Island of Dominica Practicalities
Dominica has two airports but these are both very small. When travelling from a long distance you will need to change at one of the other islands: Antigua, Barbados, St Lucia, St. Maarten, Guadeloupe, Martinique or Puerto Rico. Ferries go to Dominica from Guadeloupe, Martinique and St. Lucia
The local currency is Eastern Caribbean Dollars. US dollars are also widely accepted. The diving operators quote their prices in dollars. If you pay for your diving by credit card though, the company will convert their quoted dollar price to ECD and charge you in that. At the beginning of the holiday check your exchange rates (your currency to USD to ECD) and work out in which currency it is best to pay. There are cash point machines in Portsmouth and Roseau.
There is now a recompression chamber in Dominica at the Princess Margaret Hospital.
It rains a lot in Dominica. Every day. It is wettest though from July to November. The best time to go is between January and May when the rain showers are short and followed by sunshine.
Buses run up and down Dominica, but cease operating at 6 pm. If you plan on seeing something of the island we'd recommend you hire a car. Road Runner Rental are cheap and provide a mobile phone for you to use. E-mail: [email protected]. Other companies include Rhino Car Hire, Best Deal Rent-a-Car, Budget, Island Car Rentals and Valley Car Rentals
There is a post office in Roseau and Portsmouth from where you can buy stamps and post postcards. Dominica has no post boxes and the post offices are closed on Saturday.
The tap water is generally safe to drink. Meals and food are often expensive. "Chefs" in Roseau is one of the cheapest places to eat and serves very good food. In Portsmouth the "Shacks" - the street stalls next to the Ross Medical School - are good value. There are plenty of restaurants and snack bars around the island and we didn't have a bad meal whilst we were there.
Dominica is a very safe place, but there have been problems reported in the South near Scotts Head. Don't leave your belongings unattended here.
Dominica is volcanic. It has hot springs and boiling pools. Take walking boots or strong shoes with you and visit the forests, waterfalls and sulphur springs. The most extreme walk is up to the Boiling Lake. You need a guide for this and it takes around six hours. Take a packed lunch and don't try it in flip-flops. Pack waterproofs as you will need them.
A less strenuous excursion is the Indian River. Here a Rastafarian guide rows you up a river telling you about the flora you are seeing on the way. The price is fixed by the government.
If you can tear yourself away from the diving its worth staying at one of the Rainforest resorts such as Shangri-La. This costs 200 EC dollars per person. For this you get a very nicely constructed bamboo hut complete with balcony and hammock in a spectacular location that is a World Heritage site. Relax in hot spring baths - a natural sauna, and see boiling ponds with clouds of steam.
Cricket. Dominica hosts some first class matches featuring the Windward Islands. A great atmosphere.
Please send us your comments on Dominica: dive sites, dive operators, the island, etc.