Visit Dominica, our beautiful Caribbean island!



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Arts & Crafts

Dominica is famous for the fine straw crafts made locally from a tall reed called the l'arouma. Many shops in Roseau sell baskets and other gifts made from this material, however, the best place to see the crafts is where many are made, the Carib Terriritory.

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Bird Watching

Dominica is home to two parrots found nowhere else. The Imperial parrot (Amazona imperialis - known locally as the Sisserou) is Dominica's national bird. The Red-necked or Jaco/Jacquot parrot is smaller than the Imperial and can be found at lower elevations. The area of Syndicate in the Dominica's Northern Forest Reserve is perhaps the best known spot to see these two spectacular birds. The number of known bird species to be seen in Dominica during the various seasons of the year totals 132, including 4 types of native hummingbird and also includes Thrashers, Tremblers and Flycatchers. More...

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Books on Dominica

There are a number of good guide books to the island. "Dominica, Isle of Adventure" (Macmillan Caribbean 1998) by Dr. Lennox Honychurch is an excellent introduction. His "The Dominica Story" (Macmillan Caribbean 1995) is the definitive history of the island. Click here to read reviews and order. Dominica's most celebrated author, Jean Rhys, was born in Roseau in 1890. Although she moved to England at age 16 and only made one brief return visit to Dominica, much of her work draws upon her childhood experiences in Dominica and the West Indies, especially her most famous work, 'Wide Sargasso Sea'.

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Business Hours

Monday-Friday 8am to 4pm, Saturday 8am to 1pm. Some businesses close for lunch 1-2pm. Some supermarkets open late. Banking hours are 8am - 2pm Mon - Thurs, 8-4pm Friday. Petrol stations open till 7pm.

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Camping

Camping is not allowed in any national park, and generally not encouraged on the island.

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Caribs

A name used by Europeans to describe the people who inhabited the islands of the Lesser Antilles at the time of Columbus' second voyage in 1493. This was not what the people called themselves. The repeated use of the name for over five centuries however, has made it widely adopted even by the descendants of the people themselves. The French missionary Raymond Breton, visiting Dominica in 1642, recorded that the "Caribs'" name for themselves was Callinago in the "men's language" and Calliponam in the "women's language", while Callínemeti was "a good peaceful man". This has now led to the adoption of the word Kalinago and Karifuna by cultural groups, anthropologists and historians to describe the Caribs. The "Black Caribs" of Belize, who are descended from ancestors in St. Vincent, call themselves the "Garifuna."

This information is provided by Dr. Lennox Honychurch from his "A to Z of Dominica Heritage." Visit the Dominica A to Z Heritage website for more terms.

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Cuisine

Our cuisine is like our history and culture, an exciting blend which draws heavily from our Creole past.

Tropical fruits and vegetables are in abundance, and not surprising for an island, our range of seafood is second to none!

Particular delicacies you should try land crabs, our delicious locally grown coffee; and a wide range of local fruit juices. Be sure to take home with you our hot pepper sauce!

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Currency

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 favourable exchange rate at the banks. Major Credit Cards are accepted in many places.

Click here for the latest exchange rates.

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Cycling/Mountain Biking

Cycling and Mountain biking is becomming increasingly popular in Dominica. With an estimated 390km of paved roads and a extensive network of tracks and trails, cycling in Dominica is, for those visitors with the time to spare, an excellent way to see the island. A small number of business rent bicyles or offer guided cycling tours

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Deep Sea/Sport Fishing

For the big game anglers, Dominica is an ideal location for Marlin, Wahoo and Tuna with its virgin fishing grounds, numerous banks and drop-offs and almost year-round 'good fishing' weather.We are ideally situated between the islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique to catch the migratory routes.

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Departure Taxes

Departure Taxes are as follows:

Dominica Residents EC$45.00
Non-CARICOM Residents (eg US citizens) EC$59.00

Rates are subject to change; please check before you depart!

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Diving

The diving off Dominica is as rich and varied as it topside attractions, from volcanic vents spewing bubbles and hot water, to submerged volcanic craters with dramatic vertical walls, and gently sloping shelves of coral and sponge.

For a full description of all Dominica's outstanding dive sites, click here

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Driving

We drive on the left! Visitors will need a Driving Permit which costs US$12 and is available from your car rental company.

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Electricity

The electricity system is 220-240 volts, 50 cycles. Power outlets are 3-prong English style. Some hotels have 110v, but you are advised to bring a small travel transformer if required.

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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.

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Geography

Dominica is located at 16N, 61W, in the middle of the chain of islands that make up the Eastern Caribbean.

The island is approximately 29 miles long, and 16 miles at its widest. It is the largest and most mountainous of the group of islands known as the Windward Islands, with an area of 289.5 sq. miles. The highest point is Morne Diablotin at 4,747ft.

