Dominica  by  VViktor

Dominica Driving Guide

Dominica is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit.

2021-08-13 · 9min read

Dominica is a small island country of volcanic origin, similar to other Caribbean Islands. Because of this, its landscape is endowed with the richest, most remarkable ecosystems where you can experience the most extraordinary adventures.

Dominica is an agricultural country with a society that highly values environmental and health preservation. This is probably the reason why the country has the largest percentage of 100-year-olds in the world! If you like exploring and learning about different cultures, driving through Dominica villages, especially the Kalinago Territory, will definitely be a delight.

How Can This Guide Help You?

Only about 20% of the island is most suitable for infrastructure development. When you go driving in Dominica, maps will lead you through a lot of winding dirt roads in the mountains. This driving guide will help you navigate Dominica safely. This includes travel information on border status, entry requirements, road rules when driving in Dominica districts, how to get to the different tourist destinations, getting a driving license in Dominica, and many more.

General Information

The Commonwealth of Dominica is divided into ten (10) parishes. Most social centers are situated in coastal areas, away from dense rainforests that cover about 65% of the island. If you want to see the different parishes, here are some fast facts about the entire country.

Geographic Location

Dominica is a quaint island situated in the Lesser Antilles. It is surrounded by the waters of the Caribbean and the North Atlantic Ocean. It is about 23.57 nautical miles south of mainland Guadeloupe and about 22.04 nautical miles north of Martinique.

Languages Spoken

The official language in Dominica is English, as introduced by the British. The educational system in Dominica also uses English as the official mode of teaching. However, because the country also fell historically under French Rule, the locals have developed dialects that combine English, French, Carib (native), and African elements. The second most spoken language in Dominica is the Kwèyòl (Dominican Creole French), and it is a language that would be interesting to learn, especially if you have plans of traveling to other Caribbean countries.

Land Area

Dominica covers an area of about 750km2. The country has no other islets, so you wouldn’t have to worry about riding ferries to get from one place to the other. Since the country is situated north of the Equator, between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, it generally receives bountiful rainfall year-round, especially the central and eastern portions.

Countries That Can Stay in Dominica Without a Visa up to six (6) months:

The best time to visit Dominica, however, is from February to April, when rainfall is at its lowest. Rains and thunderstorms pack in the most from July to November. If you’re traveling to the country between July and November, you’ll find that the west coast will be a safer region to stay and go around in.


Before Christopher Columbus introduced Dominica to the New World, indigenous communities were already thriving in this verdant, mountainous island. Pieces of evidence dating as far back as 2100 B.C. had been unearthed, and experts popularly call this generation the Ortoiroids. A while after, the Arawaks, natives from South America and the Greater Antilles, moved to Dominica shores. After the Arawaks, and before Dominica’s discovery in 1493, the Kalinago (Carib Indians) were also able to establish their roots on the Island. Up to this day, there is still a surviving Carib Territory in Dominica which you can visit and explore.

During the 1600s, the island was seized by the British from Spanish colonizers. French colonies also tried to claim the island but did not stand a chance with the British. This is why the languages in Dominica are a mix of British English and French Creole. By 1978, Dominica was granted independence but remained a Member of the Commonwealth.


Dominica has a parliamentary democratic system of government. The Chief of State is the President, while the Head of Government is the Prime Minister. The government is also divided into three (3) branches: the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial.

The parliament elects the president, who, in turn, appoints the prime minister and the cabinet of ministers. Both the president and prime minister serve five (5) year terms. The legislative branch, on the other hand, consists of the president and 30 members of the House of Assembly

Lastly, the judicial system of Dominica follows the English Common Law. All bearings go through three (3) magistrate’s courts, then to the higher Caribbean Court, the finally to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.


Dominica welcomes both stay-over and same-day visitors. In fact, the number of same-day visitors exceeds the number of stay-over/overnight visitors. Between 2010-2018, the range of overnight visitors was between 72,000-82,000 individuals. At the same time, same-day visitors were between 136,000-519,000. However, the island is not just a popular tourist destination. The country’s volcanic origin influences the soil’s high fertility, making the entire island suitable for agriculture. For the longest time, Dominica relied on the production of different agricultural products, most especially bananas.

Fast forward to recent decades, Dominica has become the fastest growing economy in the Caribbean and Latin America. This is on account of the flourishing tourism industry and the highly effective Citizenship-by-Investment Program (CBIP). The CBIP makes it easy for foreign nationals to obtain Dominican citizenship, given that they make a minimum investment of US$100,000 to a state fund or invest in real estate.

International Driver’s Permit FAQs

Whether you prefer exploring the bustling city of Roseau or go deep into the winding forest roads sheltered by the dense shadows of the sky-high canopies, you will need a valid driving license (Dominica).

An International Driver’s Permit is a valid translation of your domestic driving license. It is not an independent or separate driving permit that you can use without your domestic driving license. It is used when you want to go driving in Dominica or in any foreign country. An IDP comes in a passport-sized booklet containing multiple translations of your driving license. Specifically, it contains translations from 12 of the most spoken languages in the world.

Can You Use Your Native Driving License in Dominica?

You should bring your valid native driver’s license when you plan to drive in Dominica. However, your valid driving license does not allow you to drive in the country. Instead, it allows you to apply for a visitor’s temporary driving license. Local driving licenses for foreigners are valid either for one (1) month or three (3) months. Don’t worry. You won’t need to enroll at a Dominica driving school to get a visitor’s driving license.

