Dominica is the Caribbean for adventurers: lush, unspoiled and full of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Consider traveling to Dominica if you’re the type who gets bored at the beach and wants a variety of rugged hiking, scuba diving and snorkeling to keep yourself occupied. Don’t come here looking for casinos, white-sand beaches, massive resorts — or even paved roads.
Dominica Basic Travel Information
Location:Between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, and between Guadeloupe and Martinique
Size: 291 square miles. See Map
Language: English (official) and French patois
Religions: Mostly Roman Catholic with some Protestant
Currency: Eastern Caribbean dollar, which trades at a fixed rate of about 2.68 to the U.S. dollar
Area Code: 767
Tipping: Usually 10 to 15 percent
Weather: Temperatures average between 70 and 85 degrees. February to May is the best time to visit, with not too much rain and temperature in the upper 80s and low 90s. The hurricane season runs June to November.
Airport: Melville Hall Airport (Check Flights)
Dominica Activities and Attractions
If you’re a hiker, you won’t run out of trails on Dominica, whether you’re trekking to Boiling Lake, the second-largest thermally active lake in the world; hiking through the rainforest in Morne Trois Pitons National Park; or taking an easy stroll to see Trafalgar Falls or Emerald Pool. Scuba divers and snorkelers should check out Cabrits National Park on the northwestern coast, about 75 percent of which is underwater. The Carib Indian Reservation in the northeast is home to some of the last remaining members of the Carib Indian tribe, who once lived throughout the Caribbean.
This is not the place to come if you’re a beach lover. Many of the beaches here are rocky and lack shade. Some of the best of the bunch are Hampstead Beach, which has black sand and is accessible only via four-wheel drive; and Pointe Baptiste and Woodford Hill beaches in the northeast, both with white sand. Picard Beach, with its unusual gray sand, is good for windsurfing and conveniently located near restaurants and hotels on the northwestern coast.
Dominica Hotels and Resorts
Although you won’t find the large resorts and all-inclusives that you do elsewhere in the Caribbean, you will find several styles of accommodation in Dominica, ranging from hotels such as the Rosalie Bay Resort (Book Now) to guest houses and cottages. Some overlook the ocean, like the Jungle Bay Resort & Spa; others, like Papillote Wilderness Retreat, are surrounded by rainforest. Prices tend to be somewhat lower than elsewhere in the Caribbean.
Dominica Restaurants and Cuisine
Although much of the meat and (surprisingly) the seafood in Dominica is imported, there’s no shortage of fresh fruits and vegetables. Restaurants serve a variety of continental and Caribbean dishes. La Robe Creole in Roseau is a favorite for its West Indian specialties.
- More Information on Dominica Dining
Dominica Culture and History
When Columbus discovered Dominica in 1493 it was inhabited by the Carib tribe. By the time the British and French started battling for the island in the 1600s the Caribs' grip had begun to slip. The island gained independence in 1978. For the past decade or so, the government has been investing in tourism to help replace the banana trade. The mingling of the four cultures that settled Dominica—Carib, British, African, and French—created a Creole culture that influences the island’s food, music, and language.
Dominica Events and Festivals
- Top Dominica Events and Festivals
The Dominica nightlife is fairly tame, but fun options include the Thursday night barbecue at the Anchorage Hotel with live music, and dancing at The Warehouse, a five-minute drive from Roseau.