The local currency in Dominica is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar. We didn't need to use an ATM but they do exist on the island in Roseau and Portsmouth, they are connected to Cirrus, Star and Plus networks and dispense E.C. dollars. You can use US dollars to pay for tours, prices are quoted in USD. We also were able to use USD at a small grocery store in Roseau although we got change in local currency.
I always like to bring small bills with me when we go to the Caribbean, that way you can hand the taxi drivers exact change, have money for tips for guides or buy things at the market without having to get change. If you are coming in by cruise ship, the passenger services desk can break larger bills for you.
One of the best places for information on what to do in various ports is
Cruise Critic. The Cruise Critic Dominica forum board was very useful in planning shore excursions, whether the ones offered by the ship or independent, and there is also Dominica port information with hints on where to go, what to do, where the ships dock, where to eat and how to get around.
To find out how many other cruise ships will be in town along with you, check
Cruisett.com. The more ships in town, the more competition for independent guides and tours and the more crowded the main attractions will be.
Favorite thing: Dominica, not to be confused with the Dominican Republic that shares an island called Hispaniola with Haiti, is named after the Latin name for Sunday by Christopher Columbus who spotted it on a Sunday in 1493. France claimed it as theirs in 1635, it was ceded to the United Kingdom in 1763 and it was made a colony in 1805 which explains both the English and French names given to towns. In 1978, Dominica became an independent nation.
The official currency on Dominica is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$). This currency is used on almost all (former) English islands in the Eastern Caribbean:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Vincent and Grenadines
Eight territories and countries use this currency, although they only have a total population of 600.000 people. Queen Victoria of England is still shown on the coins and notes of the EC$ as well as some nice images on the notes. Popular sights of the islands are highlighted on the back of the bills like the Trafalgar Falls of Dominica and the Brimstone Hill Fortress of Saint Kitts. Also, there is a small map on the back so you can see on which islands you can use the currency.
It is easier to use to EC$ when visiting Dominica, but not necessary: the US Dollar is accepted everywhere as well. But of course the rates are always better when you pay in the official currency.
For the most up-to-date rate, check out www.xe.com/ucc/.
Dominica has been called a Green Island - that's because it rains a lot, so all the plants stay very green. Some plants thought to be extinct in other places can still be found in Dominica's forests.
There are also many flowering plants which are quite colorful, but we didn't see them. That's because cruise ships only come in the winter, and most plants flower in the summer.
Fondest memory: When we took the aerial tram I was fascinated by the many shapes and textures of the leaves
On each trip, we drove through the botanical garden and heard about this school bus.
A brand new school bus had been donated to Dominica by the Canadians. Before it could be put into service, a hurricane hit, and it was crushed by a falling babob tree. If you look at the photos of the whole bus, you can see the huge trunk of the tree is still on top of the bus.
On the first trip, I didn't get a picture because it was on the other side of the bus. On the second trip, I managed to snap a couple of pictures out of the back of the van.
Because it rains so often in Dominica, it often happens that the sun is out at the same time, which is the prescription for rainbows. As we were leaving (playing trivia), there were beautiful rainbows over the island.
Fondest memory: At first, I couldn't get a clear view through the window, and when I eventually got out on deck, the greatest part of the rainbow had dissipated. I first saw the rainbow at 2:58 pm. I got out on deck by 3:06 pm, and the rainbow was gone by 3:09 pm.
The fact that it isn't spoiled by mass tourism. Granted they do get a cruise ship...but they are mostly limited to shopping in Rosseau or tours to the Emerald Pool or a waterfall (Trafalgar and Victoria). If you go to Dominica and don't talk to the locals...and fall in love with them, you wasted your time. The island is also extremely green. If you find lush forest and mountain landscapes exciting...this is your place.
Fondest memory: Hmmm...this is tough. I will miss the scenery. An endless array of green and ocean views. Beautiful
Dominica is a "back to nature" experience... Waterfalls, rivers, rain forest and smiling people make this island my ultimate Caribbean favorite!
Fondest memory: Hiking is my favourite way of visiting the Nature Island. Try the boiling lake if you are up for a challenge, or many of the easier hikes that will take you through the rainforest to a secret waterfall... a dream in green!
For help with planning you r vacation: www travelbarefoot.com
Favorite thing: Thought there are no sandy beaches along this whole coast, there are some beautiful bays and exceptional views. This is Fond St Jean, a great little fishing village on the south coast. If you're lucky, you'll go there just as they are bringing in the fish.
Favorite thing: I love the secluded beaches and bays of Dominica's northeast coast. Anse De Mai is an official port of entry, and you may be able to pick up a trip from to the French island of Guadeloupe or Marie Galante.
Travel the entire coastline south, north, east, west, does not matter where, there are beautiful places to see. This pic was taken on the northeastern coastline near Calibishie.
Fondest memory: Hell (whoops, sorry, not supposed to use that word here, I actually said HECK), it would be easier to mention spots that did not hold special memories here on Dominica, we would go back again in a second.....
Go to the Carib Territory. It is another world within this world. When you enter the Carib territory, the people, structure and atmosphere abruptly changes .. it's almost like going back centuries in time.
Fondest memory: The Ash Wednesday after-Carnival ceremony in the Carib Territory, where they bury the spirit of Carnival till the next year. Drumming rythmns, an up-hill (steep hill) parade in the street with the coffin. The fire-dancing while the coffins burns. It is out-of-this-world.
It's like going back in time when you explore Morne Trois Pitons National Park*, a primordial rain forest. Mists rise gently over lush, dark-green growth, drifting up to blue-green peaks that have earned Dominica the title 'Switzerland of the Caribbean.' Framed by banks of giant ferns, rivers rush and tumble. Trees sprout orchids, green sunlight filters down through trees, and roaring waterfalls create a blue mist. One of the best starting points for a visit to the park is the village of Laudat, 7 miles from Roseau.
Deep in the park is the Emerald Pool Trail, a half-mile circuit loop that passes through the forest to a pool with a beautiful waterfall. Downpours are frequent in the rain forest, and at high elevations, cold winds blow. It lies 3 1/2 miles northeast of Pont Casse.
An absoultute must when in the Dominica is sailing. The ocean is beautiful and there are many bays which you can snorkle or dive.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory of the Dominican was Joyce from Larimar Horses. She gives the best horse back riding tours. The day ride was fabulous.
Beau Rive is an amazing bed and breakfast style hotel. The proprietor, Mark Steele, took years to...more
DEFUNCT Reserve naturelle indienne, Aeroport de melville, Concord Village, , 12975, Caribbean
Good for: Couples
Bobby Frederick is the owner, tour guide, leader, general all around helper and just plain good...more
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