Since your native driving license will be considered valid in Dominica, an International Driver’s Permit is not officially required. It is, however, highly recommended, especially when your license does not reflect English or French Creole. You will be able to use your IDP when you apply for the visitor’s temporary driving license. Moreover, even if you already have your visitor’s driving license, you still have to bring your IDP along every time you drive in Dominica.

How To Apply For an International Driving Permit in Dominica?

The qualifications to apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP) is pretty much straightforward. If you have a valid driving license from your home country and are at least 18 years old, you can apply for an International Driving Permit. International Driving Permits are only issued by authorized agencies like the International Driver’s Association (IDA). You cannot just let anyone translate your native driving license. Apart from the two (2) qualifications mentioned in the previous section, you would also need to prepare the following:

  • Clear picture/scanned copy of your valid driving license.
  • Passport-sized photos
  • Credit Card or PayPal Account
  • Internet connection

You can apply for an International Driving Permit before traveling to Dominica or once you arrive in Dominica. The International Driver’s Association offers express shipping wherein you can receive your IDP in as fast as 20 minutes. The processing time for regular shipping is two (2) hours. With regular shipping, your IDP will be shipped out within 24 hours from the time of confirmation.

To apply for an International Driving Permit in Dominica:

  1. Go to our homepage.
  2. Navigate to the orange button on the upper right-hand corner of the homepage.
  3. Click on it, and you will be directed to the online application form.
  4. Choose your preferred IDP Plan.
  5. Fill in the form with your complete driver details.
  6. Indicate your license class.
  7. Enter your shipping address.
  8. Choose your mode of payment.
  9. Verify your identity.
  10. Wait for confirmation.

Remember that you do not need to enroll at a driving school in Dominica in order to get an International Driving Permit. You can go straight to our website and start your application wherever, whenever.

Are There Other Benefits of Owning an IDP?

An International Driving Permit does not only allow you to go driving in Dominica or in any other country in general. It also gives you other benefits that may be valued more than what you paid for. These benefits include:

  • You will be allowed to rent a car in Dominica
  • You will not worry about losing your International Driver’s Permit because you can have a digital IDP that is as valid as the printed one
  • You’ll be able to use it in other countries apart from Dominica
  • You’ll be able to use it as a supporting identification document even outside the road (i.e., hotels)
  • It will help you secure third-party car insurance

If you apply for an International Driving Permit with us, you will be eligible for the free replacement service. This means that if you lost your IDP subsequent to its delivery, the IDA would be happy to replace it for free. You’ll only need to pay for the shipping costs. In addition, you can have it delivered to another shipping address should you be transferring to a different location.

Renting a Car in Dominica

Whether you’re staying in Dominica for two (2) days or longer, renting a car will be a decision worth taking. For one, tourist destinations are scattered just about everywhere throughout the island. Second, being able to rent a car is one of the perks of owning an International Driver’s Permit.

Car Rental Companies

Most car rental companies are located in the parishes of St. George, St. Paul, St. Patrick, and St. Andrew. You have the option to rent a car only once you arrive on the island or make an advance booking online. Most car rental companies in Dominica have websites and social media pages that facilitate your rental process. You'll mostly find local agencies in Dominica, but there are also major international agencies in the country.

You can check the following car rentals out:

  • Happy Car Rentals
  • LaRonde Rent-A-Car, Inc.
  • Island Car Rentals
  • Paradise Rent-A-Car
  • Avis
  • QB Vehicle Rentals
  • Rainbow Rentals, Inc.
  • Eagle Car Rentals
  • Courtesy Car Rental
  • Earth Dreams Car Rental

Documents Required

Car rental companies want their clients to have the most convenient travel experience. To be able to offer this, these companies invest a lot in the maintenance of their vehicles. This is why it is not surprising that they also put out some standards for renters to follow.

To rent a car in Dominica, you need to submit the basic requirements, which include:

  • Valid native driver’s license and International Driver’s Permit
  • Driver need to have a minimum driving experience of two (2) years
  • Credit Card

To rent a car in Dominica, you need to submit the basic requirements, which include:

  • Valid native driver’s license and International Driver’s Permit
  • Driver has to have a minimum driving experience of two (2) years
  • Credit Card

Vehicle Types

Car rental companies in Dominica offer a wide range of vehicles. But if you observe more closely, you’ll notice that the majority of cars being rented out are Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs). This is because of the terrain in Dominica. There are a lot of areas where roads are rugged and unpaved; hence, you’ll need a vehicle that can serve and cut through the roughest roads.

Car Rental Cost

Car rentals fees in Dominica can average at $51/day depending on the type of car. Rates posted online sometimes don’t include the associated fees that depend on season, pick-up location, age of renter, add-ons, and insurance.

Add-ons are car features that aren’t necessary on average. An example of this is a child car seat. In addition, you have the option to add more insurance coverage like theft insurance. You should also expect that your total bill would add-in administrative fees and taxes.

These might seem overwhelming. However, if you’re planning to stay in Dominica for a couple of days, you’ll still feel the cost-efficiency of renting a car instead of taking public transportation.

Age Requirements

To rent a car in Dominica, you have to be at least 25 years old. However, some companies do allow younger drivers (between 21-24 years old) to rent, but with additional charges. Young drivers are believed to be more of a risk because of their inexperience. Age-related charges are also applied to senior citizen drivers above 70 or 75 years old. Although senior citizens are not inexperienced drivers, it is known that our bodily reflexes deteriorate as we age, placing senior citizens at risk.

