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  • Overview

    Dominica was once one of the British Windward Islands, situatedbetween Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean. Tourism hasrecently exploded on the island, which is increasingly popular as astop for cruise ships, particularly since it became the setting forthe hit movie franchise Pirates of the Caribbean. Touristsshouldn't visit for the typical Caribbean sandy beaches, though, asthe coastline is rugged and dramatic, with steep cliffs plunginginto the sea. Nature has indeed traded white-sandy beaches forother treasures on this volcanic island, such as thick forests,gushing rivers and magnificent waterfalls. Offshore there is awondrous world for scuba divers, with diverse sloping reefs,pinnacles, walls and underwater hot springs to explore.

    Many of those who come ashore from cruise liners have only a dayto take in the delights of Dominica, which is certainly not enoughfor all the activities and excursions on offer. Travellers can headto the fascinating 'Boiling Lake' in the Morne Trois PitonsNational Park, tube down the Layou River, or snorkel among thetropical fish at 'Champagne' (where volcanic fissures make thewater bubble). They can also hike through the forest, plunge intothe green depths of the Emerald Pool, ride an aerial tram throughthe rain forest canopy, or watch a live folklore show.

    This unspoilt tropical paradise does not offer luxury resortsand high-rise hotels, but is rather designed for those who want totake a break and relax in cliff-top villas, small mountain spas,guesthouses and apartments. At the same time, the island isequipped with all the modern conveniences, including goodcommunications infrastructure, banks and numerous restaurants,usually run by local families, in which to sample the deliciouslocal West Indian cuisine. Those brave enough might like to tuckinto traditional favourites like stewed opossum, or 'mountainchicken' (which is actually a large frog), which can be washed downwith some hearty coconut rum punch.

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    Dominica's tropical climate means there is plenty of sunshine,humidity and heat all year round; the island has an averageyear-round temperature of 81°F (27°C) and the seasons are not verydistinct, with little temperature variation. Hot days areinterspersed with an abundance of frequent rain showers. The rainis not all bad though, dampening the often intense heat andnourishing the island's extensive rainforest. It is drier on thecoast. The island is very susceptible to tropical storms andhurricanes, usually between June and November.

    The jury is out on the best time to visit Dominica: some say thebest months are February and May, which are safely out of thehurricane season and experience less rain, but can be very hot andhumid; others insist that despite the dangers of hurricanes thebest time to holiday in Dominica is between October and December,when the days are slightly cooler and less humid (and it ischeaper). It seems that to accommodate both opinions, a Decemberholiday may be ideal. Essentially, Dominica is a year-round holidaydestination but most would prefer to avoid the risky hurricaneseason.

    Douglas-Charles Airport
    Location: The airport is situated two miles (3km) north west ofMarigot on the north-east coast of the island about one hours’drive from the capital, Roseau, and about an hour from the secondlargest city, Portsmouth.
    Time: GMT -4.
    Getting to the city: Taxis are available. The fare for a shared taxi from the airportto Roseau is EC$80. A hired taxi costs about EC$200.
    Car Rental: Car rentals should be booked in advance for airport pick-up.
    Airport Taxis: A shared taxi from the airport to Roseau costs about EC$80.Travellers will pay around EC$200 for a hired taxi.
    Money:

    The official currency of Dominica is the East Caribbean Dollar(XCD), which is fixed to the US Dollar. US Dollars, the Euro andthe British Pound are also commonly accepted on the island, butchange is usually given in EC Dollars. Money can be exchanged atmajor hotels and banks. Banks open from 8am to 2pm Monday toThursday, and 8am to 4pm on Friday. Major credit cards are acceptedby most businesses, except small vendors. There are several ATMsattached to banks in the capital, Roseau, which dispense ECDollars.

    Language:

    English is the official language. The local people speaka Creole patois.

    Electricity:

    Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. The UnitedKingdom style plug with three flat pins is used. Round three-pinplugs are also used.

    Entry Requirements:

    US citizens require a passport valid upon arrival in Dominica.No visa is required for a USA tourists for up to six months.

