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Things To Do in Dominica: Travel Guide & Trip Planning

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Updated: 22nd February 2024

If you’re craving a Caribbean destination full of powder-white shorelines, chic beach bars and luxury resorts, you’re in the wrong place. Dominica is known as the “Nature Island” of the Caribbean for a reason. And while there are a few upscale stays and some gorgeous swarthy sands, the best things to do in Dominica are more active than all-inclusive: canyoning via moss-covered crevices, circling smoking fumaroles, embarking on epic multi-day hikes and spotting whales breach in the deep blue.

This island truly stole my heart, and I’ve waxed lyrical about why I fell in love with Dominica ever since. But if you’re looking to plan your own trip, this Dominica travel guide will give you some insight into what to do, see and eat during your visit to this blissfully lesser-visited island. 

From the second you touch down on the tiny runway, nature is writ large. Jungle-shrouded landscapes, roads lined with plump mango trees, and rugged volcanic peaks appear at every turn. Fill your days by spotting exotic birds, kayaking alongside sun-baked black sand beaches, and learning more about Waitukubuli, the island’s original name as given by the Kalinago People, and you’ll have an unforgettable trip to one of the Lesser Antilles more offbeat nations. Here are my favourite things to do in Dominica, arguably one of the world’s best islands to visit.

Active things to do in Dominica

The main draw when travelling to Dominica is nature itself. Hiking and water sports form the basis of planning the perfect Dominica trip. But there are also other adventurous things to do to keep yourself entertained.

Hike to Middleham Falls

There is no shortage of waterfalls in Dominica, but this was one of my favourites. Following a medium-length, moderate hike through dense rainforests, we arrived at this spectacular location. The tallest waterfall in Dominica, the waters tumble some 60 metres from the top of the cliff above. At the base, there’s a small pool where you can enjoy a refreshing dip before continuing on the return hike. We only saw two other people during our whole walk, and to have this location just to ourselves was super special. It might take a little more effort to reach than some of Dominica’s other waterfalls, but it’s worth it.

Impressive Middleham Falls are worth the hike

Swim in the Emerald Pool

One of the most popular things to do in Dominica is to take a dip in the Emerald Pool. But be aware that this is one of the island’s most famous attractions, so it can be busy – especially if a cruise ship is docked. Easy to access, it’s only around a ten-minute walk from the visitor centre to the lookout platform and the astonishing jade-tinted pool itself. Bring your swimmers, jump in, and enjoy bathing in this beautiful spot, soundtracked by the small waterfall. 

Go canyoning in Dominica

I had no idea that you could go canyoning in Dominica until I arrived, but I’m so glad I ignored my slight fear of heights to spend a half-day launching myself off limestone ledges and rappelling into hidden pools. It turned out to be one of my favourite things to do in Dominica. The team at Extreme Dominica are complete professionals and organise canyoning in a few different spots on the islands, so there are suitable options for beginners and more advanced adventurers. The activity is a half-day experience, and you’ll get to see some of the more inaccessible parts of the island while wrapped up in a wetsuit.

A green Canyon with water at the bottom and a man on a rappel in Dominica
Canyoning is one of the best things to do in Dominica

Clamber up Titou Gorge

If you want to experience and see Dominica’s impressive gorges without Canyoning, Ti Tou Gorge is a fantastic place to visit, as you can wade through the waters of the gorge without needing any pulleys or jumps. The water isn’t too deep, and there are only currents near the waterfall itself. If you haven’t brought your own, then life jackets can be rented for a couple of dollars. These can be advisable as it’s a five-minute swim through the moss-covered gorge to reach the small pool-like area.

Circle the Boiling Lake

One of the toughest hikes on the island, which I’ll admit I didn’t do as we simply ran out of time, will bring you to the Boiling Lake. Supposedly, some people complete the trip in around four hours, while others might take double; it will depend on your level of fitness and how fast you want to move. Just don’t think you can do it in just a couple of hours as I did, or you’ll miss out. The landscapes are almost otherworldly, and the bubbling, boiling, teal-coloured waters are certainly not a place to swim – but I imagine they are quite the sight to behold, allowing an insight into Dominica’s volcanic nature.