Car Insurance Costs

The insurance premium that you’ll have to pay for your rental car will be on a per-day basis. The cost will also depend on the insurance coverage you’ll avail. For example, the Collision Damage Waivers can cost about USD10.00/day, while Lost or Damage Waivers can cost about USD12.00/day.

Car Insurance Policy

Cars are not cheap investments. This is why safeguarding them is also a priority, especially when rentals are unsupervised (or you don’t have a company-designated driver). With this, car insurance is a requirement. If you have existing third-party car insurance, you can use that in Dominica as long as it legally applies and the coverage satisfies the car rental company’s standards.

In most cases, the car rental company will process the car insurance for you. The common minimum car insurance policy is third-party coverage. This covers the damages that you accidentally cause any other road user while using the rented car. In addition, some companies may require you to buy a Collision Damage Waiver and a Loss or Damage Waiver. This minimizes your liabilities in case of vehicle-to-vehicle collision or any other event that results in the damage of your rented vehicle.

Other Facts

Some people may assume that the requirements and processing of renting and driving a car as a foreigner can be quite a hassle. However, these aren’t the only factors that you’ll have to carefully consider.

Is It Better to Rent a Car in Dominica than Take Public Transportation?

Public transportation services in Dominica come in the form of taxis and buses. Buses only go around the city, particularly Roseau. Standardized bus fares range from EC$1.50 to EC$10.25, depending on the route and distance. If you’re going around Roseau, bus stops are situated in multiple spots around the city, so there is relatively no difficulty in finding one. However, buses don’t operate 24 hours a day. There will be limited to no buses at all as evening comes.

If your itinerary involves destinations outside Roseau, taxis are the next best option for public transportation. Taxi fares are fixed depending on your distance. This ranges from EC$25 - EC$100 (that’s about USD15 - USD40 per way). Taxis can become expensive when you’re going around multiple spots in one (1) day. If this is the case, the best option for you would be to rent a car instead.

How Do You Save on Car Rental Costs?

Although some car rental companies in Dominica already offer relatively cheap rental rates, you can still try to lower your expenses down by doing the following:

  • Book in advance (months or weeks) before traveling to Dominica
  • Travel to Dominica during the off-season
  • Do not give in to upgrade offers
  • Clean the car yourself (companies sometimes charge high fees for cleaning)
  • Buy your own fuel outside

The number of days will also affect rental costs when you go driving in Dominica. Maps, therefore, are essential for you to see and plan your route beforehand. For example, it is more economical to group together the destinations that are near each other.

Road Rules by VViktor

The Road Rules in Dominica

Since Dominica is not yet one of the modern cities we see today, some might think that road rules in the country are not really that developed and strictly implemented. On the contrary, the capital city of Roseau is a bustling city full of trade and commerce. In order to ensure the safety of all road users, all visitors are encouraged to review at least the most fundamental road rules written below.

Important Regulations

All the road rules and regulations in the Commonwealth of Dominica are governed by the Vehicles and Road Traffic Act. It lays out the guidelines for the registration of motor vehicles, the licensing of motor vehicles, the issuance of driving licenses, the regulation of traffic violations, the standards of traffic signs, the suspension/cancellation of driving licenses, and more. In this section, we will be summarizing a few of the most important road rules.

Dominica Drunk-Driving Laws

Incidents involving drunk-driving have existed in Dominica, even among young drivers. Suspected drivers may be asked to take a breathalyzer, blood test, or urine test by police without an official warrant. The maximum alcohol limits are as follows:

  • 70mg of alcohol in 100ml of urine
  • 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood

Drivers who are caught going above the limits while driving can be issued the Dominica drunk-driving penalties. This is to make sure that everyone will stay responsible when driving through Dominica. The penalties are:

  • Pay 2,000 dollars or risk imprisonment up to 12 months during the first offense
  • Pay 3,000 dollars or risk imprisonment up to 24 months during the second conviction

Seat Belt Laws in Dominica

All passengers and drivers of vehicles are required to wear seat belts whether they are on the front seats or at the back seats. Unfortunately, Dominica still has to do some work on specific child seat laws in order to improve on seatbelt safety. Nevertheless, you should always have the initiative to secure yourself and every passenger in your car, especially that the terrains on the rural roads are rugged and the traffic in urban zones can be aggressive.

Lastly, as a bonus tip when driving in Dominica Cities, do not park for more than one (1) hour under a no parking sign. If you go beyond an hour, your car will be towed immediately. There are designated parking lots in every city so be sure to park in these designated spaces.

General Standards of Driving

All types of vehicles in the country have specific registration licenses according to their purpose of use. As such, private vehicles cannot be used as a taxi unless they will be registered as a taxi; and a goods vehicle cannot be used as a freight passenger vehicle unless it will be registered for that purpose also.

With regard to vehicle classes that you can rent/drive, you can only drive vehicle types that are reflected in your valid driver’s license. For example, if your license only permits you to drive 4-wheeled cars and jeeps, then they are the only vehicles that you can drive. If you are caught driving a truck contrary to what your license says, you can be penalized. Vehicles classes are also specified on your International Driving Permit.

Speed Limits

Speed limits ideally denote both maximum and minimum speeds. This means that you shouldn’t drive too fast over the speed limit, or you shouldn’t drive too slow under the speed limit. Driving under the speed limit doesn’t usually have life-threatening consequences. Rather, you’ll run the risk of delaying traffic. This is why most penalties on speed limits only provide for those who drive beyond the limit.

