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Dominica Travel Tips: Hotels, Attractions, Weather

Fort Shirley; credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license
Fort Shirley; credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

Dominica isn’t exactly a popular Caribbean island for beach vacations. But it does have appeal to a certain kind of tourist.

One of the rainiest islands in the Caribbean is known for rainforests, waterfalls, hiking, snorkeling and scuba diving. It’s a major ecotourism destination for adventurous travelers.

Otherwise, Dominica is much more a destination for cruises rather than than a longer stopover visit for multiple nights. The island is ranked 19th in total visits, 13th in cruise visits and 25th in overnight vacation visits, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

Where is Dominica?

Dominica is in the eastern Caribbean between Guadeloupe to the north and Martinique to the south. It is commonly a stop on eastern and some southern Caribbean cruises.

Hotel and Resort Tips

Hotel and resort visitors fly into either Douglas-Charles Airport on the northeast coast of the island or the regional Cane Field airport if they fly in from nearby islands. Douglas-Charles is an hour away from the capital city of Roseau on the southwest coast of the island. Cane Field is about four miles north of Roseau.

Most of the hotels line the western coast of the island near Roseau with a few more on the northern coast. Nearly all of the hotels and resorts are local. The island has no major chains.

Dominica has only a few higher end resorts. The rest are small hotels, cottages, lodges and temporary apartments. Prices between $100 and $200 a night are common. Some are even less than $100 a night.

The high season for hotels and resorts is December through April. Prices reach their highest point of the year. They drop during the value season in the summer and fall when the risk of rain is highest. Prices may drop as much as 20 percent or more.

Dominica Attractions

Trafalgar Falls Dominica
Trafalgar Falls, Dominica. © Discover Dominica Authority

Dominica is promoting itself as an ecotourism vacation and with good reason. It is one of the better hiking experiences in the Caribbean because of rain forests, mountains and waterfalls.

Waterfalls include Trafalgar Falls, Emerald Pool, Victoria Falls, Sari Sari Falls, Middleham Falls. A common price for transportation and guide to major waterfalls is about $65.

Another interesting hike is a three-hour one to Boiling Lake, the world’s largest boiling lake formed by heated gases that escape from molten lava underneath the lake. A typical price for a guided hike there is about $135.

Getting Around

Taxis are available at the airports and in Roseau, and can be arranged all over the island. They are easily identified by the letters H, HA or HB preceding the registration numbers on the number plates. There are standard fees from the city to both airports.

Douglas-Charles Airport is the main facility for air travel. Taxes are available both there and in Roseau. Visitors can identify taxis by the letters H, HA or HB before the registration numbers on the license plates. Taxis have standard fees from the city to the airport and vice versa. The fare from Douglas-Charles Airport to Roseau is about $26 U.S.

Car rental agencies are available in both the city and airports, but visitors must buy a driver’s license for $12 U.S.

Bus service consists mainly of private minibus companies. Bus fares are standardized like taxi fares based on the route.

Tourism / When to Go

U.S. and Canadian stopover tourists require passports and return tickets on their arrival at the island. Cruise visitors need their ship IDs when leaving and returning to the ship.

The most popular months are July and October; the least popular are September followed by a near tie among January, March and June.

March is actually one of the best months to visit for weather. October is one of the worst months.

Dominica Weather

Dominica monthly rainfall
© 2021 Scott S. Bateman

Average daytime temperature is about 81 degrees Fahrenheit and ranges from 82 degrees in January to about 87 in the summer months.

The climate is tropical and moderated by northeast trade winds. The island has some of the heaviest rainfall in the Caribbean.

Annual rainfall is about 70 inches on the coast and much higher in the interior, which makes the island high in lush tropical rainforest.

Dominica has some of the highest rainfall among all destinations in the Caribbean. The highest amount of rainfall is in September through November when the island averages about 12 inches each month. It also averages about 10 inches in May and December.

The lightest rainfall usually takes place from January through April, which is the peak season for cruise visitors.

Currency / Tipping

Currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, but we easily made purchases with U.S. currency. Major credit cards are widely accepted.

Tipping should follow the Caribbean standard of 10-15 percent for less developed islands.

Stopover visitors will pay a $55 departure tax (Eastern Caribbean Dollars or about $21 U.S. dollars) when leaving the island.

Culture / Geography

The economy is driven by agriculture. Tourism is growing, but short-term cruise visits drive less money into the economy than long-term stopovers. The official language is English.

The terrain is lush with volcanic mountains including Morne Diablotins at about one mile high. Total size is about 469 square miles.

Sources / More information
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
July 31, 2023

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