Bargaining

Prices in shops are fixed, but it may be possible to get a small discount at markets and from souvenir vendors.

Dangers & Annoyances

Most visits to Dominica are trouble-free. Basically, take the same common-sense precautions you would at home.

  • The greatest dangers visitors face is on the road, including poor or complete lack of signage, narrow roads with massive potholes, deep drainage channels and erratic local driving practices. Be extra careful at night.
  • Muggings and theft are possibilities, so guard your valuables and travel documents.
  • Through rare, there have been incidents of violent crimes. Women especially should avoid putting themselves in potentially dangerous situations, such as hiking or going to isolated beaches on their own.

Natural Dangers & Annoyances

  • Dominica does present a risk of transmission with the Zika and Chikungunya viruses through mosquito bites, so protect yourself with a good insect repellent containing at least 25% DEET at all times.
  • The hurricane season runs from June to November.

Electricity

220/240V, 50/60 cycles; North American two-pin sockets. Some accommodations have dual 220/110 voltage.

Embassies & Consulates

The nearest US embassy is in Bridgetown, Barbados.

UK Honorary Consulate

Emergency & Important Numbers

Fire, Police & Ambulance999

Entry & Exit Formalities

Customs Regulations

Aside from personal effects, visitors aged 18 and older are permitted to bring 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars, plus 1L of wine or spirits into Dominica without paying duty.

Passports

Visitors to Dominica must have a valid passport and a round-trip or onward ticket, although officials rarely ask to see the latter. French nationals may visit for up to two weeks with an official Carte d’Identité.

Visas

Not required for citizens of the US, Commonwealth countries and most EU countries for tourist stays under three months.

Etiquette

  • Greetings Greet people when entering a shop or business – if not expect slow service or being ignored.
  • Enquiries Rushing into a request is considered rude. Better start out with a little chitchat.
  • Swimwear Don't wear beach attire when walking around town.
  • Photography Don't take photographs of people without asking their permission first.

LGBT Travellers

Consensual same-sex sexual activity is still on the books as being illegal for both men and women and punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Even though the law is not enforced, it’s worth remembering that Dominica is a socially conservative and deeply religious country. To avoid offense or confrontation, discretion is advised – stay clear of public displays of affection.

Internet Access

Dominica is extremely well wired and even the most basic guesthouse in the rainforest will likely have an internet hookup or wi-fi. Many bars, cafes and restaurants offer free wi-fi to their customers.

Media

  • Newspapers The weekly Chronicle, published every Friday, has been the national newspaper since 1909.
  • Radio DBS 88.1FM (contemporary music), Kairi 93.1 FM (local news and music).

Money

ATMs dispense EC dollars but are scarce outside of Roseau and Portsmouth. There is no ATM at the airport. Few business accept credit cards.

Cash

Unless prices rates are posted in US dollars, as is usual with accommodations, it usually works out better to use EC dollars. If you pay in US dollars you will likely get change in EC dollars.

Exchange Rates

AustraliaA$1EC$1.93
CanadaC$1EC$1.98
Euro Zone€1EC$2.81
Japan¥100EC$2.30
New ZealandNZ$1EC$1.86
UKUK£EC$3.29
USUS$EC$2.68

Tipping

  • Hotels US$0.50 to US$1 per bag is standard; gratuity for cleaning staff is at your discretion.
  • Restaurants If the service charge is not automatically included in the bill, tip 10% to 15%; if it is, it's up to you to leave a small additional tip.
  • Taxi Tip 10% to 15% of the fare.

Opening Hours

Local businesses, including most restaurants and bars, are closed on Sundays. Note that the following hours are basic guidelines only. In practice, hours are quite erratic and may vary depending on the day, the season or even the mood of the proprietor.

