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 The Caribbean Island Of Dominica

Dominica-island-caribbeanDominica (pronounced Dom-in-eek-a) sits midway along the Eastern Caribbean archipelago, just a few miles from Martinique to the south and Guadeloupe to the north. Its location is 15 degrees North latitude and 61 degrees West longitude.
The island's official name is the Commonwealth of Dominica, which is mostly referenced in official communiqué and to distinguish the island from its northerly Caribbean sister, the Dominican Republic. The indigenous Carib Indians named the  island Waitukubuli which means "tall is her body" in the carib language.

The island is sparsely populated with around 70,000 people inhabiting its 289.5 square miles. A significant portion of the population lives in and around the capital city, Roseau. Dominica is an arcadia of unspoiled nature. Tropical forest coats two thirds of the island, which nourishes 1,200 plant species. Rivers, lakes, streams, and waterfalls abound, fed by the islands high annual rainfall. Its volcanic physique points to extensive geothermal activity above and below sea level.

map of Dominica mapDominica's Morne Trois Pitons National Park was the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the eastern Caribbean.
The island is one of only a couple in the Caribbean still with populations of the pre-Columbian Carib Indians. About 80% of the population is Roman Catholic.  English is the official language, spoken with a melodic French lilt, but a large portion of the population speaks Kwèyòl (Creole), with a few northern villages speaking Kokoy. 

Dominica's History
As an island, Dominica is in relative puberty. It is only 26 million years old and is still evolving with continuous geothermal activity. It is one of the youngest islands in the Caribbean chain, formed by the shift of two tectonic plates.

After the Ortoroids vanquished, the Arawaks came. Thereafter, the Caribs arrived and wiped them out; but when Columbus introduced colonization to Dominica in 1493, the same fate that befell the Arawaks was threatening the Caribs.
Ignoring Waitukubuli, the Carib name for the island, the Spanish explorer renamed it Dominica because he landed  on a Sunday. By the time the British and French had begun the battles for the island in the 1600s the Caribs' grip on the island had already begun to slide. They fought valiantly to keep it, and temporarily did so successfully, but the gunpowder assaults eventually drove them into the hills.
The British and French fought repeatedly for control of Dominica.

The island eventually escaped colonial fangs on November 3rd 1978, when it gained independence. Its embryonic independence era brought increased challenges, none the least was the complication of its political struggles. By the mid-1980s though, Dominica had settled down as a stable and peaceful country. The success of the banana trade, which was the island's major export, brought economic buoyancy to the island. Starting in 1992 however, Dominica saw sharp declines in banana export earnings with the loss of its preferential access on the UK market.
Today, the Government of Dominica is investing heavily in tourism as the sector to drive the island's economic development.  
In 1802, the 8th West India regiment revolts at the Cabrits and takes over the garrison for three days before being defeated and disbanded by Governor Cochrane. 

Dominica's Culture & Heritage
Dominica's rich culture comes from its mix of English, French, African, and Carib peoples. This is evident in Dominica's food, music, dance, language, and hospitality.
World Creole Music Festival
Dominica establishes its place as a centre of World Creole Music and Culture every year in October.

 History of Dominica

Dominica history-Calypso king

The indigenous people of the Caribbean still live here.
Independence Celebrations
No time better represents Dominica's culture than the month-long events leading up to Independence Day on  November 3
Dominica's Creole architecture displays a unique mix of French, English and Caribbean styles.
Experience Dominica's Carnival- Two Days of 'Jumping Up ' and celebrating.
Hiking & Adventure
For the Adventurer, there are more attractions than points on a compass. Every day is an excursion to new heights. 
Culture, Heritage & Festivals
Meet the last indigenous tribe in the Caribbean; Join Dominica's Carnival & Festivals . 
Diving & Watersports
Everything from river tubing & kayaking to spectacular diving & whale watching. 
Whale & Dolphin Watching
Dominica is known as the Whale Watching Capital of the Caribbean.
Canyoning Adventures
A unique & exciting way to explore the hidden depths of Dominica's natural wonders. 

