Dominica

Dominica: When to Go

The main tourist season is November to June, with December being the best for sunshine, and July the hottest month. August to November is the hurricane and rainy season.

HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS



The most widely observed holidays and festivals in Dominica are:

New Year's Day: 1 January
Merchant's Day: 2 January
Carnival: February/March (the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday). One of the biggest events of the year with street parades and calypso music.
Good Friday and Easter: April
Labour Day: first Monday in May
Whit Monday: later in May
Emancipation Day first Monday in August
Carib Week: September - a celebration of the history of Dominica
Creole day: 27 October - children's parade, everyone wears national costume
Creole Music Festival: 27-29 October - international bands and visitors from all over the Caribbean
Independence Day: 3 November - government speeches and parades
Christmas and Boxing Day: 25 and 26 December

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TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

Getting There

Note: flight, boat, train and bus timetables change constantly, and airlines come and go, so please do not rely solely on this information for your travel planning. Check with relevant companies, or a flight search engine like Skyscanner, first.

FROM THE UK:

There are no direct international long haul flights to Dominica. You can fly direct to Antigua, St Lucia, Barbados, Guadeloupe or San Juan in Puerto Rica and then take a local flight to Dominica.

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic fly to Barbados, Antigua and St Lucia - both from London Gatwick.

For charter seats you could contact CaribJet who can also book onward flights.

FROM EUROPE

If you're flying from France you can fly direct to the French islands of Martinique or Guadeloupe with Air France and then take a local flight or the ferry / catamaran to Dominica. Both Express des Iles have a scheduled service taking 90 minutes, though it can be rough.

FROM NORTH AMERICA:

Flights will involve at least one stop. American Eagle (part of American Airlines) flies between San Juan in Puerto Rico and Dominica's Melville Hall airport, and between San Juan and Chicago, Dallas Fort Worth, Miami and New York.

LOCAL FLIGHTS:

LIAT offer flights to neighbouring islands, including daily connections to Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados.

Arrivals: Melville Hall Airport is the main airport which lies 40 miles northeast of the capital, Roseau. As you have to drive over a mountain and through the island's Central Forest Reserve to get to the capital, the journey by road takes over 1 hour and can be quite a nerve-wracking. Taxis are available at the airport but your best bet is to arrange a transfer via your hotel as shared rides are less expensive at $20, compared to $50.

The lesser used Canefield Airport is just a few miles north of Roseau and about 10 minutes by car.

Getting Around

Car Hire:

You can hire a car, either at the airport, Roseau, Portsmouth or at your hotel. Jeeps are more expensive. Driving is on the left and there is a 20 mph speed limit in towns. A local driving permit is required, costing US$11 (in 2009), is valid for 1 month and available through the car hire companies. You must have a current home or international license, be 25 or over and have two years driving experience. While the main road around the coast is OK the dirt tracks heading into the interior get very slippery. For excursions you are probably better off hiring a taxi and a guide for the day.

However, if you still want to hire a vehicle, see our car rental recommendations.

Taxi: There is an official taxi stand just outside the airport. Taxis can also be called from any hotel or hailed on the road. Fares are set by the government and cost US$25 upwards. You can hire a taxi for the day from approximately US$50.

Bus travel: Be prepared for the slowness of travel by bus. The mini buses are clean, but cramped and are a good way to get short distances. You can hail one and ask the driver to stop where you want to get off. They look like white vans, and have the letter H as the first letter of their number plate. Buses run between 6 am and 8 pm but not on public holidays and cost EC$3. The main terminal in Roseau is by the marketplace.

Visa / Entry Requirements

Passports are required from all visitors, as well as onward and/or return tickets. Visas are not required unless coming from a communist country.

Other Essentials

No vaccinations are required for entry into Dominica unless coming from a Yellow Fever infected area. Tetanus and Polio should be up to date. Tap water is normally chlorinated, although bottled water is usually preferred by tourists. Food products are generally safe.

Need more Info

In the UK contact:
Dominica Tourist Information Office
Mitre House
66 Abbey Road
Bush Hill Park
Middlesex, EN1 2QE
tel.: 020 8350 1000

In the USA contact:
Dominica Tourist Office
10 E. 21st Street
Suite 600
New York NY 10010
tel: 212 475 7542

Official government tourism site Dominica