Banks 8am–2pm Monday to Thursday, to 5pm Friday

Bars noon–11pm

Businesses 8am–4pm Monday to Friday, lunch break 1–2pm

Restaurants breakfast 7:30–10am, lunch noon–2:30pm, dinner 6–9:30pm

Shops 8am–4pm Monday to Friday, to 1pm Sat (often lunch break 1–2pm)

Post

When sending anything to Dominica, it’s important to include ‘Commonwealth of Dominica’ in the address to prevent it being accidentally sent to the Dominican Republic.

Main Post Office In Roseau.

Public Holidays

New Year's Day January 1

Carnival Monday & Tuesday Two days preceding Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent, 46 days before Easter)

Good Friday/Easter Monday March/April

Labour Day First Monday in May

Pentecost/Whit Monday 40 days after Easter

Emancipation Day (August Monday) First Monday in August

Independence Day November 3

Community Service Day November 4

Christmas/Boxing Day December 25/26

Smoking

  • Smoking There is no official smoking ban anywhere on the island, but most hotels and restaurants prohibit guests from smoking indoors. The use of marijuana, though officially illegal, is widespread.

Taxes & Refunds

Value-added tax (VAT) of 15% is levied on most goods and services. It drops to 10% on hotel rooms. Visitors are not eligible to reclaim VAT paid during their trip to Dominica.

Telephone

  • Dominica’s country code is 767.
  • To call from North America, dial 1-767 + the seven-digit local number. From elsewhere, dial your country’s international access code, + 767 + the local number.
  • To call abroad from Dominica, dial 011 + country code + area code + local number.
  • For directory information dial 118.

Mobile Phones

  • Mobile networks and carriers use the GSM 850/900 frequencies.
  • Ubiquitous wi-fi makes it easy to use VoIP providers like Skype, WhatsApp or Facetime.
  • Some hotels and car-rental companies provide cell phones for free or a small fee.

Tourist Information

Dominica (www.dominica.dm) Official tourist office website

Accessible Travel

Dominica is harder than most countries for disabled travelers to navigate. Uneven, broken or nonexistent sidewalks and high curbs make wheelchair-travel nearly impossible. Some of the bigger hotels in Roseau, Castle Comfort and Portsmouth may be able to accommodate disabled travelers.

Accessible Travel Online Resources

Download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guide from http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel.

Time

Clocks in Dominica are set to Eastern Caribbean Time (Atlantic Time), which is four hours behind GMT. The island does not observe daylight savings time, but as other countries do, the following times are indicative only:

Auckland

Noon in Dominica

5am + 1 day

Frankfurt/Milan

Noon in Dominica

5pm

London

Noon in Dominica

4pm

Los Angeles

Noon in Dominica

8am

New York

Noon in Dominica

11am

Sydney

Noon in Dominica

3am + 1 day

Travel with Children

If you don't pack too much into the day and calibrate your nature adventures to your children's interests and abilities, Dominica can be a great destination for family travel. Some of the trails may be too long or challenging for younger kids, but even easy ones such as Emerald Pool and the Syndicate Nature Trail have their rewards. Riding a boat on the Indian River, swimming on the west-coast beaches, splashing around sulfur springs and snorkeling at Champagne Reef are all kid-suited, water-based activities.

Nappies (diapers) and baby foods are available in the larger supermarkets in Roseau and Portsmouth.

Volunteering

Look for Dominica-based listings on the volunteer work exchange platforms HelpX (www.helpx.net) or Workaway (www.workaway.info). A popular option is to help locals run off-grid lodges, which may involve building, gardening, cooking, web work and other chores. There are also community-based programs focused on improving the lives of local children through arts projects.

Founded by former Peace Corps volunteers, Ready, Willing, Enable! (www.rwenable.org) needs volunteers to provide training and resources to children with disabilities, as well as their communities and families.

Weights & Measures

  • Weights & Measures The imperial system is used.

Work

In order to work in Dominica, you need to apply for a work permit with the Labour Division. You need to present a letter from your prospective employer, a clean police record, a return ticket, a medical certificate and other paperwork. The application fee is US$295. Work permits are automatically residency permits and valid for one year.