Trafalgar Falls is one of the most popular spots in Dominica
Trafalgar Falls is one of the most popular spots in Dominica

Admire Trafalgar Falls

Trafalgar Falls is Dominica’s most visited attraction for good reason. However, this does mean that when cruise ships dock, it can be crowded, especially as the car park is only a 10-minute walk from the falls. As such, try to come early in the morning or on a day when cruises haven’t docked. What awaits at the top of the short staircase is a pair of waterfalls, tumbling down the lush-clad rockface in tandem side-by-side. It’s a really pretty spot, and the River Rock Cafe near the road is a good place to grab a typical, home-cooked Creole lunch. 

Trek and bathe in the Freshwater Lake

A popular swimming spot with the locals, Dominica’s Freshwater Lake is one of the highest points on the island. When I visited, we were quite literally in the clouds as the mist rolled in and enveloped the whole area. You can walk around the lake, enjoy a swim, or even hire a kayak from the small cafe and visitor’s hut on the lake’s edge. 

The hot springs at Wootton Wawen 
The hot springs at Wootton Wawen 

Soothe yourself in the Sulphur Springs or Wootton Wawen 

Enjoying a relaxing thermal dip is one of Dominica’s greatest joys, and harnessing the warmer volcanic waters is a nice contrast to the cooler pools found at the bottom of waterfalls. There are a couple of choices of where to bathe. Personally, I wasn’t overly enamoured with Wotten Waven. I felt the man-made pools were a little too concrete-heavy in appearance, which detracted a bit from the landscapes, which is a shame since the island is such an eco-tourism destination in general. An alternative and slightly more natural option is the Sulphur Springs, which I wish we had visited instead.

Explore more of Morne Trois National Park

Exploring this UNESCO-listed landscape is one of the most popular things to do in Dominica. And actually, many of these other natural wonders are located inside this park. However, I mention it as you must buy an affordable “National Park Pass” to enter these spaces, which, in theory, is purchasable from any of the visitor centres. However, from my off-season experience, I found most of these huts were shut, so you might want to ask your accommodation to help you get one. Even though the huts were closed, I did spot a couple of rangers checking that people had the little paper ticket. 

Escape to Victoria Falls

This less-visited waterfall on Dominica’s east coast is a good pick if you don’t mind a detour for a mostly crowd-free cascade experience. Set in a secluded part of the rainforest, it’s less than an hour’s hike from the road along (and sometimes in) the river.

Inside the rainforests of Dominica

Discover Cabrits National Park

The Cabrits National Park, an emerald-hued peninsula near Portsmouth, is a spectacular setting in which to enjoy walks around wetlands and dense forests or snorkel around coral reefs. It’s one of Dominica’s prettiest corners, but it’s not completely untouched. You’ll find Fort Shirley, an English-built defence here, as well as some ruined gun batteries and also the lush Cabrits Resort & Spa.

Tackle the multi-day Waitukubuli National Trail

One of the most epic things to do in Dominica is to plan your whole visit around the Waitukubuli National Trail, which is titled after the island’s original name, as given by the Kalinago People. Encompassing many of the sights mentioned above, the 185-kilometre multi-day hiking trail takes around 10-14 days to complete if you decide to tackle the whole route. Inaugurated in 2013, this was the Caribbean’s first long-distance trail, and it crosses many of the interior’s highlights, such as exotic birds, waterfalls and rainforests, as well as some of the dark sand beaches of the coast. The short stretches that start at the coastal Scotts Head, or mighty Middleham Falls, are suitable for getting a taste of the trail.

Reflections of the India River on a small boat in Dominica
A serene boat ride up the Indian River

Top cultural attractions in Dominica

If you want a break from throwing yourself into refreshing pools or hiking through rainforests, here are a few cultural suggestions of things to do in Dominica.

Boat up the Indian River

Taking a rickety wooden boat ride down the Indian River to rum-pouring Bush Bars is one of the best things to do in Dominica. Along the murky waters, shaded by coconut trees and palms, you’ll feel like a proper castaway pirate. Fitting, as Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed right here. The boats depart from Portsmouth, Dominica’s second city and you’ll be paddled up and along the tranquil waterway before stopping off at one of the awesome, if a little touristy, all-wood rum bars. The river’s name comes from being one of the first locations the Kalinago settled in when they arrived,

The Indian River as seen from above with the mountains of Dominica in the background
The Indian River is one of the widest in Dominica

Visit the Kalinago Territory

One of the best ways to learn about the Kalinago people, the original inhabitants of Dominica, is to visit the village by the sea, the Barana Aute. Given that Dominica is one of the few Caribbean islands left with a pre-colonisation population, a visit here is the top thing to do in Dominica to learn more about the island’s pre-colonial inhabitants, its nature and culture.

