Traveling to the Dominica
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Nestled along with the Lesser Antilles between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, this island country boasts a versatile collection of nature-adventure destinations. If you’re planning on going to Dominica soon, here are some fascinating spots that you can visit and experience. Moreover, be introduced to some of the most important road rules, including having an International Driving Permit in Dominica.
Top Road Destinations in Dominica
From the foothills of the 4,747-feet Morne Diablotins to the black sand coasts of Champagne Beach, Dominica presents a unique travel destination in almost every corner. And the best way to experience these destinations? Go on a private road trip — unconstrained, relaxed, and moved by whatever floats your boat.
If you want an adventure sheltered away from the heat of the sun, try canyoning at Ti’tou Gorge. You’ll be jumping off cliffs onto natural, pristine pools, sliding through water-lined rocks, trekking through the cool river within the gorge, all the while vehemently engrossed with the verdant canopies and picturesque scenes that fill the area.
Canyoning in Ti’tou Gorge is a guided adventure. This means that you cannot proceed without a professional tour guide. This is because you’ll need experienced help to navigate the rocks with the Gorge, and you’ll need to wear safety gears as well.
Ti’tou Gorge is located inside the Morne Trois National Park. From the capital city of Roseau, it will take you about 20 minutes to drive to the jump-off point, considering you’ll drive your own car.
In order to drive legally to Ti’tou Gorge, you’ll need a visitor’s driving license. In order to apply for this, you’ll need your valid native driving license and an International Driver’s License. Drivers can get an International Driver’s Permit for Dominica online via the website of the International Driver’s Association (IDA). It will only take less than 30 minutes to finish the application process and about two (2) hours to receive approval. For updates on the International Driver’s Permit - Dominica, you can also contact any IDA representative via the client care hotline.
Morne Trois Pitons National Park
The Morne Trois Pitons National Park is a sprawling 7,000 hectare protected landscape that features a variety of unique ecosystems. The park has multiple waterfalls, lakes, springs, and rivers that are open for visitors to experience. Some spots are also family and child friendly, so if you want to go for an easier adventure, you can check with the Dominica Ministry of Tourism or ask locals around.
The most popular entrance to the Morne Trois Pitons National Park is located within the Parish of St. George, just a 20-minute drive away from the capital city of Roseau. You can use Waze to navigate to the Laudat Hydropower Plant. The entrance is just a few meters away from the power plant.
All foreign drivers are required to have a local driving license issued by the Commonwealth of Dominica. To qualify for this, you’ll need to present your valid driving license from your home country and a valid International Driver’s License for Dominica. Zip code for shipping address, driver details, and vehicle classification are a few of the information that you need to key-in on the International Driver’s Permit - Dominica form. Nevertheless, it would only take you a few minutes to finish your application, especially if you apply for it online with the International Driver’s Association.
Moreover, if you haven’t decided on getting an International Driving Permit in Dominica yet, do not worry as you can apply for it once you arrive in Dominica. The IDA’s express shipping option will allow you to apply for it within 20 minutes and receive a digital copy of your IDP immediately.
Dominica is endowed with multiple beaches that offer calm swells, perfect for a safe day out of swimming and snorkeling. Among these beaches, Champagne Beach stands out because of the unique geothermal vents spread across its shallow reef. When you swim at Champagne Beach, it would seem like you’re swimming on a mild jacuzzi because of the bubbles generated underneath. Don’t worry as the waters are generally safe to swim in. You can even go SCUBA Diving to get near the vents.
Champagne Beach is located along the western coast of Dominica, about 12.2km south of Roseau. You can drive along the coastal highway and navigate toward Pointe Michel. Champagne Beach is just a few meters after Pointe Michel.
In order to drive legally to Champagne Beach, you’ll need your valid native driving license and an International Driver’s Permit for the Dominica zip code. However, you cannot drive with these documents alone. These documents allow you to apply for a visitor’s driving license issued by the Government of Dominica. Guidelines for the International Driver’s License - Dominica is posted on the government’s website, or you can get in touch with the International Driver’s Association.