If you get caught driving above the speed limit, you will be liable to a fine of 1000 dollars and risk imprisonment for up to 12 months. Likewise, you may run the risk of having your license temporarily confiscated only to be returned when you leave the country.

The speed limits are as follows:

  • Urban areas - 50 km/hr
  • Main roads and highways - 80 km/hr

Driving Directions

When you drive out on the road, be mindful of the driving side, especially in areas where there are no lane separators. At roundabouts, the traffic rotates clockwise. This means that when entering the roundabout, you’ll be turning left. Likewise, you’ll also find the exits on the left side of the road.

Watch out for directional signs, as these will tell you what lane you’re going to have to position your car in before making any turn or exiting a roundabout. However, traffic signs in the country may not be as prominent as you see in a lot of developing and 1st world countries. You’ll have to exercise more caution before approaching any junction.

Traffic Road Signs

Traffic road signs in the country are divided into warning signs, directional signs, and regulatory signs. The colors and shapes of these traffic signs are regulated by the Traffic Department; however, these still follow the universal traffic sign norms like rectangles for directions signs, triangles for warning signs, and circles for regulatory signs.

  • Warning signs inform road users of potential road hazards ahead like falling rocks, slippery roads, ongoing road rehabilitation, uphill/downhill, sharp curves, and the like.
  • Directional signs, on the other hand, inform road users of which way to take. These include street names, “this way to” signs, and the like.
  • Lastly, regulatory signs instruct road users of what to do while on that particular road section. Following regulatory signs is a must because disregarding them will incur penalties like fines and imprisonment. Examples of regulatory signs include no parking, no stopping, yield, left turn only, one-way only, no trucks, and the like.

Right of Way

So as not to cause chaos in road sections where traffic signs are non-existent, right-of-way rules are also put in place for everyone to follow. Right of Way rules identifies which vehicles have priority in specific situations. You’ll know whom to yield to, as well as know when you have the right to drive ahead first. If you don’t have the right of way, you’ll have to wait for other vehicles to allow you to pass. Here are the vehicles that have the right of way:

  • Vehicles on main roads
  • Vehicles inside the roundabouts
  • Vehicles inside/turning intersections
  • Emergency Response Vehicles that are on duty

The minimum legal driving age in Dominica is 17 years old. Specifically, 17-year-olds are allowed to get a motorcycle learner’s permit, and 18-year-olds are allowed to get a motor vehicle learner’s permit. This applies to both local and foreign drivers. There are also higher minimum driving ages for bigger vehicle classes. It doesn’t mean that once you have a full driving license, you’ll already be allowed to drive a big truck even if you are just 20 years old.

As mentioned, foreign visitors who wish to drive in Dominica are required to apply for a temporary driving permit that is valid for either one (1) or three (3). So if you haven’t reached the age of 18, you will not be allowed to apply for a temporary driving permit.

Laws on Overtaking

Considering the driving side of the country, you’ll need to overtake a vehicle on the right side. However, make sure that you do this in a road section where there are no double solid yellow lines. Before going out of your lane to start your overtaking maneuver, make sure that there are no road obstructions ahead. If the road is clear, overtake quickly and make sure to observe proper signaling.

Driving Side

In Dominica, driving is done on the left-hand side of the road. This is similar to Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore, South Africa, U.K., Caribbean countries, and many others. If you come from a country that follows right-hand side driving, you may want to enroll first at a driving school in Dominica to practice or go driving through Dominica with a professional driver.

Other Road Rules

Sticking to the road rules will allow you to have a pleasant travel experience. Even when you drive outside the city, you have to remember to follow the rules. Again, this is not only for your own safety but for other road users as well.

What Is the Penalty for Not Having a Driving License in Dominica?

The Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica takes driving licenses seriously. If you are caught driving without a license or driving a vehicle class that you are not permitted to drive, you will be liable for an offense. Violators will have to pay a fine of 1000 dollars and risk imprisonment for up to 12 months.

Likewise, you may put yourself at risk of deportation depending on the degree of violation and irreversible refusal to renew your temporary driving license.

Do I Need to Enroll at A Driving School in Dominica to Rent?

Foreigners are highly encouraged to enroll at a driving school. Dominica road traffic rules involve heavy penalties, and you wouldn’t want to bump into such inconveniences. Moreover, foreign, short-term travelers are required to get a temporary visitor’s license. You wouldn’t want to put your efforts of applying for one (1) to waste just because you weren’t familiar with the Dominican road rules and etiquette.

Driving Etiquette in Dominica

On top of the standard road rules, practicing the proper driving etiquette will further the quality of safety on the road. Beyond the usual no texting while driving conduct, here are a few other driving etiquettes that you can observe in Dominica.

Car Breakdown

One (1) of the reasons why you always need to do a safety check before driving out is to avoid untoward accidents and mechanical problems. You should also have your telephone near you at all times and bring an extra battery pack just in case. However, do not use your phone while driving. This just becomes handy when you need to call for help or reinforcement.

If your car breaks down or you run into an accident, do not panic. Try to see if there are other hazards that might have developed. In cases of collision, also check yourself and the passengers if anyone is hurt. Suppose you can curb your vehicle to the side of the road, the better. If not, you can just place a triangle behind your car to warn oncoming vehicles. If assistance is highly necessary, you can dial 999, Dominica’s emergency hotline. This connects you to the police, an ambulance service, and the fire department.

