average high temperature is 85°F in January / 90°F in July; average low temperature is 68°F in January / 72°F in July. Dry season generally occurs January – May, rainy season from June – October . The south and the west coasts receive about 85 inches of rain annually, while the mountainous interior rain forest gets more than 340 inches per year. Light to moderate showers occur everywhere year round. Hurricane season is predominantly between August and mid-October.
Clothing: Lightweight shorts and casual shirts. Jeans or slacks are frequently worn for all occasions. Light sweater or long sleeved shirts for cool nights in the mountains could be preferred by some. Pocket or tote sized umbrellas are always a welcome accessory for both sun and rain. Don’t swim or sunbathe topless on Dominica. It’s not considered good taste, nor should you wear swimsuits on the street or in public areas off the beach. When hiking, walking shoes and raincoats or anoraks are recommended, though tennis shoes and sandals can suffice for most occasions.
Etiquette: Dominican’s are very friendly and polite people; they comfortably greet or acknowledge everyone with: “Good morning,” and “Good day.” However, “Good night,” is generally said in place of “Good evening.” One will also hear locals replying or acknowledging at practically any opportunity or greeting with “OK!” or “Alright!)
Electricity: The electricity system is 220-240 volts, 50 cycles. Power outlets are 3-prong English style. Some hotels, rentals and homes have 110v; consider bringing a small travel transformer. Or transformers are readily and affordably available at many locations
Telephones: The international dialing code for Dominica is 1-767 followed by seven digits. On the island, use the seven digits alone. Dominica has very dependable cell phone service Companies providing land-lines include Cable & Wireless, Marpin Telecoms and Orange. Three companies provide cellular services including LIME, Cingular/AT&T and Orange. Phone can be purchased for reasonable amounts with phone card chips moveable from phone to phone. Need more minutes? Users can “top up” at numerous locations around the island for very reasonable cost.
Internet: High speed cable and wireless service is avaialbe in practically all hotels, bed & breakfasts, etc. Internet cafes can be located in Roseau and Portsmouth. Some eating establishments also offer free service. Most generally, internet service is very dependable
Water: The water is safe to drink throughout the entire island. As well, bottled spring water is available everywhere. Dominica has an abundance of fresh, crystal clear, clean water.
Entry Requirements: A valid passport is sufficient for a stay of up to one month. You may renew your stay for a further 3 months but you will need to show a return ticket. Visas are required for stays of over 21 days for travellers from Cuba, Haiti, Russia, The People’s Republic of China and the Eastern European Countries. Please note that from January 23, 2007, US citizens will need a passport to re-enter the US.
Vaccinations: …are not required to enter Dominica
Airports: Melville Hall (DMH) – International and Canefield (DCF) – local & small inter-island planes. NOTE that Melville Hall Airport, located very near the village of Marigot, is over an hour’s drive to Roseau and 45 minutes to Portsmouth.
Departure Tax: Reserve US $20 or EC$50 in cash for paying your departure tax at the airport.
Cruise Ships: Ships arrive at Dominica’s Roseau port weekly. During the peak season, November – May. 2-5 ships could be in port at any one time. As well, smaller cruise ships frequently visit the Portsmouth dock located near Cabrits.
Capital City: Roseau; 27,000
Money: East Caribbean Dollar (EC) > $1 US = $2.68 EC
– US dollars can be easily used for most all purchases
– Credit cards are accepted at many locations
– There are a few ATM machines at various locations
– Banks include: Natl Bank of Dominica, Scotia & First Caribbean
GDP per Capita: U.S. $5,400
Literacy Percent: 94
Income Sources: Tourism, Farming, Fishing
Religion: Roman Catholic, Protestant
Language: English, French patois English is the official language of Dominica, however, many locals communicate in a hybrid language known to scholars as Lesser Antillean Creole French.
Currency: East Caribbean dollar The local currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$). The rate is set at EC$2.68 to US$1.00. Many businesses accept US Dollars, but you will get the most favorable exchange rate at the banks. Major Credit Cards are accepted in many places
Time Zone: Dominica is one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time on Atlantic Standard Time. However, Dominica does NOT observe Daylight Savings.
Legal System: Based on British Common Law – ultimate right of Appeal to the Privy Council in London.
Public Transport: Mini-buses (look for the number plate that starts with an ‘H’) serve routes from Roseau, Marrigot / Melville Hall airport, Ross University and other prominent island locations… and to all villages they are a cheap (often exciting) way to get around the island. Prices are fixed by the government.
Taxis: are readily available for reasonable prices and can either be arranged from your location of stay or from the street. Inquire about destination prices with someone before hailing a cab. Drivers most generally will take both US and EC dollars. If possible pay with EC. Riders will find most drivers very friendly and easy to visit with.
Car Rental: Automobiles can be obtained from a few locations. Inquire. If driving, a temporary license will be needed – cost is US$12. If one is not familiar with driving on the left or Dominica’s tricky roads, don’t try driving!
Driving: Dominican’s drive on the left! Visitors need a driving permit which costs US$12 and is available from your car rental company. NOTE that if you are not accustomed to or comfortable driving on the left it is strongly recommended that you hire or utilize public transport. Driving on Dominica’s roads can be very trying and treacherous. Besides being very steep road are very narrow and winding with multiple blind curves. (First time visitors might want to consider taking Dramamine to avoid car sickness before arriving.) Driving even a short distance on the island can take a long time. Roads are not marked with center or edge lines and harbor a moonscape of pot-holes and other obstacles including fallen rocks, pedestrians, goats and cattle. There are few places to pull off the road as road edges consist of serious cliff drop-offs, sheer cliff-faces and deep, narrow French ditches.
Location: Dominica is about 1,400 miles southeast of Miami, 400 miles southeast of San Juan, 400 miles north of Venezuela and 1,500 miles west of Central America. The Caribbean Sea expands to the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The island sits between the French islands of Guadeloupe, 30 miles to the north, and Martinique, 27 miles to the south.
Geography: Dominica is approximately 29 miles long and 16 miles at its widest point; it area is 289.5 sq. miles. The island’s coordinates are 15.20N, 61.19W Dominica is the dividing point of the Caribbean islands’ Windward islands to the west and the Leeward islands to the east. The highest point is Morne Diablotin at 4,747ft. Dominica has some of the richest mountain rainforest in the Caribbean.
Terrain: The majority of the island is covered by densely wooded mountains and rainforest. The overall terrain is very steep, and extremely rugged. Dominica’s beaches generally consist of shimmering black sand or rocks. There are few expansive beaches. The island has over 360 rivers. There are 9 volcanoes on the Dominica …none display the distinct cone shape top generally associated with volcanoes. There have been few noticeable eruptions for centuries. Small tremors and earthquakes occasionally occur.