Dominica Stories and Tips

Dominica: An Overview and Cautions

Mellville Hall International Airport Photo, Dominica, Caribbean

Dominica is just about the most perfect manifestion of "escape" that I can imagine. Her people have no desire for the "quick wealth" that tourism brings. In fact, if they TRIED to develop the island for tourism, they'd have a hard time. There aren't many flat places to build! The only flat place on the island long enough to support an airport is across the island from the town, and even then the planes pull to a dead stop inches from a thousand-foot cliff.

Unfortunately, there are a few words of caution I extend. A decade ago, an American medical school was opened on the north end of the island, and gradually the students have introduced "hard drugs" to the Dominican people. Consequently, many of the desperate youth have become addicted and taken to selling drugs to tourists to support their habits.

Whereas in other parts of the Caribbean -I won't mention any names (*coughJamaica*)-it may be easy and accepted for you to buy pot from a beach vendor, DO NOT under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES purchase it from someone in Dominica OR bring drugs to Dominica. The drug problem has changed the attitude of an island that 5 years ago knew NO crime. Customs searches bags hard, because the islanders DO NOT want more drugs on their island. Purchasing from a street vendor can only lead to trouble (as I experienced second-hand with a friend who bought a small amount...let's just say we were hassled and chased and bothered and scared for 2 days before we finally went to the police, which made things worse!)

That said, most tourists will never experience an uncomfortable or unsafe situation on Dominica. There are many tourist police, and for the most part Roseau is a well-lit, lively, and friendly city. Like everywhere in the Caribbean, people will beg for money. A polite "No, thank you" will usually turn them away.

Dominica is serious about protecting the few visitors it has, and even asking money from a tourist can get a Dominican locked up for weeks. They will arrest a vagrant SIMPLY on hearsay if a tourist says they were hassled. Consequently, the thieves and mischief makers avoid tourists like the plague.

Should you come to Dominica, please respect the island's committment to conservation by not littering and by being respectful of the wilderness. Dominica is truly a dream-come-true for the adventure lover.

Been to this destination?

Share Your Story or Tip