The Caribbean Island Of Dominica
Dominica (pronounced Dom-in-eek-a) sits midway along the Eastern
Caribbean archipelago, just a few miles from Martinique to the south and Guadeloupe to the
north. Its location is 15 degrees North latitude and 61 degrees West longitude.
The island's official name is the Commonwealth of Dominica, which is mostly referenced in official
communiqué and to distinguish the island from its northerly Caribbean sister, the Dominican
Republic. The indigenous Carib Indians named the island Waitukubuli which means "tall is her
body" in the carib language.
The island is sparsely populated with around 70,000 people inhabiting its 289.5 square miles. A
significant portion of the population lives in and around the capital city, Roseau. Dominica is an
arcadia of unspoiled nature. Tropical forest coats two thirds of the island, which nourishes 1,200
plant species. Rivers, lakes, streams, and waterfalls abound, fed by the islands high annual
rainfall. Its volcanic physique points to extensive geothermal activity above and below sea
Dominica's Morne Trois Pitons National Park was the
first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the eastern Caribbean.Dominica's History
The island is one of only a couple in the Caribbean still with populations of the pre-Columbian
Carib Indians. About 80% of the population is Roman Catholic. English is the official
language, spoken with a melodic French lilt, but a large portion of the population speaks Kwèyòl
(Creole), with a few northern villages speaking Kokoy.
As an island, Dominica is in relative puberty. It is only 26 million years old and is still
evolving with continuous geothermal activity. It is one of the youngest islands in the Caribbean
chain, formed by the shift of two tectonic plates.
After the Ortoroids vanquished, the Arawaks came. Thereafter, the Caribs arrived and wiped them
out; but when Columbus introduced colonization to Dominica in 1493, the same fate that befell the
Arawaks was threatening the Caribs.
Ignoring Waitukubuli, the Carib name for the island, the Spanish explorer renamed it Dominica
because he landed on a Sunday. By the time the British and French had begun the battles for
the island in the 1600s the Caribs' grip on the island had already begun to slide. They fought
valiantly to keep it, and temporarily did so successfully, but the gunpowder assaults eventually
drove them into the hills.
The British and French fought repeatedly for control of Dominica.
The island eventually escaped colonial fangs on November 3rd 1978, when it gained independence.
Its embryonic independence era brought increased challenges, none the least was the complication of
its political struggles. By the mid-1980s though, Dominica had settled down as a stable and
peaceful country. The success of the banana trade, which was the island's major export, brought
economic buoyancy to the island. Starting in 1992 however, Dominica saw sharp declines in banana
export earnings with the loss of its preferential access on the UK market.
Today, the Government of Dominica is investing heavily in tourism as the sector to drive the
island's economic development.
In 1802, the 8th West India regiment revolts at the Cabrits and takes over the garrison for three
days before being defeated and disbanded by Governor Cochrane.
Dominica's Culture &
Dominica's rich culture comes from its mix of English, French,
African, and Carib peoples. This is evident in Dominica's food, music, dance, language, and
World Creole Music Festival
establishes its place as a centre of World Creole Music and Culture every year in October.
History of Dominica
The indigenous people of the Caribbean still live
No time better represents Dominica's culture than the month-long events leading up to Independence
Day on November 3
Dominica's Creole architecture displays a unique mix of French, English and Caribbean styles.
Experience Dominica's Carnival-
Two Days of 'Jumping Up ' and celebrating.
Hiking & Adventure
For the Adventurer, there
are more attractions than points on a compass. Every day is an excursion to new heights.
Culture, Heritage & Festivals
Meet the last indigenous tribe in the Caribbean; Join Dominica's Carnival & Festivals
Diving & Watersports
river tubing & kayaking to spectacular diving & whale watching.
Whale & Dolphin Watching
known as the Whale Watching Capital of the Caribbean.
A unique & exciting way to explore the hidden depths of Dominica's natural wonders.