With a rainfall that in places exceeds 300 inches a year, Dominica has some of the richest montaine rainforest in the Caribbean.

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Getting Here

Getting to Dominica, though sometimes a challenge, is well worth it! We have two airports: Douglas-Charles, formerly Melville Hall, (code: DOM) is the larger of the two and is approx 60 minutes from Roseau. Douglas-Charles Airport Tel. 1 (767) 455-7107. Canefield (DCF) is smaller but is just 15 minutes from Roseau.

The main airlines serving Dominica include LIAT, BVI Airways, Seaborne Airlines, Winair and Hummingbird Air.

International flights from Europe and the US fly into the major hubs in the region, with connecting flights to Dominica. Regional hubs include Antigua, San Juan, St. Lucia, St Martin, Tortola and Barbados.

The neighbouring French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe are also convenient hubs for flights from Europe to Dominica.

Additionally, there is a ferry service operating on a regular basis to Dominica. Please note that the ferry service is suspended for maintenance for about one month every year.

Visit our Travel Section for further details on how to get to Dominica.

Or try the Flight Maps Tool from the Discover Dominica Authority.

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Getting Married

Dominica has recently changed its laws to allow visitors to get married here after just two days on the island.

You will need documentation as to your status (such as a divorce decree), as well as other documents.

For more information visit our Getting Married in Dominica page.

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Golf

There are presently no golf courses on the island besides a miniature one.

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History

Columbus sighted the island on Sunday, November 3, 1493, but the island had been inhabited by Caribs from around 1000 AD, giving the island the name Waitukubuli which meant 'Tall is her body'.

The British fought the French over control of the island several times in the 1700s before gaining control in the early 1800s.

Independence from Britain came in 1978. Click here for a detailed timeline of our history.

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Language

English is the official language, but a French-based Creole (also known as Patois) is widely spoken, especially in outlying villages.

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Public Transport

Mini-buses (look for the number plate that starts with an 'H') serve routes from Roseau to all of our villages and are a cheap way to get around the island. Prices are fixed by the government.

Sample fares:

Roseau to Scott's Head: EC$4.00
Roseau to Trafalgar: EC$2.75
Roseau to Portsmouth: EC$8.00
Roseau to Canefield: EC$2.00

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Site Fees

A number of attractions in Dominica require visitors to pay a small fee. Click here for full details.

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Snorkelling

You don't have to dive to enjoy the beauty of Dominica's underwater paradise! There are so many places just off the coast where you can snorkel in crystal clear waters and see so much. This is especially true off Dominica's West and South West coasts. Champagne (about 3 miles south of Roseau) for example is an amazing spot, with underwater thermal springs rising to the surface just a few feet offshore.

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Sunset/sunrise

Just 15 degrees north of the equator, Dominica enjoys a tropical climate, and a sunset and sunrise that varies by little more than a hour in the year. Around December, sunset is about 5:30pm; in the summer it's about 6:30pm. Plan your hikes to arrive back before the swift dusk!

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Surfing

Although we've a long and rugged Atlantic coastline, surfing is limited there. The north-east coast around Calibishie has been used for surfing. East coast - surf city?

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Taxes

There is a 15% Value Added Tax (10% on accommodation).

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Telecommunications

Dominica has a fully digital telephone system, and indeed was the first country in the world to operate one in 1987. Presently, there are companies providing land-lines are Cable & Wireless, Marpin Telecoms and Orange.

Presently, three companies provide cellular services: C&W, Cingular/AT&T and Orange.

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Tipping

Tipping is generally on a discretionary basis; many hotels and restaurants will add a 10% service charge.

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Walking in Dominica

"There is only one way to understand Dominica. You have to walk across it and along it." Indeed, there is no better way to see the island than to experience one of the many excellent walks, more often than not though our verdant rainforest. Many of the Attractions detailed on this site allow you to do just that. For the more difficult ones a guide is recommended. More...

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Weather

Average temperatures range from 75f to 85f. Our dry season is usually from Jan-May, with the rainy season from July to October. Expect cooler nights in the higher elevations...and light showers at any time! Click for Canefield, Dominica Forecast
Current weather

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Whale Watching

Whales are present off Dominica's coast all year round. Dominica has become known as the "Whale Watching Capital of the Caribbean" and boasts a 90% success rate in spotting whales or dolphins during a whale watching excursion. There are resident pods of sperm whales. The peak season for seeing whales is between November to June. Visit our Whale Watching Section for more information.

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Wildlife

Besides our unique parrots (see Bird-watching) and our marine mammals (see Whale-watching), Dominica is famous for our Crapaud ('Mountain Chicken') which is a large frog (the crapaud is currently endangered, more info can be found here).

Other wildlife of note includes lizards, 13 species of bat, 55 of butterfly, boa constrictors that grow nearly 10ft (3m) in length and four other types of snakes. There are however no poisonous snakes or spiders!

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