As with much of the Caribbean, a history of enslaved people and misery is part of Dominica’s story. While it was Christopher Columbus who renamed the island Dominica after sighting it, it was the French who first fully colonised the islands. Then, later, the British brought their own horrific actions. On the flatter islands of the Caribbean, the native populations were entirely enslaved or murdered. Here, in Domnica, the mountainous landscape helped some of the Kalinago hide away from the invaders, and many continued their life and culture on the isolated east coast.

Learn more about the island's history at the Kalinago Visitor Centre
Learn more about the island’s history at the Kalinago Visitor Centre

This is now the Kalinago Reserve. A protected area of the island, also known as the Carib Quarter, covers some 3700 acres of land with a population of around 3500. It’s officially decreed to the Kalinago by law. On a visit, you can take part in a short tour of the village that was built to show tourists and visitors the traditional way of life, as well as a brief history lesson. Weaving, dancing and refreshments can all be found here. I imagine it can be a bit touristy and not too authentic, yet when I visited outside of cruise season, I really enjoyed my visit as there was the chance to really talk and learn, rather than the more customary cultural performances. 

Take a cooking class

Dominica’s flavourful creole cuisine is delicious. But rather than just eat it, why not take a cooking class in Dominica with Daria? Daria’s cooking school has been going strong since 2016, and her infectious and friendly personality will make you feel instantly calm and like you are cooking with an old friend in her kitchen. Sitting down together to eat your hard work is the perfect ending. 

Stock up on fresh fruits and cheerful chats at Roseau's Market
Stock up on fresh fruits and cheerful chats at Roseau’s Market

Head to Roseau’s Colourful Market

Roseau, Dominica’s capital city, is fairly compact; the population is less than 20,000, making it easy to navigate and connect with the city’s lived-in culture. When the cruise ships docked, I was told some stalls got put up along the port. However, the best shopping experience is certainly the colourful markets, where you’ll be able to buy all the fresh fruits, such as the island’s signature mangoes, while chatting with the stall holders. 

Visit the Dominica Museum

The small Dominica Museum is also located in Roseau, directly across from the city-centre cruise port. Sadly, I decided to visit on the weekend when it was closed, so I couldn’t go inside. Time your visit right, and the small space will give you a good introduction to Dominica and its past, although I think visiting the Kalinago Territory is a much better way to learn about Dominica. 

Roseau is the colourful capital of Dominica, yet the population is only around 15,000
Roseau is the colourful capital of Dominica, yet the population is only around 15,000

Tour or taste at a Rum Distillery and Bush Bars

One of the best ways to fill your time in the Caribbean is to enjoy some rum punch, and Dominica is no exception. Well stocked with various flavours of rums, Dominica’s bush bars are found away from the towns and city, and these intimate and usually wooden shack spots are great places to enjoy a few, especially if they come with epic ocean views. Be warned, many of these bottles are homebrewed, so they can have quite the kick. If you want to learn more or would prefer a more official tasting, visit the Macoucherie Rum Distillery.

Come for the Carnival and Independence Celebrations

Carnival is one of the Caribbean’s best celebrations, whether you’re celebrating in Jamaica or San Nicolas in Aruba, and Dominia is no exception. Plan your visit for February to see Carnival in all its colourful Creole music glory, or come between late October and early December for Dominica’s independence celebrations.  When it comes to planning your visit, know the Carnival celebration is in February, while the Creole music celebrations, followed by the Independence celebrations, occur in late October and early December.

Three Dolphins jumping out of the water in Dominica
Playful dolphins and sperm whales are an incredible sight

What to do in Dominica to see wildlife experiences in Dominica 

If that wasn’t enough to keep you entertained, there are plenty of animal encounters in Dominica, and luckily no predators on the island. Here’s what to do in Dominica to see some of the local “residents”.

