Government-licensed private minivans with number plates starting with 'H' serve communities on an erratic schedule along the main roads. All routes originate at various stop in downtown Roseau.
Buses can be flagged down anywhere along the route – just stick out your arm. Unless they're full, they will stop. Service runs from 6am to 7pm Monday to Saturday.
Fares are set by the government and cost EC$1.75 to EC$11.
Car & Motorcycle
Driving is the most convenient way to explore Dominica, although it can be quite stressful because of the terrain, poor road conditions and local driving practices.
Drivers need a local license issued by a car-rental agency. It costs US$12 or EC$30 and is valid for one month. Officially, you must be aged between 25 and 65 and have at least two years of driving experience, although this varies from company to company.
Several international agencies plus a few reputable local ones have offices in a separate building right outside the airport terminal. Because of poor road conditions, it's well worth investing in a high-clearance vehicle, preferably a (small) 4WD, especially if you're going to be exploring the mountains. Some agencies have offices in Roseau.
Before signing anything, carefully check the car for damage and take photographs of anything you find in addition to having the agent record it on the rental agreement. Make sure that the tires are in good condition.
Daily rates start at US$22 per day for sedans and US$50 for 4WD, plus 15% VAT; many of the local agencies give discounts for rentals longer than two days. All companies offer free pickups and drop-offs, unlimited mileage and cell-phone rentals.
Tropical Storm Erika did a lot of damage to the roads but conditions are improving slowly. Still, driving in Dominica is not for the faint of heart. Roads are narrow and curving, have no dividing lines and are often hemmed in by deep, axle-killing rain gutters: 3in too far to the left and your wheels will enter a yawning concrete ditch; 3in too far to the right and you risk swapping rear-view mirrors with oncoming cars. Or worse.
Other dangers: potholes big enough to swallow small goats, blindingly blind curves, visitors not accustomed to driving on the left and locals getting impatient with them.
As a result, actual driving times are much greater than distances would suggest, especially when driving between the coasts through the vertiginous center. The smoothest driving is on the coastal road between Portsmouth and Roseau. The road from Portsmouth to the airport has been improved but is still narrow and winding, so the going is slow. Road conditions are worst in the Kalinago Territory and in the storm-battered southeast.
Driving is on the left. Honk the horn often around the blind curves. Always keep an eye out for potholes and drive around them. Avoid driving at night because roads are not lit and you'll need to use your high beam to navigate. Of course, other drivers do the same but many don't bother dimming their lights for oncoming traffic, causing you to be temporarily blinded.
To local drivers, speed limits seem to be more of a suggestion than a rule. If you're driving slowly and causing a backup, pull over to the side of the road whenever it’s safe to let traffic pass.
Outside of Roseau, gas stations are few and far between. You’ll find some in larger towns, including Canefield, Portsmouth and Marigot. Some take credit cards, many do not.
Hitching is never entirely safe, and we don't recommend it. Travelers who hitch should understand that they are taking a small but potentially serious risk.
However, locals of either sex and of all ages hitchhike here, and picking up hitchhikers, especially if there is only one of them and two or more of you, is a great way to meet locals and pick up good insider tips. Solo women travelers, though, should be extra careful.
Taxis on Dominica have number plates beginning with 'H' or 'HA'. There are no meters and no standard fares, so use your negotiating skills and make sure you understand if the quoted fare is in US dollars or EC dollars. To order a cab, call 767-440-0944, 767-440-8126 or 767-276-2228. .
Airport transfers from Douglas Charles Airport are regulated by the government. The following quoted fares are per person in a shared taxi:
|Roseau or Portsmouth||US$30|
|Calibishie or Kalinago Territory||US$17|