About Dominica

The Commonwealth of Dominica the official name for the island of Dominica is an English speaking island located in the middle of the Eastern Caribbean. The island is the largest of the Windward Islands about 289 square miles (29 miles long and sixteen miles wide). The island is often confused with the Dominican Republic, a Spanish speaking island located in the north, sharing the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. The islands’ history is unique and it is this feature that will always make the island stand apart from the other islands in the Caribbean chain. Dominica rises in places sheer out of the sea, towering at a height of 5,000ft. This rugged landscape of blue green slopes, cloud drenched peaks, cascading waterfalls, breathtaking flora and fauna has given the island a legendary beauty. Dominica’s story is not only of battles between nations (the French and British) but more so a battle between man and the island itself.

Dominica is a parliamentary Democracy within the British Commonwealth. The island is governed under the constitution of 1978(the same year the island became independent from Britain). Executive power of the state lies with the president while the Prime Minster is the Head of Government. The president is elected by the members of the House of Assembly and he serves a five year term. While the president is the head of the state, official power lies with the cabinet, headed by the prime minister. The Unicameral parliament consists of thirty members of the House of Assembly. The island is governed under laws and regulations based on an English Common Law system. This is as a direct influence of the country’s British colonization.

The nature island of the Caribbean as it is more commonly referred to, is almost 60% forested and the islands natural forest reserve, Morne Trios Piton is the largest in the Caribbean region. Untouched and unspoiled, the island has remained miraculously from the encroachment of a heavy tourist industry. Dominica is remarkable for its beauty and is an ideal vacation spot for adventure tourist and naturalist. The island is one of very few islands in the Caribbean to still have in existence the indigenous Carib Indians. The Caribs who settled in Dominica called the island Waitikubuli, and many of the names that the Caribs gave to settlements across the island have remained such as: Calibishie, Makusari, Mero, Layou, Taro and Batali just to name a few. The Carib population on island is roughly about 3000 and the Carib Reserve the first and only in the Caribbean is about 3,700 acres established officially under the authority of the Carib Chief.

This pristine island is relatively easy to travel to. The island has two airports; the Melville Airport located one and a half hours from the country’s capital and the Canefield Airport, fifteen minutes from town. The smaller Canefield Airport accommodates small aircrafts offering inter regional flights. The bigger Melville Hall Airport, accepts connecting international flights from the US and Europe through hubs in Antigua, Barbados, St Maarteen, Guadeloupe and Martinique. Also the islands’ sea ports accept high speed catamaran. At present there is only one vessel operating in Dominica L’EXPRESS DES’ILES, this ferry service connects the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe to Dominica. L’EXPRESS DES’ILES travels to St Lucia, Marie Galante, Guadeloupe and Martinique daily.

The island has well developed roads, however due to its rugged landscape roads are often windy. Driving through the island is not for the faint of heart. There is a 32kmph or 20mph speed limit in towns and villages. There is little traffic out of the country’s capital. Visitors to the island can with any of the many rental services such as; Best Deal, Courtesy, Budget, Bonus, Silver Lining, Calabash and Garraway to name a few. Tourist choosing to rent a vehicle can explore the island at their leisure. There is also sightseeing by minibus and jeep tours, all vehicles chartered for this purpose must be hired for at least three hours.

The nature island of the Caribbean, Dominica can stand tall among other Caribbean islands for its picturesque relatively untouched natural beauty. The islands National Park, Morne Trois Piton covers about 17,000 acres in the south central part of Dominica and is home to some of the islands best tourist attractions such as: the world famous Boiling Lake (second largest actively boiling lake in the world), Emerald Pool, Titou Gorge, Fresh Water Lake, Boeri Lake and the Valley of Desolation. Dominica is a tropical greenhouse with lush vegetation, breath taking flora, blue green mountain slopes and rushing streams.