Things to do in
Creole food is Dominica's specialty - fresh tropical fruits & vegetables, local fish, island
herbs & spices.
Flora & Fauna
Dominica's natural beauty springs from its rich & varied vegetation.
Those who love to bask in fresh water can bathe in one of the island's 365 rivers, wallow in the
Emerald Pool, or frolic at the Trafalgar, Victoria, Sari Sari, or Middleham Falls.
Sea lovers can snorkel or scuba dive along several reefs of the one of the world's top marine
destination, or take a Whale Watching excursion just off the island's coast.
Visitors with a geological interest can hike to the Boiling Lake, the Cold Soufriere, or the
Soufriere and Watten Waven Sulphur Springs.
Those who prefer jungle adventures can hover above the rainforest on the 4,600 foot-long Aerial
Tram, ride horses or ATVs in the forest, discover the Boeri and Freshwater Lakes, bird-watch
at Syndicate, or trek across the island's interior.
For visitors interested in cultural anthropology, a tour of Fort Shirley at the Cabrits National
Park or the Kalinago Barana Autê at the Carib Territory is a fascinating experience. The historic
architecture surrounding the Old Market in Roseau, including the Dominica Museum also reveals
poignant information of the island's history. There are several tour operators on the island who
can arrange a specific tour to match the visitor's interest.
Climate: Daytime temperatures vary
between 75 & 90 degrees F. Temperataures may drop in the evenings and at higher altitudes.
Coolest months are December to March.
available-Local. Gourmet. International. Fast food. Tipping is at the discretion
of clients. Dress code is casual.
Language: English is the official
language. Creole or French based patois is spoken by many.
Night life: Entertainment includes -
Discos. Occasional Dinner/Dances. Occasional Theater. Occassional village feasts
and cultural fesitvals. Live Music.
Getting Married In Dominica
If You want to make your wedding a day
that you will always remember and your honeymoon a vacation that you will never forget. The
Caribbean Island of Dominica, will make all your dreams come true.
You can make that promise to spend your lives together, or renew your vows, in a forest, at a
historic site, or to the sound of waves gently lapping on the beach. Some couples have have know
to married underwater, complete with aquatic wedding outfits and scuba-diving gear.
Whatever your choice of ceremony, Dominica's natural sense of fun and love for lovers
will help your celebration to go with a relaxed swing, against a backdrop of the most romantic
location in the world.
Dominica Marriage License Laws: Statutory declaration on marital status
1. obtained in Dominica in a lawyer’s presence
2. Waiting period: 2 days before intended wedding date
3.The completed application form, obtainable from the Ministry of Community Development, Government
Headquarters, must be presented to the registrar at the time of the marriage ceremony
4. Dominica Marriage License Fee: US $110 for a marriage license; US $184 legal fees for the
statutory declaration on marital status (inclusive of affidavit)
5. Marriages performed within the registrar’s office is an additional US $11; Outside the
registrar’s office is an additional US $48 plus transportation; and a church wedding is an
additional US $40-$60
6. Identification Needed for a Dominica Marriage License : Birth certificate and proof of
7. In the case of a divorced couple, a certified copy of the decree absolute (divorce decree)
must be presented
8. A widow or widower must present the death certificate of a deceased spouse
9. Two witnesses present at the ceremony
Travel To Dominica
Travel by Air
Dominica has two airports:
the Canefield Airport and the Melville Hall Airport. The Canefield Airport, which is 15 minutes
from Roseau, is only 3,100ft long and accommodates small aircrafts offering intra-regional flights.
Although Melville Hall, which is one and a half hours from the city, is much bigger, it is not an
international airport. International flights from US and Europe are connected to the island through
hubs in Antigua, Barbados, St. Maarten, Guadeloupe and Martinique. Leeward Island Air Transport
(LIAT) usually completes the Dominican leg of these flights. LIAT and American Eagle also
provide connecting flights to the island out of Puerto Rico.