Police Stops

You will find police patrols and traffic enforcers manning different road intersections or junctions. Moreover, most of these enforcers are stationed in areas with heavy traffic. This is because there are still a lot of traffic violators and impatient motorists that worsen the already intense traffic situation.

If ever you find yourself approached by police, immediately roll down your windows, greet the police and politely ask the reason for being called over. Most of the enforcers will just reprimand you, especially when it’s your first time in the area. Nonetheless, in cases where your violation is fined, make sure to comply during the specified time period. Failure to comply in due time is another type of violation.

Asking Directions

If ever you find yourself lost or confused when navigating the roads of Dominica, you can simply ask the locals around. Dominicans are very accommodating people, and they would gladly help even if they do not know you. In addition, it shouldn’t be difficult to ask for directions because the language in the country is English. If you are not sure of the exact location of where you are going, you can show them pictures as well.


Police checkpoints are set up in strategic locations around the country as part of ongoing police operations. For security purposes, the agendas of these checkpoints are rarely disclosed to the public, not unless if it is for health purposes. At times, checkpoints are also to catch drivers who are driving without a valid license and vehicles that have no valid registration papers. If ever you come across a checkpoint, prepare your driving license, travel documents, car registration papers, and other identification documents in case the police request them.

Other Tips

Proper road etiquette is often discrete and underrated. Even just by not aggressively honking your car horn during heavy traffic is already good road behavior. If you want to amp up your road etiquette, here are other suggested actions.

Which Lane Should I Stay In While Driving Around Dominica?

If you’re driving straight and are not turning anytime soon, you should stay on the rightmost lane at all times. Only maneuver to the left when you are about to turn left or when you are about to overtake. You should also avoid switching lanes constantly. This is to give courtesy to other road users about planning their route and lanes also.

What Not to Do When I’m Under the Stoplight?

If you’ve been behind a car that is first in line under the stoplight, you’d understand how bothersome it can be when the car in front of you responds to the changing light delayingly. Especially when traffic lights change slowly, drivers tend to lax away or get distracted by something else on the road. With this, it would be good to remember to keep your focus and attention on the road and traffic light at all times. This means that you shouldn’t use your phone even when you’re at a complete stop; watch passerby’s or talk to other drivers on the road.

How Do I Drive When I Come Across Road Closures While Driving Around Dominica?

Dominica continues to develop its road infrastructure to improve its connectivity and the safety of the public. Road closures can be common in the country, so it would be useful to know how to drive within these areas. Generally, when people come across roadblocks, the vehicles often queue up on one (1) lane. But contrary to popular belief, this method can actually cause more traffic build-up.

When you come across roadblocks, do not line-up in one lane. Use also the open lane and go through the remaining, narrow road section in a zipper fashion, where vehicles on both lanes take turns in going across smoothly.

Driving Conditions in Dominica

Dominica is a sought-after road trip destination not just because of the sites to see but as well as the scenic roads that you’ll traverse while in the country. But because of the topography, there are still plenty of dirt roads in Dominica, especially in the mountainous regions. How safe is it to go driving in Dominica? Find out below.

Accident Statistics

According to Dominica News Online, road traffic accidents are the major causes of mortality among young people (and the third most common cause of mortality for individuals between the ages of 25 to 44). Fatal accidents have rooted in a variety of circumstances — some due to drunk drivers, others due to reckless driving on narrow, dirt roads.

Statistics on road collisions have gone down over the years in Dominica. The government continues to create programs to improve road safety initially under the National Strategy and Plan of Action for the Decade of Road Safety.

Common Vehicles

The car industry in Dominica is also expanding. As such, you will be able to find different types of motor vehicles, more or less the same as what you see in other countries — sedans, SUVs, minivans, passenger vans, hatchbacks, minis, multi-cabs, pick-up trucks, etc. Moreover, the government of Dominica welcomes the importation of foreign car units, both new and used. With this, you can expect to have a lot of options when renting a vehicle in the country.

Toll Roads

As of this writing, Dominica has yet to establish toll roads. According to the country’s 2012-2014 Growth and Social Protection Strategy, the government is eyeing the implementation of a Road Maintenance Fund as a way to maintain and rehabilitate the roads. The Road Maintenance Fund will be sourced either through the increase of the licensing fee or through the establishment of a toll road system.

Road Situations

While most roads in Roseau are well-paved, a lot of road sections still have blind corners and are poorly lit. Outside the city border, roads become narrower, especially those within the dense rainforest. There are also sizeable potholes on the road. Nevertheless, road safety can still be maintained if everyone practices responsible for driving. This means that even if yours is the only vehicle on the road, you should stay alert and cautious while driving at all times. As much as possible, avoid driving during heavy rains.

Driving Culture

If you’ve traveled to other countries, you may have heard or observed unique mannerisms or driving behaviors on the road. This can include honking the car horn to say “Hello”, “Thank You”, and “You’re Welcome”. You can also observe this in Dominica, especially outside built-up areas.

There is hardly any story about an intense conservative culture in Dominica, even in the Carib Village. When you drive around these cultural and environmental protected areas, just make sure to not cause any excessive noise and maintain proper road behavior.