Scuba diving

The Caribbean is rightly famous as a great place to dive and get scuba certified due to its clear, bath-like waters, excellent visibility, and abundance of wildlife and corals. Some of the least damaged corals in the Caribbean can be found here, and there is a diverse array of scuba sites, ranging from drift dives to shipwrecks, all teeming with colourful shoals of fish.

Whale (and dolphin) watching

Dominica is one of the only countries in the world with a resident sperm whale population, so you are pretty much guaranteed to spot them here. As such, going on a (responsible trip to see sperm whales is one of the top things to do in Dominica. Boats leave daily to observe the whales from a safe distance (for them, not you) and use sonar radios to try and find them for a more guaranteed sighting experience. We got really lucky and saw a handful of whales and plenty of dolphin pods during our three-hour trip, which departed from Scotts Head. Swimming with whales is highly regulated and requires a limited and expensive permit.

A small bird in Dominica
Dominica is a bird-watchers paradise

Bird watching on the Syndicate Nature Trail

Bertrand, better known as Dr Birdy, is one of Dominica’s most famous residents. This guy knows everything you could ever want to know about the endemic and migratory birds that hide in Dominica’s overgrown canopy. The time I spent with him was fascinating, especially given he’s such a good-spirited guy with plenty of banter. He’s also very in demand, Dominica is regarded as one of the Caribbean’s best bird-watching destinations, so if this is something you want to do in Dominica, you should contact him ahead of time. We managed to spot the famed and endemic Imperial Parrot (Sisserou) through his telescope, amongst many other birds. Highly recommended.

The palm trees and ocean of Batabou beach in Dominica as seen from above
Relaxing on Batibou Beach is one of my favourite Dominica memories

Which of Dominica’s best beaches should you visit? 

Dominica might be something of a wild island, but there are still plenty of possibilities to kick back and relax. Sure, Dominica doesn’t have the typical powder-white beaches of many neighbouring Caribbean islands, but the silver and black sands are still beautiful in their own way. In the low season, I found many beaches close to empty. 

Batibou Beach

This was my favourite beach we visited. In fact, it was one of the final things we did in Dominica before heading to the airport. Don’t make the mistake of nearly missing it like I did; the journey to get here is an adventure in itself. The reason I nearly skipped it is that it’s on private property. I’m not a fan of paying for beaches, especially when there are plenty of free options. However, Alex, our guide, kept talking about his “favourite beach” like it was heaven on earth, so we had to squeeze it in. It was a bumpy dirt track ride to reach, but after spending a few dollars for access, we were amazed by the lush palm-fringed bay and tranquil jade-tinted waters. I sat on the little swing here and shed a little tear, partly because it was so beautiful but also because I was so sad to say goodbye to this incredible island. 

Beaches on Dominica might not be the main attraction, but they are blissful all the same
Mero Beach is one of Dominica’s most beautiful

Mero Beach

One of the most popular beaches in Dominica is Mero Beach. A long stretch of silver sand, Mero is well equipped with some bars and restaurants along the way, so you can enjoy a cold local Kabuli beer before paddling in the lap of warm waters. 

St Joseph Beach

Very close to Mero is St Joseph Beach, which was one of my favourites on the island. It’s in front of a petite, colourful village, and we detoured here for a swim while driving along the west coast. There were a couple of kayaks available to rent from a small hut. Absolute bliss. 

Aerial view of St Josephs on Dominicas west coast with a small town alongside it
St Joseph’s Beach

Champagne Beach

The main reason to come to this pretty beach is the Champagne Reef, where bubbling waters come out of the volcanic springs in the ocean bed. It’s a popular spot for snorkelling, and if you’re lucky, you’ll also see some turtles here.

Scotts Head

Scotts Head is where we departed for our whale watching trip after a delicious seaside lunch, but you’ll also find one of Dominica’s best beaches here. On the sandbar, which connects the peninsula with the main island, you get beautiful views across Dominica’s coast. As the Caribbean Sea flanks it on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, you can sometimes spot the difference in the water colour. The elevated lookout is the best place to see the difference. Once you’ve enjoyed some sunbathing, don your snorkel or scuba gear to explore Soufrière Bay, one of Dominica’s most marine-life-rich spots

Picard Beach Cottages from above
Staying at Picard Beach Cottages was surprisingly affordable for the Caribbean

Portsmouth’s Black Sand Beaches

I’m really glad I decided to split my Dominica trip between two different locations. After staying in Roseau for the first half of the week, we moved to Picard Beach Cottages near Portsmouth for the last few days. Waking up with the swarthy sands right on my terrace’s doorstep was dreamy, and starting the day with a coffee and this view was one of my favourite things to do in Dominica. On this side of the island, the sands are coal-coloured, and they warm fast. With such dense vegetation behind, you can experience a true island life escape here.

