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World Travel Guide > Guides > Caribbean > Dominica

Dominica travel guide

About Dominica

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.

Key facts

Area:

751 sq km (290 sq miles).

Population:

73,016 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

98 per sq km.

Capital:

Roseau.

Government:

Republic.

Head of state:

President Charles Savarin since 2013.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit since 2004.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Dominica on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Dominica.

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. You should contact local authorities for information on testing facilities.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in Dominica

On arrival and within the first seven days in country, you must take only transportation from a certified COVID-19 Taxi operator.

There are private taxis and car rental available at the Douglas Charles and Canefield airports and elsewhere Car rental should be arranged ahead of time. You will be required to wear a face mask at all times on public transport in Dominica. You should maintain a distance of 6 feet apart from others, and frequent hand sanitising is mandatory.

Accommodation

A number of hotels and guest houses are re-opening on a limited basis for business. Each will be certified by government health inspectors that it is compliant with newly introduced health protocols. Some tour operators have re-opened for business. You can only stay in ‘Safe in Nature’ certified accommodations or in Government operated quarantine for the first seven days in country. A fee structure is in place.

Public spaces and services

Businesses, shops, offices, churches, sports facilities and beauty salons are now operating normally without restriction, except for health protocols (physical distancing, hand sanitising, wearing face masks). A maximum of 199 persons may gather together at any one time once the organizer has received permits and approval. Single visitors are allowed to hospital patients and nursing home residents. Beaches and rivers can be freely accessed and sporting activities allowed.

Healthcare in Dominica

For contact details for English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health

View Health for further details on healthcare in Dominica

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

The Dominica Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment has a coronavirus hotline staffed by public health officers on 1 800 219 (in Dominica) or +1 767 448 2151.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Dominica

Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. As further information is available about the national vaccination programme, this page will be updated. Sign up to get email notifications.

Dominica is offering the Oxford/Astra-Zeneca vaccine free of charge to anyone in the country who wishes to have a vaccination. Contact your local healthcare clinic for further information.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the UK authority responsible for assessing the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines. It has authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines for temporary supply and use in the UK. Find out more about MHRA approval for these vaccines.

British nationals living overseas should seek medical advice from their local healthcare provider in the country where they reside. Information about vaccines used in other national programmes, including regulatory status, should be available from the local authorities. This list of Stringent Regulatory Authorities recognised by the World Health Organisation may also be a useful source of additional information. Find out more information about the COVID-19 vaccines on the World Health Organization COVID-19 vaccines page.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

For more information, go to the Dominica Government Information Service on Facebook.

Crime

Most visits are trouble-free but incidents of crime do occur.

You should maintain at least the same level of personal security awareness as you would in the UK and make sure your accommodation is secure. This also applies if you are staying on a yacht. Be vigilant at all times. Take care when walking alone off the busy main roads and avoid isolated areas, including beaches, particularly after dark.

Only use licensed taxis and take particular care at late night street parties, especially during the festival season.

Don’t carry large amounts of cash or jewellery. If possible, leave valuables and travel documents in a safety deposit box or hotel safe. You should check that the hotel safe is securely fixed before using it to store your items.

Road travel

Driving is on the left. To drive on the island you must get a local temporary driving licence. The car hire companies will usually help with this. You must present a valid UK driving licence.

Many roads were damaged during the passage of Hurricane Maria in September 2017. While most have reopened, extreme and heightened care is needed when navigating some areas.

Take care when driving on the roads as there can be potholes and speed bumps. Observe the speed limits. You should take extra care on minor roads and in rural areas where there are narrow roads and blind corners. Pedestrians often walk on the roads and indicators are not always used.

Take extra care when driving at night as some roads are unlit. Road signs and hazards may not be easily visible.

Take care when driving on the main road from Douglas Charles airport. This is prone to landslides following bad weather and has a number of sheer drops where the road has fallen away. Avoid driving on this road at night. Road signs are limited and a map is essential.

Don’t stop if you’re flagged down by pedestrians. Keep car doors locked when driving.