Things To Do in Dominica

Some enter as tourists and exit as migrant-candidates. This is because Dominica doesn’t just offer amazing tourist destinations; it offers a healthy way of life that can only be dreamed of in a lot of modern countries. Apart from experiencing the different sites, why not delve a little deeper into the Dominica culture? Here’s what you brainstorm on.

Drive As a Tourist

Experiencing self-driving in Dominica is a must for all visitors. There are indeed plenty of amazing destinations; however, Dominica also hosts various roads with exciting sceneries that driving alone is already an experience in itself. You’ll also get to experience driving through various terrains, which can be very much rewarding. So when you travel to Dominica, we recommend that you just rent a car and either navigate the country by yourself or hire a guide who will ride along with you.

Work As a Driver

If you love driving and want to experience Dominica a little longer, you can work as a driver in Dominica. Of course, this would entail you to obtain a legal work permit and all the necessary driving certifications. Driving jobs are found in almost every industry, and you can work as delivery driver, a personal driver, a tourist driver, a public transit driver, and many more.

According to Salary Explorer, delivery drivers in the country can earn up to USD240/month, exclusive of tips and bonuses. Like any other job, the compensation will depend on your level of driving experience and other skills relevant to the job. Because of technology, you no longer have to wait to get to the country before you look for a driving job because you can already search for potential employers online!

Work As a Travel Guide

If you want to earn more, you can work as a travel guide and drive tourists at the same time. Driving skills and experience are often not required in travel guides; However, it is a beneficial skill in the sense that you’ll have more chances of being hired if you knew how to drive. Again, like getting a driving job, you’ll also need to obtain a work permit to be able to work as a travel guide in the country.

If you are also able to get a work permit, you are a step closer to qualifying for a residency permit. To get a work visa in Dominica, you’ll have to prepare the following requirements:

  • Passport that is valid for the next six (6) months or more
  • Medical Certificate
  • Proof of financial capacity (i.e., bank statement)
  • Return Tickets
  • Employment Contract (from Dominican Employer)
  • Police Clearance
  • Recent HIV/AIDS test results
  • Duly accomplished application form

Apply For Residency

If you’re interested in living permanently in Dominica, you can apply for a residency permit. To qualify for this, you should have worked in the country for five (5) years prior to the application, or you should have stayed in the country for five (5) years with a temporary residency permit. To apply, you’ll have to submit the following requirements to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Immigration, and Labor:

  • Valid passport
  • Two (2) passport-size photos
  • Duly accomplished application forms
  • Medical Certificate stating that the applicants did not suffer from any communicable disease in the last three (3) years
  • Two Testimonials or Reference Letter (one should come from the applicant’s latest employer)
  • Acceptance Letter from the applicant’s host or sponsor
  • Proof of financial capacity of the applicant’s sponsor or host
  • Recent Police Record/Clearance
  • Cover Letter expressing the request for a residency permit
  • Extension of Stay (at least during the application period)

Other Things To Do

If you’re not interested in getting a paid job in Dominica, you can go ahead and just apply for an extension. However, you still have to present a valid reason for your request for an extension. You can explore venturing into the business industry in the country or volunteer for various social, health, and environmental advocacies.

Where Can I Volunteer in Dominica?

Dominica, however small, is a country that is full of hope for the future. Civil Society Organizations and Non-Profit Organizations operate year-round in the country in order to push for their different advocacies. You can travel to Dominica, volunteer with a group, and immerse yourself in the real Dominica culture. Some of the groups that you can check out are the following:

  • Dominica Planned Parenthood Association
  • Dominica Employees’ Federation
  • Dominica Association of Teachers
  • Dominica National Council of Women
  • Dominica Conservation Association
  • Dominica Association of Disabled People

Two (2) of the most prominent organizations in the country are the Dominica Conservation Association (environmental NGO) and the Dominica National Council of Women (which aims to educate people about domestic violence, how to prevent it, and how to cope with it through different services).

How Do I Apply for Extension in Dominica?

If you’re planning on staying in Dominica beyond the date of your original return ticket, you can apply for an Extension of Stay. This is to be done at the Passport and Immigration Department of the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica. The requirements are:

  • Valid passport
  • Valid return tickets
  • Proof of funds
  • Local address where you’ll be staying
  • Face-to-face interview with Immigration Inspector-in-Charge
  • Visa-extension fees (paid to the Treasury Department after your interview)
  1. CARICOM Nationals

EC$25.00 for <1 month

EC$50.00 for 1-3 months

  1. Foreign Nationals

EC$50.00 for <1 month

EC$100.00 for 1-3 months

  • Treasury receipt of visa-extension fees

The Top Road Trip Destinations in Dominica

Despite the country’s relatively small size, Dominica is abounding with the most extraordinary sites brought about by its natural topography and geology. A useful tip? Don’t limit yourself by driving in Dominica’s city of Roseau. If you haven’t decided on where to go yet, here is a shortlist of destinations that you can consider.

Morne Trois Pitons National Park by  Los Muertos Crew

Morne Trois Pitons National Park

The Morne Trois Pitons is a 1,342m-high volcano situated within the nearly 7,000ha protected park. The park is composed of three (3) major geologic formations, namely, glacis slopes, volcanic piles, and Soufriere, that support the most interesting volcanic activities in the area. It has been established that the park features at least five(5) forest types, including a cold, cloud forest. If you’re one of those green thumbs, the Morne Trois Pitons National Park will surely make your day.