Where to stay in Dominica

There is a growing range of accommodation on the island these days. Ranging from budget options, such as beachside Roseau Hostel, to more affordable guesthouses and private rentals. There have also been a couple of new, more luxurious developments in recent years, supposedly putting sustainability at the forefront to protect the island. These include the gorgeous Secret Bay Resort, IHG’s Cabrits Resort & Spa, and Jungle Bay – all fantastic options for a romantic stay in this more unique honeymoon destination.

I stayed at two different spots in Dominica, first the Fort Young Hotel in Roseau and then the Picard Beach Cottages in Portsmouth. The pair were very different, but I loved them both for different reasons.

Fort Young Hotel, Roseau

I loved Fort Young because it’s just seconds to all the markets and bars of Roseau, the capital city, meaning you aren’t in a resort cut off from the local life. It’s in an ideal location for those who want ease of access. Being a historic building, there are traditional touches and the more modern, and it has everything you need: bars, a restaurant, a pool and a hot tub. I particularly loved how the rooms had balconies facing out onto the ocean with uninterrupted views, so you almost felt like you were sleeping on a floating cruise ship. See prices and details here.

Picard Beach Cottages, Portsmouth

I adored these laid-back cottages just outside the second city of Portsmouth. Right on the swarthy beach, the cottages have a little kitchen and lounge area, a spacious bedroom, and a fantastic beachfront patio looking over the sea. There are some more hidden cabins amongst the palms, but I think it’s worth booking early and splurging on the beachfront cottages for a better experience. See prices and details here.

What to eat in Dominica

Dominica’s cuisine is a delicious mix of fresh tropical fruits, equally fresh seafood, and flavoursome dishes with Creloe, African and French influences.

Some of the most typical plates to enjoy are the national fish of Callaloo, a thickset leafy soup, perfect on-the-go Codfish Sandwiches, stewed agouti (similar to a guinea pig) and fish braff, a cross between a soup and a stew. I’ve written more about what to eat in Dominica here.

Rum is, of course, plentiful across the island, often infused with various tropical fruit flavours or medicinal-like herbal choices. You could visit the Macoucherie Rum Distillery for a tour or tasting, hit up the bars in Roseau, or enjoy a few different bush rums at the wooden shack bars along the Indian River.

A Creole shrimp dish in Dominica
Flavourful Creole food, especially using local ingredients, is fairly priced.

Travel insurance for Dominica

Travel Insurance is always recommended for any international travel, and that is especially true in Dominica. Especially given the chances are you’re coming here to partake in some active sports.

You’ll need to either check your annual policy or ensure that the insurance option you are purchasing covers everything that you require. Certain worldwide coverage excludes the USA and the Caribbean (due to potentially higher medical costs), so this is one of the most important things to check. Other considerations include whether the policy includes coverage for scuba diving or canyoning (which can be classified as an extreme sport) should you plan to partake in these activities.

Lastly, given that most people will arrive in Dominica on a non-direct flight, you’ll likely want to ensure you have decent coverage for luggage, too. Due to living abroad, I need a specific type of travel insurance for UK expatriates, which already includes the Repatriation of Remains (in case the worst happens) and a helicopter or flight coverage to a hospital if needed. Given Dominica’s remote nature, I’d advise you to seek an insurance policy that also includes this.

Getting to Dominica


Arriving in Dominica will be half the adventure, as the island is not served by many airlines or any long-haul flights. Until recently, you would always need to connect on a neighbouring island due to the airport’s short runway. However, the first direct USA flights from Miami have recently launched, offering direct connections. 

There are two airports on the island, but Douglas Charles (DOM) is the one you’ll likely be booking flights for, not the smaller Canefield airport near Roseau. Transfer time from DOM to Roseau is around an hour.