In the event of an accident, call the police and don’t move the vehicle.

Taxis aren’t metered. Standard taxi fares exist for most destinations. Agree the fare in local currency with the driver before you set off. You can often pay in US dollars as well as EC dollars.

Public transport is available at a cheaper rate. Minibus drivers might drive above the speed limit.

Swimming

Take great care at all times when swimming as currents can be deceptively strong and not all beaches have lifeguards and/or warning flags. You should monitor all beaches carefully and obey any local warnings.

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Dominica, attacks can’t be ruled out.

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 more about the global threat from terrorism.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

There are severe penalties for all drug offences. Pack all luggage yourself and don’t carry anything through Customs for anyone else. It is an offence for anyone, including children, to dress in camouflage clothing. Be aware of local dress codes and don’t wear swimming attire when walking in town.

Local attitudes towards the LGBT community are mostly conservative throughout the Caribbean. Public displays of affection (such as hand-holding or kissing) between opposite or same-sex couples are uncommon. Certain homosexual acts are illegal. LGBT travellers should be mindful of local attitudes and be aware that public displays of affection may attract unwanted and negative attention. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to Dominica

Borders and the Douglas Charles airport are now open for nationals and non-nationals arriving in Dominica.

Pre-arrival requirements

Arriving passengers must complete an online questionnaire 24 hours before arrival, and have a PCR swab test with a negative result taken up to 72 hours before arrival. This result must be uploaded and submitted with the questionnaire so that your arrival can be approved by email from the Dominican Ministry of Health. Without this email you will not be allowed to board the flight coming into Dominica.

You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.

Screening on arrival

A pinprick Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) will be taken on arrival. If the RDT is negative, then the traveller must self-isolate in a government operated or government certified facility for five days before having a further PCR test. If the RDT is positive, then a further PCR swab test will be carried out. This will be at the traveller’s expense. Further information can be found via https://discoverdominica.com/en/travel-advisory-for-dominica.

If the PCR test is positive a mandatory 14 day quarantine will be necessary, in a government facility for which fees will be charged.

The results of the second PCR test are likely to take at least 48 hours. Once a negative test is received the next seven days can be spent at an uncertified premises but the traveller should remain inside and monitor their temperature. Managed tourist activities are possible with strict supervision from certified operators.

Refer to the Dominica government’s website for current information on arriving and departing from Dominica.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

British Passport holders don’t need a visa to visit Dominica.

On entry, you will be granted a specified period to stay. If you wish to stay longer, you must apply and pay for an extension of stay through the Dominica Immigration Department.

It is an offence to overstay the entry period or to work without a work permit.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. 

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Dominica.

Entry requirements may change from time to time. You should check with the Office of the High Commissioner for the Commonwealth of Dominica before you travel.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

Departure tax

There is a departure tax for leaving Dominica. As of 1 April 2019 the amount increased to 86 East Caribbean Dollars or US$33. In most cases, the tax is included in the cost of your plane ticket, but you should check with your travel agent before travelling to confirm.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Dominica on the TravelHealthPro website

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Dominica.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

UK health authorities have classified Dominica as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

Dengue fever is endemic to Latin America and the Caribbean and can occur throughout the year.

Cases of Chikungunya virus have been confirmed in Dominica. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

The main government hospital can cope with many types of treatment but serious cases may mean emergency evacuation.

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.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 999 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment. Before choosing to be treated at a private facility, you should check their policies on pre-payment. Private clinics may not accept medical travel insurance as payment for treatment.

Hurricanes

The hurricane season normally runs from June to November. You should follow and monitor local and international weather updates from the US National Hurricane Center and follow the advice of local authorities, including any evacuation orders. 

See our Tropical Cyclones page for advice about how to prepare effectively and what to do if you’re likely to be affected by a hurricane or tropical cyclone.

Earthquakes

Earthquakes are a potential threat and tremors are felt occasionally in the Caribbean, In the event of an earthquake, you should be directed by the local authorities. To learn more about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, visit the website of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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