LIAT is the tricky idiom that makes your life fully enriched and leaves permanent travel memories. As always there was some sort of scheduling problem with its fleet. This time it was LIAT’s turn to perform on the island of Dominica. The flight was cancelled at the last moment when all the passengers had passed through the security check, a major hurdle on its own. Then the company of course refused to take care of the passengers’ accommodation due to the “act of God” clause or high winds in simple English. Here we, the victims, were more or less convinced that there was something objective about the problem even though it was created by God himself because another airline, BVI, also cancelled a flight. The more important something else happened on the next day when the winds died down. The LIAT management obviously has nothing in their minds except profits since they did not send an extra plane to collect the passengers stranded on the island from the day before. They simply used the regular morning flight of the day that had only three seats left and filled them. All the rest of the passengers who had spent their night on their own means and came back early at six o’clock because there was supposed to be a flight at eight were left in the terminal to wait for another plane or most probably for another act of God!
We used the Whichurch Ferry which took us from Dominica to St.Lucia in under 4 hours. Their office is downtown Roseau. They were super helpful. We got inot Roseau late because of bad road conditions, the office was closed. We told them we were in need of help and they re-opened the office to give us a hand, if anyone goes there tell them thanks again from us.
We went to Dominica on a cruise. We did not purchase a cruise tour. We walked outside and were bombarded with offers for Taxi Tours of the Island. We ended up with an excellent deal with a fellow name Melvin Mellow or Super Cat Taxi (767) 446-4011. We only wanted an abbreviated tour about 2 hours.. the normal tours are four hours. Melvin was excellent, professional and knowledgeable. He took us all over and explained to us much about the island and the crops that we passed on our tour. He took us to the Emerald Falls and Mineral Pool; both were excellent. Melvin looks a little like the actor Ice Cube. He lived up to everything he promised and more... SUPER CAT - MELVIN MELLOW. If you visit Dominica try to get Melvin to show you around the island. He is a licensed cab driver #HA-468 (He actually has a business card that he gave me...)
If you want to rent a car - it's a lot of fun to drive in Dominica, but not for the fainthearted - I would highly recommend Courtesy Car Rental. They have competitive rates and are conveniently located within Melville Hall Airport - which makes the pick-up and drop-off a breeze.
Very nice, friendly and at the same time professional. Fast response at email enquiries and always willing to help with information.
Always keep in mind - driving is on the left and you have to use the horn frequently.
The transportation that the cruise ship lined up for us to go to various island locations on tropical islands in the Caribbean was usually some kind of van. The roads are narrow, very steep and twisty, and the bus often sounded as if it was laboring. Sometimes it would bottom out.
They drive on the left with (mostly) left hand drive. So for the best photos, sit on the right. That side of the road is further from the side of the van.
We came by ship, and this has obvious advantages, and some disadvantages.
The advantages are:
a) You don't have to go through security in the airport
b) Your bags won't be lost
c) Someone else does the driving.
The disadvantages are:
a) You are only there for part of a day and can't really get to know the country
b) You can only come in the winter and not in the summer when the flowers are in bloom.
c) Unless you are lucky enough to be on a small ship, you will dock way out of town in a commercial container ship area. (photo 5 and 2)
Depending on where you are coming from there are a few options. Normally from The U.S. you fly from your city to Miami or Puerto Rico. You can overnight in Puerto Rico and continue your flight with American Airlines. Otherwise, you'll be connecting and flying on LIAT Airlines. Basically, to get there in the same day, you will probably have to start your trip at 6 A.M. or earlier. It seems nowadays, you can't reach Dominica in the same day anymore. Flights normally range from $750-1000 U.S. dollars. I normally stay in St. Maarten a few days then go on to Dominica. In that case, Liat Airlines Charges about $240. USD round trip. You can't purchase your tickets by credit card with Liat. You'll have to go to another outsourcing ticketing agency if you purchase that ticket seperately. Otherwise, American Airlines will add that 'leg' to your intenerary. Seats are filled quickly, however with Liat.
Taxis, buses, or tour guides. You can flag buses down about every road or street. They normally only operate until 7 P.M. The locals are very helpful and can tell you just about whatever you need to know including how to get around.
Remember, driving is on the left hand side of the road. Renting a car can be a real challenge and normally costs over $60 US. Expect for any rental company to put an authorization on your credit card (a credit card is IMPERATIVE to rent a car) of $1000 US or more!!!
Corporate Headquarters, V.C. Bird International Airport, P.O. Box 819, St. John's, Antigua. West Indies.
I rented a 4x4 SUV for the week. Driving was on the left hand side and the vehicle was right hand drive. It took a little getting used to. The roads can be very tight especially through some of the villages. Tons of blind turns, steep inclines and declines. Honk your horn as you approach them. If someone honks behind you they are asking to pass. It is also polite to honk 'hello' at passing vehicles. All the gas stations I came across were cash only. I gave rides daily as it seemed to be local custom.
One way to see Dominica is by hitch hiking. Everyone does it and its very safe. Just put your hand up and most people will pick you up. I thinks it polite to ask if they want money. Normally you jump in the back of a pickup. Very fun and completely safe. I met a great local and had a terrific chat with him while we sat in the back of a pickup truck. You may have difficulty if your with a large group of people.
The bus system in Dominica can drive anyone who is used to schedules and bus stops crazy. The buses range from small minivans that are very nice to ones with broken windshields and linoleum flooring (actually quite fun). The buses normally leave once full...so expect large bags or goods and locals. The bis systems don't run on a time system. You can wait for a while before getting one or leaving on one. The only required things are that the drivers are licensed and charge the same amount...but other than that they are free to come and go. Normally the peak hours to pick up a bus are early in the morning when everyone goes to work and school. Rosseau has certain bus areas. Just ask the driver if they are going where you want...if not they will usually tell you which driver to go with. They are all nice and helpful but it can be a bit frustrating to figure out. You can also pick one up as it drives by...you dont always need to be at a stop.
Driving on Dominica is scary!!!!! The roads are bad and the drivers are nuts. Everyone drives way too fast. Some of the roads aren't finished and are still being blasted out of the sides of mountains. The hills are steep and wet from the heavy downpours and some roads get washed out. Unfortunately driving is the only way to see what you want to see or you can hire a car.
The island is fairly small, but the interior is extremely mountainous so it will take hours to get from one end of the island to the other through winding roads. Because of this, taxis are pretty pricey, but buses (mini-vans really) are frequent and stop almost everywhere. Also, the bus drivers are extremely helpful and nice.
The best way to travel is by bus. They use little transit vans. You can get on and off anywhere, not like London or places alike. When you want to get off you just shout Bus Stop. When you want to get on you just stick out yourt hand.
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