Driving Directions

The entrance to the Morne Trois National Park is just located within St George Parish, near the boundaries of St. Patrick and St. David. The park is about 11km from the capital city of Roseau, and it would take you approximately 20 minutes to drive to the area. The most popular entrance to the park is at the Village of Laudat.

  1. Within Roseau, make your way to Federation Drive.
  2. Drive east along Federation Drive.
  3. Then turn right onto Valley Link Road.
  4. On the T-junction, turn left.
  5. Stay on the left, even as you come to a Y-junction.
  6. Turn left once you reach another T-junction.
  7. Continue to drive until you reach the Laudat Hydropower Plant.
  8. The jump-off point is just a few meters after the power plant.

The directions after the Y-junction can be tricky as there are rarely any popular landmarks anymore. To ensure that you’re on the right track, you can try to ask the locals around.

Things to Do

The Morne Trois Pitons National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It houses the largest intact forest area within the Caribbean and a lot more micro-ecosystems where tourists can visit. Some of the things to do at the park include:

1. Go On a Trekking Adventure

National parks are best known for their vast land areas that promote hiking activities, to say the least. There are plenty of trekking trails in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park that cater to various types of hikers — from beginners to experienced ones. If you do plan on hiking around the park, it would be best to hire a tour guide because the park has plenty of gorges and rivers. A guide will know how to go around these areas.

2. See the Endemic Wildlife

If you’re a naturalist, a wildlife advocate, or a herpetology enthusiast, the Morne Trois Pitons National Park will amuse you. You will be able to find plenty of these animals around, and what’s even exciting is that you’ll get to see and observe how they behave in their natural environment!

3. Spot the Imperial and the Red-necked Parrot

The Imperial Parrot, known as “Sisserou,” is the country’s national bird. Apart from this, you will also find many other species of birds in the park. This is how you’ll know how much the park is still pristine enough to make a home for these birds.

4. Trek to Trafalgar Falls

The Morne Trois Pitons National Park is endowed with numerous bodies of freshwater. You can swim at various natural pools or take a relaxing dip in the hot springs. One of the most popular natural pools in the park is carved out by the Trafalgar Falls. When you visit Trafalgar Falls, you can also bathe in any of its smaller pools.

Champagne Beach by Sofía Schmidt

Champagne Beach

Champagne Beach is one of the most exquisite beaches in the world. Not because of the sand, but because of the shallow geothermal vents that can be seen and enjoyed even by non-divers. The vents are located on the reef area just about 100 meters from the shore at a depth of 3 feet. These underwater formations are common in very deep areas of the ocean (like trenches), but here in Dominica, visitors on the surface get the chance to see how these vents support a wide variety of marine life.

The scenery on the surface is just as breathtaking as what you will see beneath the surface. So if you’re not too keen on swimming, you’ll still be treated to a magical place.

Driving Directions:

From the airport:

  1. Drive south on Edward Oliver Leblanc Highway towards Imperial Road.
  2. Continue driving south towards Goodwill Road and ply along the road until you reach Independence Street.
  3. Continue driving along Independence Street and turn right onto Bath Road.
  4. Then turn left onto Victoria Street.
  5. Continue to drive south along Victoria until you reach Loubiere Road.
  6. Keep right to stay on Loubiere Road.
  7. Continue driving until you reach Pointe Michel.
  8. Champagne Reef will just be a couple of meters south from Pointe Michel (marked by a sign saying “Irie Safari.”
Things to Do

Champagne Beach is not only an area for swimming. There are a lot of other fun activities that you can do while in the area. For only USD2 (marine reserve fee), you’ll have access to do the following:

1. Experience the Best Sunset Scenery

What’s a stress-free trip without a day just listening to the waves and the gushing ocean breeze? Since Champagne Beach is located on the western coast of the island, you get to experience the golden Caribbean sunset when you visit. Just imagine basking in the sun with some feel-good music, cold drinks, and the timeless beauty of the horizon.

2. Go SCUBA Diving

If you don’t have a SCUBA Diving License yet, you might want to get one to experience what’s beneath Champagne Beach. As mentioned, the beach is most popular for the geothermal vents just a few meters offshore. You wouldn’t get to see this every day and at any other beach, so this is a must-see when you visit the area. Apart from that, the waters of Champagne Beach has a rich marine biodiversity even until the drop-off area. You can see the shallower parts through snorkeling or the deeper drop-off area through SCUBA Diving.

3. Get a Hot Bubble Massage

If you don’t want to get wet in the salty water, you can go ahead and relax at the hot sulfur springs nearby. These sulfur springs also feature natural bubbling activities that can be very relaxing to a lot of people. Expect, however, that sulfur can discharge a certain smell, but definitely none that is too irritating to the nose.

4. Go Kayaking, Surfing, and River Tubing

If you like being active on the beach, you can also try surfing, kayaking, or river-tubing. You can find rentals on the beach or bring your own boards. If you haven’t tried river tubing, you should definitely try at Champagne Beach. River tubing is riding a floating device (like an inflatable) and just letting the current of the river drive and push you. This is different from river rafting because this is done in calmer, safer areas of the river.

The best time to go to any beach would be during the summer. Although the waters in Champagne Beach are generally calm, the winds may be too cold during the rainy season. It would also be best to snorkel or SCUBA dive during the middle of the day when the sun is at its highest. In this way, you’ll get to see the lobsters, corals, barrel sponges, stingrays, and other awesome marine life more clearly.