Use a search engine, such as Skyscanner, when planning your flights, as this will hopefully show you the connecting options to Dominica, which will nearly always be routed via another nearby island. Connections from Antigua, Barbados, St Maarteen, St. Lucia and Guadeloupe are possible, as well as Puerto Rico, which may be the best option for visitors from some of the states.  LIAT and inter-Caribbean are the main airlines serving Dominica. 

We transferred to Antigua. From the UK, for example, you can book with British Airways or Virgin Atlantic, which have code-sharing options through Antigua, where you’ll swap to a 30-minute LIAT flight. Even though we had booked with BA, on the way out, our luggage was checked through to Dominica, and we could use the transit option in Antigua airport to get our boarding pass. On the return leg, we had to collect our bags in Antigua and re-check in. I assume this is due to Dominica airport being so small and not having the security facilities to appease flights in EU airspace.


If you are coming on a Cruise, then it is easy; you’ll most likely arrive straight into Roseau. There are two other cruise berths in Dominica, one in Woodbridge Harbour and another in Cabrits near Portsmouth. Obviously, it will depend on how many ships are in at the time and where you dock. Remember that although the island is small, some attractions require drives on dirt tracks, so you’ll need to keep this in mind when planning excursions to ensure you’re back in time.


If you plan to get around by ferry or sailing boat from another Caribbean island, these also mainly arrive in Roseau, and up-to-date timetables can be found on the operator’s websites. The destinations served by the ferries and catamarans are Guadeloupe, St Lucia and Martinique.

Dominica's dirt tracks require the right wheels
Dominica’s dirt tracks require the right wheels, but a standard car rental is fine for most terrain

Getting around Dominica

Dominica isn’t a huge island. It’s only 289.5 square miles, and the majority of that is rainforest. But the rugged and mountainous terrain means it can take a while to cover distances that could seem small on the map.

Local buses are affordable and handy for travelling between the main villages and towns. There are proper bus terminal hubs in Roseau and Portsmouth. You can also use the local bus service from the airport, although it is irregular. If you book experiences, such as canyoning or birding, they usually include the pickup and transfer from Roseau.

Taxies aren’t the cheapest but are an option, as is hiring a vehicle with a driver. We did this with Happy Car and had some excellent days with the legendary Alex, who was far from just a driver but also a guide and soon a friend. Highly recommended. 

For the most freedom, hire a car (remember your international permit). Unless you plan on going on particularly rugged dirt track roads, a standard vehicle is suitable. This will give you the most freedom and allow you to string a few sights and locations together daily.

Visas, safety and travel warnings in Dominica

Dominica is generally considered a safe Caribbean country with low crime rates – just take the normal travel precautions you would anywhere. I’d certainly say keep an eye out when driving, as the road conditions in some parts are unstable and can quickly become single-file. Much of this is due to the damage done by Hurricane Maria, although a lot of the damage on the island has now been fully repaired.

Although Malaria isn’t a problem in Dominica, Zika has been found here, so mosquito spray and/or nets are advisable. The Hurricane season is June to November, so be aware and prepared in case of an emergency.

To find out the visa requirements and current travel advisories for Dominica relevant to your home country, follow the links here to the official government websites. For all other nationalities, search your country before ‘Citizen’ in Google below.


Overlooking Roseau Dominica from above with the Atlantic ocean in the background
Morne Bruce lookout is an easy-to-reach viewpoint in Dominica

Health in Dominica

Outside of the main cities, such as Rosea and Portsmouth, pharmacies are harder to find and have more limited opening hours. Pack mosquito spray, and if heading out on walks and hikes, a small first aid kit isn’t a bad idea.

The main hospital is in Roseau, although for some treatments, you may have to be flown to another island. I had no health issues in Dominica, so I can’t give any first-hand experience. But as one of the lesser populated islands and less frequented by travellers, healthcare infrastructure for tourists is less extensive than in the likes of Jamaica or other larger isles.

Although tap water is deemed safe, and many people do drink it, the CDC does have an advisory against drinking Dominica’s tap water, so make the decision that suits you best. Better still, bring a Life Straw or similar for extra peace of mind – it’s one of the easiest sustainable travel steps you can take when visiting the Caribbean.

Is Dominica expensive?

Your costs in Dominica will vary depending on whether you are going local or visiting more touristy spots,  such as the bars along the port front in Roseau. That said, Dominica is, in general, a lot more affordable for food and drink than in other popular nearby islands, such as Aruba or Antigua. Getting here will likely be the biggest expense, given there are limited flights and they nearly always require a connection through a more popular island.