    British citizens require a passport valid upon arrival inDominica. No visa is required for a stay of up to six months forBritish passport holders.

    Canadian citizens require a passport valid upon arrival inDominica. No visa is required for up to six months.

    Australian citizens require a passport valid upon arrival inDominica. No visa is required for up to six months.

    South African citizens require a passport valid upon arrival inDominica. No visa is required for stays of up to six months.

    Irish citizens require a passport valid upon arrival inDominica. No visa is required for a stay of up to six months.

    US citizens require a passport valid upon arrival in Dominica.No visa is required for a USA tourists for up to six months.

    New Zealand citizens require a passport valid upon arrival inDominica. No visa is required for a stay of up to six months.

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

    All visitors require a return or onward ticket, entry documentsfor their next destination, and sufficient funds to cover theirstay in Dominica. As part of the Western Hemisphere TravelInitiative (WHTI), all travellers going between the United Statesand Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean region are requiredto present a passport or other valid travel document to enter orre-enter the United States. If departing from the USA, a validpassport will be required by immigration authorities. A yellowfever vaccination certificate is required, if arriving in Dominicawithin six days of leaving or transiting through an infected area.It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six monthsvalidity remaining after your intended date of departure from yourtravel destination. Immigration officials often apply differentrules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

    Travel Health:

    Hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccinations are recommended forvisitors to Dominica, and a yellow fever vaccination is compulsoryfor entry if visitors are coming from an infected area. For thosetravellers who will be eating and drinking outside of hotels andrestaurants, a typhoid vaccination should be considered. Denguefever is on the increase and visitors should take precautionsagainst mosquito bites. There is a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS.Medical facilities on the island are limited, so health insurancewith evacuation cover is recommended. There is no decompressionchamber in Dominica, meaning that scuba divers with decompressionillness will need to be treated elsewhere. It is advisable to bringany personal medications you may need with you; make sure you haveall the necessary documents from your doctor to get the medicationthrough customs. Food and drinks are safe to consume in hotels andrestaurants, but it is preferable to drink bottled water.

    Tipping:

    A 10 percent service charge is usually added by hotels andrestaurants but, if it has not been added, a discretionary tip ofbetween 10 to 15 percent is acceptable for good service. Taxidrivers do not expect tips.

    Safety Information:

    Visits to Dominica are usually trouble-free. There are someinstances of petty theft, so it is wise to take sensibleprecautions with money and valuables.

    Local Customs:

    The friendly islanders appreciate having their smiles andgreetings returned, and prefer to have revealing outfits confinedto the beach or poolside. Nudity on beaches is not acceptable, andnor is haggling at the markets. It is an offence to wear camouflageclothing.

    Business:

    Business dress is smart, and meetings are formal. Office hoursare Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm with a lunch break between 1pm and2pm.

    Communications:

    The international access code for Dominica is +1, in common withthe US, Canada and most of the Caribbean, followed by 767.Telephone services are excellent and Wifi is available at somehotels. The main post office is in Roseau.

    Duty Free:

    Items that may be brought into Dominica without incurringcustoms duty are 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars, and 2 litres ofalcohol. Any other goods or appliances for personal use areallowed.

    Useful Contacts:

    Division of Tourism, Roseau: +1 767 448 2045 orwww.dominica.dm

    Dominica Embassies:

    Embassy of Dominica, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 3646781.

    High Commission of Dominica, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 73705194.

    High Commission of Dominica, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 2368952.

    Foreign Embassies in Dominica :

    United States Embassy, Bridgetown, Barbados (also responsiblefor Dominica): +1 246 227 4000.

    British Consulate, Roseau, Dominica: +1 767 275 7800.

    Canadian Embassy, Bridgetown, Barbados (also responsible forDominica): +1 246 629 3550.

    South African High Commission, Kingston, Jamaica (alsoresponsible for Dominica): +1 876 620 4840.

    Australian Embassy, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (alsoresponsible for Dominica): +1 868 822 5450.

    Dominica Emergency Numbers : Emergencies: 999 (police and ambulance).
    Dominica