Perhaps Dominica is the Caribbean's best-kept secret. Its towering mountains, lush green forests and winding rivers are practically begging for exploration. Plus there are no chain resorts (yes, none) and limited nightlife; in fact, commercial development of any kind is sparse. But if you've heard of this island, you know that you don't visit for the resorts or beaches. Instead, Dominica attracts the adventurous eco-tourist that treasures a little authenticity while on ... continue»
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The best time to visit Dominica is from October to December, when the hotel rates are lower and the humidity is less stifling. Temperatures see little variance, with yearly averages residing around 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Dominica's rainy season occurs between June and November, and the island is susceptible to hurricanes and tropical storms this time of year.Best Times to Visit Dominica»
Dominica is one of the most mountainous islands in the Caribbean, boasting the highest peaks in the Eastern Caribbean. With high precipitation and many rock faces and cliffs, the island also has an abundance of scenic waterfalls that dot the coast. Running water is so plentiful here that, according to, 33 percent of the island's electricity comes from hydro-generation.
Most of the island consists of dense forest and small villages, but writers say the island's capital, Roseau, is a vibrant city on the island's southwest side that can often be noisy, loud and congested. The Roseau River runs through the town into the Caribbean Sea. Roseau's downtown, just south of the river, contains the city's main north-south thoroughfare: Queen Mary Street, which turns into Independence Street. Perpendicular streets and lanes run between the two streets. You should be cautious when walking and driving around the area since many of the streets are one-way.
Roseau's French Quarter is just south of Great George Street in the downtown area and according to, "a thoroughfare of hustle and bustle." This quarter contains a number of shops, restaurants and bars, as well as some of the city's grandest architecture. Taste the local fare at Roseau Market, one of the largest outdoor markets in the Caribbean, according to .
On the northwest part of the island is Portsmouth, Dominica's second largest town, and a recommended spot for boating, diving and whale-watching. North of Portsmouth, experts also recommend Cabrits National Historical and Marine Park, which contains Fort Shirley, an old British stronghold; a large swamp; a couple extinct volcanoes and coral reefs that are ideal for snorkeling. Cabrits also contains some of the island's few beaches and is located is just north of Portsmouth.
Marigot provides visitors with their first glimpse of the island, since most U.S. visitors fly into the Marigot's Melville Hall Airfield via Puerto Rico. Perched on the northeast coast of the island facing the Atlantic Ocean, the small city of Marigot offers several hotel and restaurant options and provides access to the north coast beaches. Professional and leisure travelers recommend swimming at the Sari-Sari Waterfall, a 150-foot waterfall with a swimming hole at the bottom.
Carib Indian Territory
Writers also recommend visiting the Carib Indian Territory, a 3,700-acre portion of the island that is home to the many of the island's indigenous Carib population. The most popular part of the territory is Kalinago Barana Autê, a traditional Carib village that offers Carib cultural exhibitions, including bread baking, basket weaving, herbal remedies and traditional canoe-building.
Morne Trois Pitons National Park
Morne Trois Pitons National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the south-central part of the island that has thick jungles, large mountains and several lakes, including the second-largest hot spring in the world. Writers also recommend the spectacular views of Trafalgar Falls. Travelers can hike around the waterfalls and view the cascades from a viewing platform. The Rain Forest Aerial Tram also offers an aerial tour of the area, and features a large 350-feet-high suspension bridge, from which you can view the rainforest.
Dominica is a safe island in the Caribbean; tourist-targeted crime is rare and residents are more than willing to help you out. Of course common sense prevails -- so keep close track of your valuables and lock your rental car when driving or parked.
Dominicans are faster and more aggressive drivers than most Americans, plus the roads are twisty and pot-hole laden. Add in the fact that driving is on the left and many tourists face a culture shock on their first foray behind the wheel. Unless you have an adventurous spirit, many experts suggest you leave the driving to residents and seasoned visitors. Take a taxi instead, as they're inexpensive and easy to come by in the daylight hours.
Dominica also has a reputation for clean water; those who live on the island often get their supply from roadside springs. Tap water is heavy chlorinated, however, so ask for bottled water to avoid the metallic taste.
The best way to get around Dominica is by car, since the top activities are fairly spread out. Those who opt not to rent one will probably end up confined to Roseau on the southwest coast. Cars are available at the agencies in downtown Roseau and at the island's two airports. And speaking of airports, there are no direct flights from the United States to either Melville Hall (DOM) or Canefield (DCF) airports. Instead, visitors from the U.S. and Canada will have to resort to island-hopping from Puerto Rico, Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique or Guadeloupe.Getting Around Dominica»