 Things to do in Dominica                          Top

Dominica Dining & Entertainment

Creole food is Dominica's specialty - fresh tropical fruits & vegetables, local fish, island herbs & spices.

Flora & Fauna
Dominica's natural beauty springs from its rich & varied vegetation.
Those who love to bask in fresh water can bathe in one of the island's 365 rivers, wallow in the Emerald Pool, or frolic at the Trafalgar, Victoria, Sari Sari, or Middleham Falls.
Sea lovers can snorkel or scuba dive along several reefs of the one of the world's top marine destination, or take a Whale Watching excursion just off the island's coast.
Visitors with a geological interest can hike to the Boiling Lake, the Cold Soufriere, or the Soufriere and Watten Waven Sulphur Springs.
Those who prefer jungle adventures can hover above the rainforest on the 4,600 foot-long Aerial Tram, ride horses or  ATVs in the forest, discover the Boeri and Freshwater Lakes, bird-watch at Syndicate, or trek across the island's interior.

For visitors interested in cultural anthropology, a tour of Fort Shirley at the Cabrits National Park or the Kalinago Barana Autê at the Carib Territory is a fascinating experience. The historic architecture surrounding the Old Market in Roseau, including the Dominica Museum also reveals poignant information of the island's history. There are several tour operators on the island who can arrange a specific tour to match the visitor's interest.

Climate:  Daytime temperatures vary between 75 & 90 degrees F. Temperataures may drop in the evenings and at higher altitudes. Coolest months are December to March.
Dining:  Restaurants available-Local.  Gourmet.  International. Fast food.  Tipping is at the discretion of clients.  Dress code is casual.
Language:  English is the official language.  Creole or French based patois is spoken by many.
Night life:  Entertainment includes - Discos.  Occasional Dinner/Dances.  Occasional Theater.  Occassional village feasts and cultural fesitvals. Live Music. 

 Getting Married In Dominica

Getting Married In Dominica

If You want to make your wedding a day that you will always remember and your honeymoon a vacation that you will never forget. The Caribbean Island of Dominica, will make all your dreams come true.

You can make that promise to spend your lives together, or renew your vows, in a forest, at a historic site, or to the sound of waves gently lapping on the beach. Some couples have have know to married underwater, complete with aquatic wedding outfits and scuba-diving gear.

Whatever your choice of ceremony, Dominica's natural sense of fun and love for lovers will help your celebration to go with a relaxed swing, against a backdrop of the most romantic location in the world.

Marriage requirements

Dominica Marriage License Laws:  Statutory declaration on marital status

1. obtained in Dominica in a lawyer’s presence
2. Waiting period: 2 days before intended wedding date
3.The completed application form, obtainable from the Ministry of Community Development, Government Headquarters, must be presented to the registrar at the time of the marriage ceremony
4. Dominica Marriage License Fee: US $110 for a marriage license; US $184 legal fees for the statutory declaration on marital status (inclusive of affidavit)
5. Marriages performed within the registrar’s office is an additional US $11; Outside the registrar’s office is an additional US $48 plus transportation; and a church wedding is an additional US $40-$60
6. Identification Needed for a Dominica Marriage License : Birth certificate and proof of citizenship
7. In the case of a divorced couple, a certified copy of the decree absolute (divorce decree) must be presented
8. A widow or widower must present the death certificate of a deceased spouse
9. Two witnesses present at the ceremony 

 Travel To Dominica

Dominica airport

Travel by Air
Dominica has two airports: the Canefield Airport and the Melville Hall Airport. The Canefield Airport, which is 15 minutes from Roseau, is only 3,100ft long and accommodates small aircrafts offering intra-regional flights. Although Melville Hall, which is one and a half hours from the city, is much bigger, it is not an international airport. International flights from US and Europe are connected to the island through hubs in Antigua, Barbados, St. Maarten, Guadeloupe and Martinique. Leeward Island Air Transport (LIAT)  usually completes the Dominican leg of these flights. LIAT and American Eagle also provide connecting flights to the island out of Puerto Rico. 

