A Trip to the Caribbean's Living Past
In a remote valley on Dominica's eastern shore, descendants of a pre-Columbian culture continue a way of life that dates back more than a thousand years. Visitors to the island who make the journey to Carib Territory see the real thing, not a theme park reenactment staged for the masses. Small villages and farms that could only be reached by torturous mountain trails well into the latter 20th century are now accessible by road and a short hike. Here, the old ways are shared through stories and demonstrations of artisanal skills and celebrated in song and dance.
- Best for: Everyone, watersports and spa enthusiasts & adventurers from soft to rugged
- Best season to visit: Year round, drier January - April
- Weather: Trade winds and forests keep temperatures mild throughout the year. Wintertime lows run in the mid 70s, while summer rarely sees daytime temperatures above the mid 80s
Cultural Activities in Dominica Overview
The Carib Territory is a 3,700-acre special district established for the indigenous Carib people known as the Kalinago. The land is communally owned by the group, who continue a traditional way of life based on artisanal farming, fishing and the manufacture of traditional handicrafts. Visitors are welcomed and immersed in the group's daily life.
Cultural Activities in Dominica Tips
Items offered for sale aren't souvenirs, they are authentic cultural icons. Kalinago baskets hand-woven from arouma reed represent a thousand-year tradition that originated in South America. Also prized by collectors are ceremonial pottery and carvings made from calabash gourds. And don't forget the cassava bread, a savory treat flavored with coconut and ginger.
Best Places for Cultural Activities in Dominica
An oceanside trail leads to a traditional village where visitors are welcomed and immersed in the Kalinago culture. A visit to an indigenous farmer's groves showcases crops cultivated long before Europeans arrived. The Salybia Church is a gathering place to hear stories of history and culture. At the Kalinago Experience visitors can watch weavers and carvers at work, and purchase their handicrafts.
What to Pack for Cultural Activities in Dominica
You could make the trek in sandals, but walking shoes are better. Bring a tote bag to hold purchased handicrafts, and wear comfortable but respectfully conservative clothing. Cameras are OK but don't be obtrusive.
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Passport and/or Visa Requirements
A valid passport is required with at least 1 blank page for entry stamp. No visa is required for stays of less than 6 months with proof of onward or return ticket. See the entry/exit requirements here.
Vaccinations are not required for entering the Caribbean if you’re coming from the U.S. Before traveling check the CDC here.
Culture and Customs
Dominica is known as "the Nature Island" for good reason. It is a land of unspoiled rainforests, volcanic hot springs, wild rivers and waterfalls. More than 60 percent of the island is covered in lush tropical vegetation and protected within three national parks, including the Morne Trois Piton National Park, which has been named a World Heritage Site. The mountainous landscape rises to almost 5,000 feet above sea level to harvest moisture from passing trade winds. Water is one of the island's most abundant natural resources, and more than 350 rivers gush out of the mountains to create dramatic gorges and spectacular waterfalls that spill into emerald pools. Among the most popular are Middleham, Victoria, Trafalgar and Sari Sari Falls. This landscape creates a mecca for the adventure traveler. Tours and activities range from kayaking, bird watching and hiking to jeep/ATV safaris and mountain bike treks. For the rugged hiker, there is the cross-island Waitukubuli Trail, or the climb to Boiling Lake, one of the world’s largest volcanically-active bodies of fresh water. With a glimpse of pre-Colombian culture, a visit to Carib Indian Territory provides a chance to interact with the largest remaining population of indigenous people in the Caribbean. For a take on the island's current culture, plan a visit during Carnival season, when calypso crooners and dance troops take to the streets. Dominica has earned a reputation as the whale watching capital of the Caribbean. Sperm whales can be seen in the waters of Dominica through the year, but prime viewing months are between November to March, when mothers arrive to nurse their calves. Other marine mammals often seen in the same area include pilot, pygmy, and false killer whales, plus spinner, spotted and bottlenose dolphin.
Electricity, Phone and Internet Access
The island operates on 220/240 volts - 50 cycles, so both adapters and transformers are necessary for U.S. made appliances. However, many hotels have dual 220/110 voltage, with 110V US style outlets in the room, along with 110 outlets available in the dive shops for camera equipment. Approximately 70% of Dominica’s electric power supply is hydro generated. Diesel generators provide the remainder.
The island area code for Dominica is 767. There are 3 mobile service providers on the island, check with your local provider to see what plans are available or roaming charges will apply. Many hotels offer WiFi.
Tap water is safe to drink, if you prefer bottled water, it is available for purchase.
Language & Currency
English is the official language though much of the local population speaks Creole (French based Patois). The Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$ or XCD) is the currency used locally. Check the current exchange rate here. United States Dollars, British Pounds and the Euro are accepted. ATMs are available and dispense EC Dollars. Most vendors will accept foreign currency and give your change in local currency. Credit cards are widely accepted.
Dominica is on Atlantic Standard Time and does not observe Daylight Savings Time. Dominica is 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-4 GMT).
Location, Size and Population
Dominica is a sovereign island country that is part of the Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. It is located SSE of Guadeloupe Islands and Northwest of Martinique. Dominica is 289 square miles, roughly 29 miles long and 16 miles wide at it's widest point.
Dominica's population is 73,016 (2016).