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Dominica Travel Guide

Known fully as the Commonwealth of Dominica, this Caribbean island sits between Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago, enveloped by the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Within an area of 751 square kilometres, live around 72,000 people, mainly of African descent and of Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist and Pentecostal religion. The locals speak English and make most of their money from bananas, coconuts, tourism, cement blocks, furniture and shoes, trading mainly with Caricom countries, the US, Japan, Canada and the UK.

This island was the last stop for European settlement within the Caribbean, mainly due to the revolt of the local Caribs. In 1763, France surrendered its ownership of Dominica to Great Britain, and the island became a colony by 1805. Years later in 1978, the island became an independent state with the first female prime minister arriving two years later, Mary Eugenia Charles. Mary stayed in office for 15 years, in which time she got rid of the dictatorial administration that was in place and turned the island round.

With its bountiful supply of natural surroundings, Dominica is a place which entices many a hiker, taking them to places brimming with cascading waterfalls and sparkling lakes and pools. Other fantastic sights can also be seen away from the shore including volcanic arches, and drop-offs and for those in diving gear, caves are everywhere, full of underwater life such as barracuda, stingrays and parrotfish. Due to its lack of beaches though, the place remains virtually unvisited, providing those visiting few with plenty of space and tranquillity to enjoy the island in. Heading towards the capital of Roseau, a market town, visitors will find a very poor area, which has a very beautiful mountainous backdrop. The buildings in the city are made of wood and stone, with shops around for the locals and rare few travellers. The city was badly damaged when Hurricane David came to town but has since had its harbour repaired, with a new dock and promenade. Visitors should make sure they go to the Old Market whilst in Roseau, a place which was once a slave market and has many interesting displays about the slave trade. The other attractions here include a cathedral, botanical gardens and an Anglican church.

There are many ways to get around Dominica from the local buses to taxis to hire vehicles. The cheapest way to get about though is by bus, which travels frequently by day, around the coast, from the capital of Roseau to Portsmouth or Scotts head. Taxis operate day and night and are not too expensive, with taxi-tours available around the island. The more flexible way to travel though is by car, which can be hired in Roseau, with major roads fully cemented, well maintained and clearly signposted.

There are no direct flights to Dominica, which means that once a visitor has got a seat with either British Airways, American Airlines, Air France or Continental, they will need to connect at one of the numerous, neighbouring Caribbean islands. The islands performing this honour include Barbados, Martinique, Antigua, St Lucia and Puerto Rico. Temperatures down here are hot and never get below 85 degrees Fahrenheit, so the best time to visit Dominica would be from December to February, the islandsí winter period.

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