Dominica, officially the Commonwealth of Dominica, is one of the many pristine Caribbean island nations. Also known as “Nature Island,” Dominica is known as the most environmentally sustainable island in the Caribbean. In fact, it is one of the “greenest” islands on the planet. The best time to visit this tropical islands is in the dry spring months. If you visit in the late summer, you can expect to get drenched. Dominica is less touristed than other islands in the region, which is perfect if you’re looking for a quiet vacation destination. As the filming destination of two of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, I suspect more tourists will soon find their way to Dominica.
English is the official language of Dominica, but a large group also speaks Kwéyòl, which is based primarily on French and Carib vocabularies and a syntax burrowed from a variety of West African indigenous languages.
The official currency of Dominica is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar. U.S. Dollars, Pounds and Euros are accepted everywhere, but you may receive your change in ECs. Visa, Mastercard, American Express and travelers checks are widely accepted at tourist locations. To find out about the conversion rates, visit our currency converter.
Accommodations range from rain forest lodges to ocean front villas in Dominica, but don’t look for the large chain hotels. Budget places and guest houses are available for those of us who don’t have a large bank roll, starting in the $22 a night range. Hotels begin at around $80 per night.
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Food and Drinks
Spicy Creole food is the mainstay of island cuisine. If Creole is not to your liking, rest assured you will be able to find Continental food on most restaurant menus.
Carnival is the big shebang on Dominica, with dates varying from year to year. Otherwise, plan on the island celebrating standard Christian religious holidays. Independence day is celebrated on November 3.
Getting There & Around
Dominica has two airports, including Canefield Airport and Melville Hall Airport, neither of which can accommodate large commercial aircraft. International flights from U.S. and Europe must connect through Antigua, Barbados, St. Maarten, Guadeloupe or Martinique. Leeward Island Air Transport (LIAT) takes care of the connection from these hubs. In addition, American Eagle provides connecting flights from Puerto Rico.
Carnival Cruise Lines and Princess Cruise Lines both make stops on the island. Check for cruise itineraries that include Dominica. The cruises dock at Roseau.
Taxis and rental cars are popular ways to get around the island. If you want to minimize your environmental impact on this “green” island, public transportation is widely available in the form of shared mini-buses. You don’t have to rent a gas guzzling SUV if you don’t want to.
Dominica’s electrical services use 220/240 volts. U.S. appliances will require a converter. Some hotels offer outlets for 110 appliances. Check with your hotel in advance.
Things to Do
Nature is the big draw on this jewel of an island. Diving is a popular draw on the island, with dramatic underwater topography and a healthy reef system. Visiting the island’s World Heritage Site at Morne Trois Pitons National Park is a must, where you can visit the second largest boiling lake in the world, boiling mud pots. With miles of trails, this is a great destination for hikers. After trekking through the rain forest, you’ll be rewarded with views of perfect waterfalls and vistas. Unlike most Caribbean destinations, there are trails available for hikers of all skill levels. Sea turtles can be found nesting on the shores of Dominica. Look for Loggerheads, Hawksbills, Green Sea Turtles and Leatherbacks during the nesting and hatching seasons. Please be responsible when viewing the turtles and avoid using flashlights or other lights in the nesting areas. Canyoning is an adventure in any location, and stellar way for more active travelers to spend their time. For the lazy, spas and wellness centers are available as well. Wildlife abounds around the island, and you may even have the chance to glimpse the whales and dolphins who make their home off shore.