Renting a car will also be faster for you if you have an International Driver’s License - Dominica. Updates from the government include that authorized car rental companies can issue or facilitate your application for a visitor’s driving license. Hence, getting an IDP will actually give you more benefits than what you pay for.
Papillote Tropical Gardens
The Papillote Gardens is home to over 600 species of plants, which in turn provide a suitable environment for a lot of exotic fauna. If you need a relaxing, quiet retreat away from the busy sounds of Roseau, a day trip to this almost 6-hectare property will give you that.
You can stroll through the lush trails for free or go for a guided tour for a minimal fee (the garden’s history is also a story worth listening to). After the stroll, you can wind down at their hot mineral pools for a small, additional fee.
The Papillote Tropical Gardens also offer lodges where visitors can spend the night in. At night, the gardens transform into a more peaceful scenery teeming with the enchanting melodies of the nocturnal wildlife.
The Papillote Tropical Garden is about a short 20-minute drive from Roseau. You just need to follow Federation Drive, onto Valley Link Road, and finally onto Papillote Road. You’ll find the garden’s entrance on the left side, right after River Rock Cafe and Bar.
Riding a taxi is your best option for public transportation when you want to go to the Papillote Tropical Garden. However, if you want to save on costs, you can rent a car instead. In order to rent a car, you’ll need a valid International Driving Permit in Dominica and a visitor’s driving license. An IDP is a pre-requisite to get a visitor’s driving license.
The International Driver’s Association’s website for the International Driver’s Permit - Dominica has a user-friendly interface that will allow you to apply for one (1) quickly. You just need to be at least 18 years old, have a recent passport-sized photo, and have a valid native driving license to apply. You’ll need to upload these International Driver’s License - Dominica requirements to the website for the evaluation of your application.
Another very fascinating natural wonder in Dominica is the Boiling Lake. It is the second-largest boiling lake in the world and goes down to a 59meter depth. To see the lake, you’ll need to hike for three (3) hours, passing through the Valley of Desolation and back again to Laudat for another three (3). It may seem like a long trek, but this unique destination will be worth the energy. Plus, you’ll find a lot of unique formations along the way, so you’ll actually be hitting more birds with one stone (metaphorically).
The famous Boiling Lake is also located within the Morne Trois Pitons National Park. The jump-off point to the lake is similar to the jump-off point of the Ti’tou Gorge Adventure — the Village of Laudat.
If you’re not yet decided if you want to drive to the spot, you can apply for an IDP at the last minute. The IDA offers express shipping for those who need their IDPs as soon as possible. Do not forget to write the correct information on the International Driver’s Permit - Dominica online form so as not to delay the processing.
You can go to the International Driver’s Association website for the International Driver’s License - Dominica. Click on the “Start My Application” and just follow through with the necessary information.
When you want to wind down with the sea breeze brushing through your hair, Mero Beach is a nice spot to check out. The beach is very laid-back with features that are family-friendly. You can chill on the sand, buy food and drinks from the food stalls, and watch the sunset on the horizon.
Mero Beach is about 19.6km north of Roseau. You’d only need to ply the western coastal highway of the island to get to the beach. If you have your own car, it will take about 30 minutes or less to arrive.
Do not forget to bring your valid visitor’s driving license, which you can apply for if you have your native driving license and an International Driver’s Permit - Dominica. All districts will require you to have a visitor’s driving license, with corresponding penalties should you be caught driving without one (1). If you want to have your IDP sent to you in Dominica, you can do so by typing the correct address on the International Driver’s License - Dominica shipping information page.
Dominica has among the highest percentage of centenarians in the world. What’s their secret? You can find out for yourself in the community of Kalinagos, also known as the Carib Village Community. Despite the influx of modern developments, the country has preserved its indigenous cultures well, as you’ll observe when you go around the Kalinago/Carib Territory. You can try out different native cuisines, learn basket-weaving, see seaside waterfalls, and many more.