Travel by Sea
A 300-seat catamaran operated by L'Express des Îles ferries passengers between Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique and St. Lucia. Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors arrive on the island from Cruise Ships berthed at the Bayfront, Woodbridge Bay, and Cabrits. Captains of Yachts and Sailboats can also anchor their private yacht at any of the island's official ports, but they should check in with customs and immigration on arrival.


Passport & Immigration
Immigration officials require most visitors to Dominica to present a valid passport on arrival. All need to show a return ticket and some need to have a visa. Canadian citizens can show documents certifying proof of citizenship that also bears a photograph, and French nationals can stay for up to two weeks by presenting a valid identification card. Visitors coming from a specified list of countries, who intend to stay for 21 days or less, do not require a visa. Click here for a list of these countries.

Taxis are available at the airports and in Roseau, and can be arranged all over the island. They are easily identified by the letters, H, HA or HB preceding the registration numbers on the number plates. There are standard fees from the city to both airports. 

Car Rentals
There are a number of car rental agencies on the island offering vehicles for rent. But before you get on the road, you will need to obtain a driver's license which cost $30 (US$12). You must be between 25 and 65 years old, with two years' driving experience to qualify for a driver's permit. Traffic use the left side of the road, most of which are well maintained. 

Bus Service
Dominica has a reliable public transportation system consisting of primarily private minibus operators. Bus stops can be found at designated points throughout the city depending on your destination. The bus fares are standardized and ranges from EC$1.50 to EC$10.25 according the specific route. Bus rotation is fairly frequent throughout the day, but this method of transportation is not suitable for night travel.

English is the official language of Dominica; however a large portion of the population speaks Kwéyòl, which is based primarily on French and Carib vocabularies and a syntax burrowed from a variety of West African indigenous languages. A few Northern villages use a distinctive English dialect called Kokoy.

The local currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$), everywhere on the island businesses accept United States Dollars, British Pounds, and Euros.

Credit Cards
Most tourism related business, such as hotels, restaurants, tour operators, and car rental agencies accept Master Card, Visa and American Express credit cards, including Traveller's Cheques.

Business Hours
Businesses open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday with a lunch break from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Banking hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. from Mondays to Thursdays and 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Fridays. On Saturdays, the banks are closed but merchants open their enterprises from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m


The following are a list of the banks found in Dominica:

•  Dominica Agricultural Industrial & Development Bank

•  The Bank of Nova Scotia

•  The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank

• First Caribbean International Bank

•  Griffon Bank

• National Bank of Dominica

• Royal Bank of Canada

Dominica has a modern and reliable telecommunications system. It is easy to find public phones in the city and in most communities. Hotels offer International Direct Dialing from their rooms, and there are three major mobile service providers on the island: Cable & Wireless, Digicel, and Orange Cariabe. The island's area code is 767. 

Dominica's electrical services use 220/240 volts. American appliances are quite popular, but their users utilize transformers for voltage conversion. Many accommodations offer both outlets, but it would be wise to receive confirmation from the specific establishment.
Medical Facilities
There are three public hospitals on the island: the Marigot Hospital, the Portsmouth Hospital, and the premier Princess Margaret Hospital. Intensive care units are available at the Portsmouth Hospital and the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH). The PMH also has a Hyperbaric Chamber. Several specialists and general practitioners operate private clinics.

The emergency contact for the Police, Ambulance, and Fire Department is 999.

Personal Safety
Dominica enjoys one of the lowest crime rates in the entire Caribbean; however visitors are encouraged to practice common sense in their deportment and the protection of their property.

Time Zone
Dominica Time is 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-4), which is one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time and the same as eastern Daylight Time.

Visitors to Dominica should expect plenty of sunshine interjected by intermittent rainfall. The island's annual temperature averages at 27 C. Frequent rainfall cools the tropical heat, nourishes the island's extensive rainforest, and feeds its rivers, lakes, and waterfalls. On the coast, average rainfall registers 1,780 mm, but in the interior that figure is triple.

Departure Tax
Visitors will need to pay an EC$55 departure tax when exiting the island. 

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