Carib Guesthouse, Carib Territory, Dominica
Very poorly run guesthouse - everything is falling apart, rooms in need of maintenance, everything was leaking in the bathroom. They should rent the rooms with a canoe to be able to use the bathrooms. Avoid to stay there. They charge US$60/night - which we were told is inclusive of all taxes. To our surprise, at the end of our stay, we were charged 10% Service Charge on accommodation, 10% VAT on accommodation and another 15% VAT on Service Charge......
We asked about all these taxes and the owner - Charles Williams - told us that these are taxes they have to charge even though he said that everything is included in the price when we booked. He told us he never said that. Since we were there on vacation, we left it there. There was no point into arguing about it. We were the only ones there and we realized too late that there must be a reason for that. Too bad there were no other reviews of this place because we would have booked something else.
Unique Suggestions: Best advice is not to go there. There are plenty of good accommodations on the island for the same price without the hidden fees. If you have to go there make sure you get the price in writing, otherwise you'll have the same surprise we had at the end of your stay.
Fun Alternatives: You may choose to go to the Calibishie Lodges which are located on the same side of the island a bit to the North. At least you'll get your money's worth there.
Beware of "tour operators" unless you've confirmed with atleast one local they're viable. NOTE: There are Government Site Pass Fees to be paid for each site visited: US$2.00 per site, US$5.00 for a day pass to a number of sites, and US$10.00 for a week's pass. All of these prices are per person. Site Pass Fees are not included in the rates for the tours.
(Just to note, Dominica isn't known for what most consider tourist traps. What you see is what you get. If you plan on staying outside of Roseau, be prepared to hire a driver or taxi of some sort. The roads are substandard and winding at times, thus is the reason the airport is 1.5 hours from Roseau city limits. The taxi ride is $25-40 USD/$67-107 EC one-way).
Unique Suggestions: You may be asked to go on a tour to a particular historical/natural site. Before doing so, firmly negotiate on price and if food is included. Also, ask how much walking or trekking is involved. Have your sunscreen and possibly insect repellent, swimming gear, and a change of clothing.
Price could be 100-150 EC/$37-56 USD or more for diving/snorkelling. Some trips are day adventures. The BOILING LAKE is 8 hours of just trekking round-trip.
Fun Alternatives: Well, you'll already be miles away so... nothing to do now. Enjoy it, and don't forget your camera. I can guarantee you wont regret it from the reports of others as well.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Indian River...more like...BLAH
Ok. The Indian River is quite a neat experience. Don't get me wrong. There are times when your riding along the swampy, river. Thinking your in a safer Amazon. Quite neat. Great place to view some birds, iguanas, and be creative...But don't worry about huge anacondas. The Indian River takes off from Portsmouth. Its about a 10 minute ride that ends at a crappy bar. The guide was quiet...didn't explain much. I think he was new. I was a bit mad...we paid for a ticket...then had to pay the guide later. At the bar, don't try the Dynamite drink...its aweful!
Unique Suggestions: Enjoy the scenery and ask lots of questions. I liked it...but was a bit disapointed with how short it was! We were lucky...we heard rustling in the trees and two huge iguanas fell out and were fighting! They both plopped in the water and went on their merry ways. Quite interesting!
Fun Alternatives: It is short...if you have the money do it! If you in Portsmouth and bored, want a change of scenery go for it! You may be disapointed if your traveling an hour to visit it.Related to:
- Jungle and Rain Forest
- Adventure Travel
Indian River Rip-Off
Don't waste your time going on the Indian river tour in Portsmouth. While the river is pretty, the tour is mainly an avenue for guides, who paddle you up and down the river to rustle up some more business. The tour itself only last about 20 minutes and ends at a bar where you are encouraged to buy your guide a drink. The guides are supposed to give you information about the flora and fauna of the river. This just amounts to "there's an egret and that's a fern". Not very informative or exciting. The tour costs about 20USD. Not nearly worth it! Your guide will more than likely pester you about being your guide on other excursions around the islands. Don't go for it. You can do many things on your own and check your guide book for a list of reputable guides.
Fun Alternatives: If you want a "guided" tour but want be on your own and not get ripped off, then consider Cabrits National Park on the northern end of the island not far from Portsmouth. There are signs with lots of information about the history of the park, which is an old fort, and about the plants and animals that inhabit the park. When you get finished walking around the ruins you can cool off by snorkeling by the pier in front of the park. Buy a park pass there and you can use it all over the island. I believe the park passes are 15USD.Related to:
When you arrive in Dominica if...
When you arrive in Dominica if you want to rent a car you are required by law to 'purchase' a Visitors Temporary Drivers Liscense, this is required even if you have an International liscence AND a liscence from home.
The cost is US$30. The only positive side is that it only took us a few minutes to arrange.
The liscense is valid for one month, then you have to get a new one.
If you are travelling without...
If you are travelling without a man in your group, avoid, at all costs, the Carib Territory Guesthouse. My friend and I had heard about the virtues of the guesthouse as well as the owner, Charles Williams (who is listed in several guidebooks), but we were unprepared for what we got. The man went beyond the usual West Indian flirtation/objectification of women and was simply inappropriate and unprofessional. Comments are inappropriate, but touching is completely out of line. I cannot stress enough that the behaviour of this man was completely unacceptable. I have many West Indian friends, live in a predominantly West Indian neighbourhood, have been to several Caribbean islands, and have never experienced this level of discomfort from someone who was supposed to be our guide and 'host.'
Also, the Veranda View Inn in Calibishie was probably the most poorly run guesthouse in Dominica. Dirty and uncomfortable, it was a complete waste of our time. The one positive thing about Veranda View was, as the name would imply, the view from the veranda. This is taken about an hour before Hurricane Debby's tailwinds and rain hit the island. Of course, like fools, we headed towards the water from inland when this is happening. The water was literally lapping at the foundations of the guesthouse. This photo is of Hell's Gate--there used to be an arch over the two stones that reminded people of the infamous passageway, thus the name. Can you see the dark skys of the hurricane?
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