The currency of Dominica is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$/XCD), and most menu prices are quoted in this. It’s only some of the spots nearest to Roseau Cruise Port and a few more upscale hotels, where the prices are generally quoted in USD and, therefore, are more expensive.

One of the first things that Alex, my guide-turned-friend on the island, told me was to only go to places where the prices are in XCD, so you know you’re getting more local rates. Even in those bars where prices are in USD, when we asked about “’local drinks”, we were always offered rum punches at much lower prices. I think this is perhaps because it was in the evening, and so it was obvious we were staying in Dominica rather than on a brief cruise day trip.

Example prices in Dominica

I visited Dominica in 2019. However, I updated these prices in February 2024 based on online website pricing (for tours, rentals and activities) and after checking with a few bars and restaurants to get current rates. All prices are listed in EC$. Where there is an asterisk next to the cost, this means the online price was in USD, and I have converted the price to EC$. On 21/02/24, 1EC$=0.37 USD.

Budget meal – 30-40k EC$ (Callaloo, stew, or simple, fresh fish)
Upscale meal – 100-160 EC$ (Starter, main and drink in a seaview restaurant or hotel))
Local bus – 8-12 (depending on distance) EC$
Local beer (Kubli) – from 5 EC$
Rum Punch from 8 EC$
One week national park permit – 32 EC$
Cultural visit to Kalinago Reserve – 26 EC$
Whale-watching boat trip – 188 XEC$*
Canyoning experience 350 EC$*
Car rental – from 155 EC$ per day*
Accommodation Given the fluctuation in rates, it’s best to check on OTAs
Water You can drink tap water in water can be drunk in Dominica, although it tastes funny in certain places. Otherwise, very inexpensive.

Fort Young Hotel amongst the hills of Dominica as seen from the ocean
Traditional Fort Young Hotel offers relatively affordable luxury

Exchanging money in Dominica

Don’t assume you’ll be able to land in Dominica and have a wealth of money exchange options; it’s a truly tiny airport. small. That said, there is one ATM just outside the airport and a few more in Roseau. If you are flying via Antigua or another neighbouring island, you may prefer to exchange money there during your connection if they also use the Eastern Caribbean Dollar. Some exchange options are available in higher-end hotels and in Roseau. USD can be used in many places, especially around the port, but you may be charged a higher rate or receive a change in EC$.

Dominica’s weather and climate

Dominica’s position in the Caribbean chain means it retains a warm temperature all year round. Still, being a volcanic island, there are lots of microclimates. Rain showers are common, especially in the rainforests and higher terrain. Like much of the Caribbean, Dominica is in the hurricane belt. The hurricane season is generally from June until October, peaking around August and September. Given the island’s small size, when one strikes, it can be far more devastating for Dominica than on a larger landmass. Hurricane Maria in 2017 was the most deadly in recent years.

When to visit Dominica

Peak season: Between February and June, when the island is at its driest, are the most popular months to visit Dominica. With such a small airport, most visitors arrive by cruise ship, and given the mountainous nature of the island, as you can imagine, the popular sites can quickly get crowded. I found visiting in the off-season, however, the complete opposite and super peaceful.

Low season: July through to October is Dominica’s off-season. The weather is slightly cooler, but there are far fewer visitors here as cruise ships are not docking. The hurricane season tends to be at its worst in late August to September. I visited in early July and had a fantastic time.

Events to plan around: February is the carnival month in Dominica, while the Creole Culture and Day and Independence Celebrations take place in late October and early November.

5 replies
  1. Hate H. says:

    This year, in August, I’ll be visiting Dominica (which confuses me with DR) to attend a friend’s wedding. She has been telling for years to come and visit her and I’m finally going this year. I’m excited and thanks for this post.

  2. C21 Btal says:

    Wow, looks epic! The caribbean has so much cool things to offer, lots of great places to check out. Consider checking Belize, some amazing diving and caribbean vibes!

  3. Jennifer Cherian says:

    Nice article. Your first line just attracted me – This country absolutely amazed me beyond any expectations. Dominica is added to my travel bucket list. The Emerald Pool, Boiling lake and Metro beach are amazing places. Thanks again for sharing details about such a beautiful destination.

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