Travel by Sea
A 300-seat catamaran
operated by L'Express des Îles ferries passengers between Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique and St.
Lucia. Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors arrive on the island from Cruise Ships berthed
at the Bayfront, Woodbridge Bay, and Cabrits. Captains of Yachts and Sailboats can also anchor
their private yacht at any of the island's official ports, but they should check in with customs
and immigration on arrival.
Passport & Immigration
Immigration officials require most visitors to Dominica to present a valid passport on arrival. All
need to show a return ticket and some need to have a visa. Canadian citizens can show documents
certifying proof of citizenship that also bears a photograph, and French nationals can stay for up
to two weeks by presenting a valid identification card. Visitors coming from a specified list of
countries, who intend to stay for 21 days or less, do not require a visa. Click here for a list of
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.
There are a number of car rental agencies on the island offering vehicles for rent. But before you
get on the road, you will need to obtain a driver's license which cost $30 (US$12). You must be
between 25 and 65 years old, with two years' driving experience to qualify for a driver's permit.
Traffic use the left side of the road, most of which are well maintained.
Dominica has a reliable public transportation system consisting of primarily private minibus
operators. Bus stops can be found at designated points throughout the city depending on your
destination. The bus fares are standardized and ranges from EC$1.50 to EC$10.25 according the
specific route. Bus rotation is fairly frequent throughout the day, but this method of
transportation is not suitable for night travel.
English is the official
language of Dominica; however a large portion of the population speaks Kwéyòl, which is based
primarily on French and Carib vocabularies and a syntax burrowed from a variety of West African
indigenous languages. A few Northern villages use a distinctive English dialect called Kokoy.
The local currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$), everywhere on the island businesses
accept United States Dollars, British Pounds, and Euros.
Most tourism related
business, such as hotels, restaurants, tour operators, and car rental agencies accept Master Card,
Visa and American Express credit cards, including Traveller's Cheques.
Businesses open from 8:00
a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday with a lunch break from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Banking
hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. from Mondays to Thursdays and 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on
Fridays. On Saturdays, the banks are closed but merchants open their enterprises from 8:00 a.m. to
The following are a list of the banks found in Dominica:
• Dominica Agricultural Industrial & Development Bank
• The Bank of Nova Scotia
• The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank
• First Caribbean International Bank
• Griffon Bank
• National Bank of Dominica
• Royal Bank of Canada
Dominica has a modern and reliable telecommunications system. It is easy to find public phones in
the city and in most communities. Hotels offer International Direct Dialing from their rooms, and
there are three major mobile service providers on the island: Cable & Wireless, Digicel, and
Orange Cariabe. The island's area code is 767.
Dominica's electrical services use 220/240 volts. American appliances are quite popular, but their
users utilize transformers for voltage conversion. Many accommodations offer both outlets, but it
would be wise to receive confirmation from the specific establishment.
There are three public
hospitals on the island: the Marigot Hospital, the Portsmouth Hospital, and the premier Princess
Margaret Hospital. Intensive care units are available at the Portsmouth Hospital and the Princess
Margaret Hospital (PMH). The PMH also has a Hyperbaric Chamber. Several specialists and general
practitioners operate private clinics.
The emergency contact for the Police, Ambulance, and Fire Department is 999.
Dominica enjoys one of the lowest crime rates in the entire Caribbean; however visitors are
encouraged to practice common sense in their deportment and the protection of their property.
Dominica Time is 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-4), which is one hour ahead of Eastern
Standard Time and the same as eastern Daylight Time.
Visitors to Dominica should
expect plenty of sunshine interjected by intermittent rainfall. The island's annual temperature
averages at 27 C. Frequent rainfall cools the tropical heat, nourishes the island's extensive
rainforest, and feeds its rivers, lakes, and waterfalls. On the coast, average rainfall registers
1,780 mm, but in the interior that figure is triple.
Visitors will need to pay
an EC$55 departure tax when exiting the island.