The Carib Village is a coastal community on the eastern side of Dominica. It will take you about an hour to drive to the village from Roseau. You will need to go through the dense rainforest, but don’t worry; there is an established trail (although not all sections are well-paved).
Since the Carib Territory is a long way from the urban center of Roseau, one (1) might think that road rules are not anymore implemented stringently in these parts of the island. However, all the road rules still apply, including having a valid visitor’s driving license.
To secure a visitor’s driving license, you’ll need to apply online for an International Driver’s Permit - Dominica first. You can have the delivery address of your International Driver’s License - Dominica set at an address in the country itself, or you can apply for a digital IDP instead. Your IDP will not only allow you to get a visitor’s driving license, but it will also allow you to rent a car more conveniently. Car rental companies require third-party car insurance, and an IDP will help you qualify for insurance.
The International Driver’s License - Dominica requirements only include a valid native driver’s permit and a recent passport-size photo. If you apply for an IDP with the International Driver’s Association, you can be granted one (1) in as fast as 20 minutes!
Built-in the 17th-century, Fort Shirley was a fortress that kept non-British colonizers away. However, there’s more to the history of Fort Shirley than just serving as a watchtower for invaders coming in from the west. It was the site where African slave soldiers gained their independence and shaped the future of Dominica forever. To hear more about the story, visit the sprawling grounds of Fort Shirley.
Fort Shirley is located on the northwestern coast of Dominica. It is within the Cabrits National Park and is about an hour’s drive from the capital city of Roseau. You’ll just need to drive along the western coastal highway until you reach the fort.
Since you’ll be driving through busy streets and highways, it is essential not to forget your visitor’s driving license. Car rental companies will help you secure a visitor’s driving license as long as you have an International Driver’s License and your valid native driving license. You can apply for an IDP with the IDA once you arrive in the country. Should you lose your IDP, do not worry because you will be eligible for a free replacement with the IDA.
Updates on the International Driving License - Dominica is available with the International Driver’s Associated. All you need to do is check out the website or call the client care hotline.
Most Important Road Rules in Dominica
Now that you have an idea of where to go, the next step is to review the road rules in the country. Following the road rules is important to maintain safety and peace for all road users. Below are some of the most important road rules.
Speed Limits in Dominica
Speed limits are taken seriously in Dominica. If you get caught driving beyond the speed limit, you will risk having your driving license confiscated/impounded, risk imprisonment up to one (1) year, and pay a fine of 1000 dollars.
The speed limits in Dominica are:
- Urban areas - 50km/hr
- Main roads and highways - 80km/hr
Legal Driving Age in Dominica
Persons who have reached 17 and 18 years old are eligible to apply for a learner driver’s permit. Only those who have reached the age of 18 are eligible to apply for a permit for motor vehicles, while those who are 17 years of age can only apply for a motorcycle driving permit. If you come from a country that imposes a younger legal driving age, Dominica rules will apply once you set foot in its borders.
Driving License in Dominica
As mentioned, foreigners can only drive in Dominica with a temporary driving permit or a visitor’s driving license. If you are caught driving without a valid license, you will have to pay a fine of 1000 dollars and risk imprisonment for up to 12 months. Yes, 12 months. Furthermore, depending on the gravity of your violation, you can risk immediate deportation.
Drinking and Driving in Dominica
Plenty of driving accidents around the world is caused by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Hence, countries set limits on alcohol intake for drivers. In Dominica, the maximum alcohol concentrations allowed are the following:
- 70mg of alcohol in 100ml of urine
- 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood
For more road rules, tips on getting an International Driving Permit in Dominica, and extended driving instructions to get to the different tourist destinations, check out the Driving Guide for Dominica! Plus, learn about another awesome tourist destination that visitors are always stoked about that weren’t mentioned here.
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