What makes Dominica a unique country to travel to?
Dominica is an English-speaking developing Caribbean island nation. The tourism industry is in the early stages of development; first-class tourist facilities are limited, but medium-range facilities are widely available.
Street crime, including armed robbery, occurs in Dominica. Valuables left unattended, especially on beaches, are vulnerable to theft. If renting a private property on Dominica, be certain to request proof of insurance from the property owner. Rented villas are sometimes robbed, especially those in the Calibishie area, and if the owner has no insurance for theft you will be unable to recoup your losses.
Take some time before travel to learn how to improve your personal security—things are not the same everywhere as they are in the United States.
While you are traveling in Dominica, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. In some places, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. In some places driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Dominica, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.
Persons violating Dominica’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Dominicaare severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
IF ARRESTED: If you are arrested in Dominica, authorities of Dominica are required to notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest. If you are concerned the Department of State may not be aware of your situation, you should request the police or prison officials to notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest.
Medical Facilities and Health Information
Medical care is limited. The major hospital is Princess Margaret Hospital (telephone (767) 448-2231/5720). In addition, there is one other hospital in Dominica and several clinics. There is an operational hyperbaric chamber at the main hospital. The private hospital and clinics will take emergency cases. There is limited ambulance service on most of the island, and a sea rescue service is available at the North end of the island. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
While in Dominica, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Vehicles are driven on the left in Dominica. Seatbelt laws are not strictly enforced. Roads are narrow with steep inclines throughout the island. There are few guardrails in areas that have precipitous drop-offs from the road. Be especially careful on the two hour trip from the airport to the capital, Roseau, that winds through the mountainous interior. Serious accidents involving tourist vehicles occur periodically. Road signs are limited outside of the major towns. Drivers should be alert for minibus (taxi) drivers, who often make sudden stops or pull out into traffic without warning or signaling. A local temporary driver’s license is required. These can be purchased at all car rental offices and from the Traffic Department in Roseau.