Dominica travel guide
The Caribbean island of Dominica is a natural treasure. Visitors will find a medley of brooding volcanic peaks, gushing mountain streams, dense forests, quiet lakes and spouting geysers. As you might have already guessed, it's a diverse and beautiful land.
Given its natural assets and warm and welcoming locals, Dominica should be a bustling tourism hotspot. Despite being one of the poorest in the region, crime is relatively low. But a marked lack of pumping nightlife, no direct flights to Dominica from the UK and little in the way of sandy beaches all mean it remains off the radar for many travellers. And yet this is what makes the island so appealing for the intrepid few.
Those partial to hiking amid thick tropical rainforest and gazing at bubbling lakes, will find this sunny green isle has many charms. In fact, much of Dominica is the domain of sprawling jungle, making it ideal for trekking. Adventuring your way around Dominica's natural delights is very much a primordial experience. On your travels through red mud trails and over undulating volcanic slopes, you'll find thundering waterfalls, hot springs where you can let nature heal your aches and pains, and even swim through a narrow gorge. Explore colourful coral reef with your snorkelling gear, be buoyed by bubbling volcanic water and visit the rawest spas imaginable – Dominica has so much to offer.
Perhaps the most attractive thing about the island, though, is the very thing that keeps the hordes away. Dominica has avoided mass tourism, and as a haven where Mother Nature is in charge, unspoilt by human hands. Having been both a French and British colony, the 70,000 or so inhabitants have various roots, including the indigenous Caribs, though the people are largely African in origin. As for visitors, they see Dominica as an unblemished alternative to the more commercial Caribbean islands. Here you can get away from the crowds, welcomed by the friendliest of local populations.
751 sq km (290 sq miles).
73,016 (UN estimate 2016).
98 per sq km.
President Sylvanie Burton since 2023.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit since 2004.
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.
Before you travel
No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and see support for British nationals abroad for information about specific travel topics.
If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.
This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in Dominica set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Dominica High Commission in the UK.
There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Dominica.
Passport validity requirements
To enter Dominica, your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least 6 months after the date you arrive.
Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.
You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.
You do not need a visa to visit Dominica. The border authorities will grant you a stay of 6 months on arrival. If you want to stay longer, you must arrange and pay for an extension with the Dominica Immigration Division.
It is illegal to overstay or work without a work permit.
Checks at border control
At border control, you may also need to show a return or onward ticket.
There is a departure tax of 86 East Caribbean dollars or 33 US dollars. It is usually included in the cost of your plane ticket. You also need to pay departure tax if travelling by ferry.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the vaccinations and certificates you need in TravelHealthPro’s Dominica guide.
Depending on your circumstances, this may include a yellow fever certificate.
There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of Dominica. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.
Taking money into Dominica
Declare cash or travellers cheques if the value is 10,000 East Caribbean dollars or more. You will get a certified declaration to show you brought it in with you.
There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.
UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.
Terrorism in Dominica
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Dominica, attacks cannot be ruled out.
The crime rate in Dominica is low, but you could be at risk walking alone away from the main roads, particularly after dark.
Make sure your accommodation is secure and your documents and valuables are in a safe place. This also applies if you are staying on a yacht.
Use licensed taxis, and make sure you have a safe way to return from late-night street parties during the festival season. Keep car doors locked when driving and do not stop if pedestrians try to flag down your vehicle.
Laws and cultural differences
Laws on clothing
It is illegal for anyone, including children, to dress in camouflage clothing.
Illegal drugs and prison sentences
There are severe penalties for drug offences. Pack all your luggage yourself and do not carry anything through customs for anyone else.
Attitudes towards the LGBT+ community are mostly conservative throughout the Caribbean. Certain same-sex sexual acts are illegal. LGBT+ travellers should be mindful of local attitudes and be aware that showing affection in public may attract unwanted and negative attention.
Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.
Outdoor activities and adventure tourism
Take care when swimming. Currents can be stronger than they look and not all beaches have lifeguards or warning flags.
Hiking and mountaineering
If you are planning to drive a hire car or a UK vehicle, see information on driving abroad. You need to arrange car rental ahead of your arrival.
You must show your UK driving licence to get a temporary Dominican driving licence. Car hire companies will usually help with this.
The roads on the island are sometimes narrow and in poor condition. Pedestrians often walk on the roads and drivers swerve to avoid potholes or fail to indicate before they pull out. There are few road signs and it’s easy to get lost. If you have an accident, call the police and do not move your vehicle.
The main highway from Douglas Charles Airport is prone to landslides after bad weather and there are sheer drops where the road has fallen away. Avoid driving on this road at night.
Taxis and minibuses
Taxis are not metered, but there are standard fares for most destinations. Registered taxis have a windscreen sticker that reads: ‘Nature Island’s Standard of Excellence’ followed by a number.
To avoid being overcharged, agree the fare before you set off. You can usually also pay in US dollars.
You can tell your taxi driver if you want to be driven at slow speeds, but minibuses are likely to drive over the speed limit.
Extreme weather and natural disasters
The hurricane season normally runs from June to November. Tropical storms and hurricanes can develop suddenly and unexpectedly. Monitor the US National Hurricane Center or the World Meteorological Organization for hurricane warnings.
Check the Government Information Service for local instructions, including any evacuation orders.
See extreme weather and natural hazards for advice about how to prepare effectively and what to do if there is a hurricane warning.
During especially hot and dry periods a single spark or flame can start a wildfire. Report fires to the emergency services immediately.
Earthquakes are a risk in Dominica and tremors are frequently felt. If there is an earthquake, local authorities should direct you. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency website has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.
Before you travel check that:
- your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
- you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation
This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.
Emergency medical number
Call 999 and ask for an ambulance.
Contact your insurance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Vaccinations and health risks
At least 8 weeks before your trip check:
- the latest information on vaccination recommendations and health risks in TravelHealthPro’s Dominica guide - these include Zika virus, dengue and chikungunya
- where to get vaccines and whether you have to pay on the NHS travel vaccinations page
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.
The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.
Healthcare facilities in Dominica
FCDO has a list of doctors in Dominica.
There is also guidance on healthcare if you’re living in Dominica.
The Dominica China Friendship Hospital, the government hospital in Roseau, can cope with many types of treatment, but serious cases may require emergency evacuation.
Before choosing to be treated at a private facility, you should check the payment policy. Private clinics may ask for payment up front, so insurance documents may not be sufficient.
Private medical treatment in Dominica can be expensive. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
Travel and mental health
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.
Emergency services in Dominica
Telephone: 999 (ambulance, fire, police)
Contact your travel provider and insurer
Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.
Refunds and changes to travel
For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.
Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:
- where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
- how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim
Support from FCDO
FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:
- finding lawyers and funeral directors in Dominica
- dealing with a death in Dominica
- being arrested or imprisoned in Dominica
- getting help if you’re a victim of crime
- what to do if you’re in hospital
- if you’re affected by a crisis, such as a terrorist attack
You can also contact FCDO online.
Help abroad in an emergency
If you’re in Dominica and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados.
FCDO in London
You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.
Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)