Papillote Tropical Gardens

Perched along the central region of Dominica on the slopes of Morne Micotrin, the Papillote Tropical Gardens covers an expansive 5.6-hectares of land area. The original garden was built in 1969 by Burl Grey and Anne Baptiste and later on reestablished after the 1979 hurricane. At present, the garden is teeming with over 600 species of plants, that in turn, support a wide variety of fauna.

Driving Directions

The Papillote Tropical Gardens is about 9km from the capital city of Roseau. If you drive through Federation Drive, it would only take you less than 20 minutes to reach the gardens.

  1. Within Roseau, make your way to Federation Drive.
  2. Drive east along Federation Drive.
  3. Then turn right onto Valley Link Road.
  4. On the T-junction, turn left.
  5. Stay on the left, even as you come to a Y-junction.
  6. Turn right onto Papilotte Road.
  7. The Papillote Tropical Gardens will be on the left side, just right after River Rock Cafe and Bar.
Things to Do

The gardens are not just a place for wildlife. Visitors are treated to a natural, tranquil retreat whether they just pass by the gardens or stay at the Papillote Wilderness Retreat. Here are some of the best things you can do in the Papillote Tropical Gardens:

1. Dine at the Restaurant

The Papillote Gardens is a famous lunch spot for visiting families. Who wouldn’t want to dine amidst the fresh, natural landscape? It’s good food, fresh air, and the rich sounds of wildlife and insects that you don’t get to hear often in bustling urban areas.

2. Spend A Night at the Beautiful Suites and Be Serenaded By the Sounds of Nature

If you want to spend the night at the gardens, you can also trek to the two (2) waterfalls in the area and bathe in one of the hot mineral pools. Perhaps, a trek to the waterfalls in the morning and the hot mineral pools in the afternoon before capping the day off.

3. Stroll Along the Man-Made Trails

If you just want a day visit to the Papillote Gardens, you can take your lunch there and then stroll around the gardens afterward. Even if you don’t stroll too far away, you can still be able to see the rich flora and fauna that call the garden its home.

The Gardens are open daily from 8:00 am - 3:00 pm, during the months of November to August. Visitors can wander the trails on their own or go for a guided tour for USD10/pax. Additional fees are asked if you want to bathe in the volcanic hot pools. Take note that the fees mentioned here are subject to change. It would be best to contact the gardens before going.

Carib Village

Caribs are some original native settlers of Dominica. Records of them have been dated as far back as 1000AD, and they are also popularly known as the Kalinagos. Dominica is the only country left in the Caribbean with the highest number of pre-Columbian Kalinagos. In 1906, 3,700 acres of land on the eastern coast of the island was officially established as a Kalinago Territory, and this has been one of the most successful strategies to preserve the culture. At present, the traditional daily modes of Kalinago living are still prevalent within the Kalinago Villages despite the introduction of modern technology and immigration.

Driving Directions

The Carib Cultural Village is located on the eastern coast of Dominica. It is about 45.9km away from the capital city of Roseau, and you’ll have to drive through the dense mountain forests of Dominica to reach the village. It will take you about an hour to drive to the village via the Edward Oliver Leblanc Highway.

From Roseau:

  1. Make your way to the Edward Oliver Leblanc Highway and drive north.
  2. Turn right into Imperial Road, then keep left to stay on Imperial Road.
  3. After the Bethel SDA Church, turn right to stay on Imperial Road.
  4. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit.
  5. Turn left after Patrick’s Restaurant and Bar.
  6. Then turn left after Castle Bruce Park.
  7. Continue to follow the road north until you reach the Kalinago Barana Aute.

Morne Trois Pitons National Park

The Morne Trois Pitons is a 1,342m-high volcano situated within the nearly 7,000ha protected park. The park is composed of three (3) major geologic formations, namely, glacis slopes, volcanic piles, and Soufriere, that support the most interesting volcanic activities in the area. It has been established that the park features at least five(5) forest types, including a cold, cloud forest. If you’re one of those green thumbs, the Morne Trois Pitons National Park will surely make your day.

Things to Do

With the advent of today’s technological advancements, it sometimes becomes an interesting sight to see indigenous peoples still practicing their centuries-old way of life. Considering that Dominica has the most number of centenarians per number of people in the world, it really leaves us curious about how they live. Here a few things you can do if you go to the Kalinago Territory:

1. Learn About the Kalinago Way of Life

The Kalinagos live in traditional Carbet houses with thatched roofs. They are popular as the people who constantly “lived off the land” because most of them are seafarers. As such, the canoe is a symbol that well represents the Kalinago heritage. During special celebrations, these people traditionally wear dried reeds around the hips, colorful headdresses, and headbands, as well as paint their faces, chests, and arms. If you visit the Carib Village, you will be able to learn more about their unique culture and practices.

2. Taste the Traditional Kalinago Cuisines

The traditional Kalinago diet is mostly anchored on meat and fish. If you haven’t tried exotic food yet, you should try their agouti and manicou dishes. They also add in plant-based foods to supplement their diet. For the drinks, cane juice (visoucanne) is a popular staple drink in households.

3. Learn Weaving the Traditional Way

Carib people are also skilled at handicrafts. The crafts they make are not only for domestic use; they are also sold to other parts of the country, even to neighboring countries. When you visit the village, you have to try making a basket using Larouma reeds or a bag using Heliconia leaves.

Driving in Dominica is an experience worth trying out. If you want to know more about starting your qualification process to drive in the country, get in touch with any of our representatives.

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