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Country: Dominica / World Region: Caribbean

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      29.06.2001 20:04
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      On November 3rd, 1978 Dominica gained its independence from Great Britain and became an independent republic within the Commonwealth. Dominica is also known as the Nature Island of the Caribbean and is situated between the French speaking islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique it is the largest and most mountainous of the all the Windward Islands. Some people tend to get Dominica mixed up with the Dominican Republic, which can really makes me angry, as they are completely different places. People fail to remember that one is in the Caribbean the other is in South America, which is a good distance away. The main airport on the island is Melville Hall, which, is in the north part of the island, is about 38 miles from Roseau the capital city. There is also another airport, which is Canefield in the southwest part of the island, which is about 3 miles from Roseau. To get to the island you need to use the regional carrier, which is called Liat. You can get the Liat plane from the any of the following islands Antigua, Barbados and St Lucia. These islands are less than an hour away. Liat planes are extremely small and cramped so I advice you only carry a small hand luggage bag. The island is not that big being roughly 29 miles long and 16 miles wide. When you read about the island they usually say Volcanic in its towering green mountains covered with dense tropical forests; deep valleys and countless streams provide magnificent scenic views. This is so right. To get a good view of the island as you are landing it has been recommended that if you are flying north into Canefield that you sit on the right hand side and flying north sit on the left hand side. If flying into Melville Hall you do the opposite. The most frightening bit for me is when the plane starts to descend and all you see is green trees around you it actually feels like the plane is heading towards them. It probably wouldn’t bother me if the plane were bigger. Sights Dominica has some fantastic sights to see I have listed some of the more popular ones below: - Boiling Lake – one of the largest in the world, you reach it after a tough 2-4 hour walk Titou Gorge – is a volcano that you can swim in (well not literally). There is a crevice in which hot and cold steams blend together. Sulphur Springs – is a spring that you can bathe in. Its hot sulphuric mud and water that come s from the earth’s interior. Emerald Pool – is a green pool in the heart of the rainforest, it has a waterfall which can viewed from the underside Trafalgar Falls – a pair of waterfalls which you can climb and be surrounded by a rainbow these are one of the islands most famous sights. Victoria Waterfall – probably the most impressive and photogenic waterfall on the island Freshwater Lake – a big lake of pure clear water that you bathe in Botanic Gardens – The Garden is located in Roseau and has different species of plants and even animals some say it is the ideal place for a picnic in the summer if you are into that sort of thing! The weather is generally dry between January and July; with the wettest months is August to October. The hurricane season in Dominica is from June 1st to November 30th. I went at the end of September and was caught in the Hurricane George, which swept across the Caribbean in 1998. It was really strange to go around the island a few days before and see all windows boarded up and people panic buying in the supermarket. The whole island had a state of unrest, as the hurricane was getting nearer. I can remember the night before it was due my sister said that my immediate family spend the night in the same room just in case the worse happened. Both my sister and myself woke up in the middle of the night and could hear the wind moving over the island and a great speed it seemed to la st for hours. In the morning there was hardly any damage to my grandparents house where I was staying which was good and overall the island wasn’t damaged that bad unlike some of the surrounding Caribbean islands. I made a note to go in the dry season next time. Additional Info · Prices range from about four hundred to over a thousand but it really depends on the time/season you are going. · English is the official language but Creole (a French patois) is widely spoken. · Local currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar but US dollars are acceptable all over the island. You are advised to exchange your currency at the banks, where you will get the most favourable exchange rate. · Driving is on the left side of the road. · Electricity 220/240 volts, 50 cycles. A transformer is required for American appliances. Outlets are three- prong European style. Adapters may be needed.

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        17.03.2001 23:26
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        Dominica is a little known and probably lesser visited gem in the tiara-esque group of East Carribean islands. As a result, it is marvellously untouched in many ways, and fabulously underdeveloped from the point of view of a tourist. I visited at the end of last November (2000), and caught one end of the rainy season - having said that, it was not cold. As a keen diver, I spent much of the time in the water, staying in Soufriere to the South of the Island near Scott's Head. This has to be some of the best diving I have ever seen. It is quiet, in good condition, and has an enormous variety of sea life, some of which has yet to be identified properly (I found a Sea Goddess nudibranch which I have yet to find as an identified species) not to mention "the thing", a commonly viewed creature for the Dive shop staff, yet curiously remaining unidentified. Aside from diving, the beauty of this island extends thousands of feet above sea level. The rainforests which virtually cover the island have their own ominous beauty, but venture a little, and take in some of the sites. Dominica boasts the largets boiling lake in the world - quite a feat for such a small island, and although the hike is a full day, and the some, and extremely demanding (for an amateur walker, any way), it is well worth the effort. A wonderful day spent clambering through the forests. Be sure to take a guide, though, or you may be there longer than a day. And be sure take in the hot springs on the way back down the mountain. If you want soem slightly less physical activities, there is no shortage. I would recommend visiting the Emerald pool, a delightful area, the climax of which being the pool at the foot of a steady flowing waterfall. Swim in it, it is wonderful. The water is all clean, and it is reassuring to know that Dominica is home to precisely no dangerous creatures, so you can walk in perfect safety through the forests. What's more, go at the right time of year and you can jump on a boat and catch a glimpse of whales as they feed and breed 2 to 3 miles off shore - we saw five female humpbacks, and I can assure you it was breathtaking. The extra time it takes to get there is definitely well worth it. A home from home, where the water in the tap is drinkable, and the sockets in the walls have three prongs! A real bonus!

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          15.08.2000 04:30
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          Dominica is one of the lesser visited islands of the Caribbean. Situated between Guadeloupe and Martinique it is the perfect place to spend a weekend if island hopping. The island has two small airports which offer flights within the Carribean. It can be reached by Liat planes from Antigua or St. Lucia but personally I would opt for travel by boat. L'Express des Iles run a daily service calling at St. Lucia, Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe. Dominica is presented to tourists as 'The Nature Island of The Caribbean' and I feel that this title is suitably fitting. Having visited most of the Caribbean islands I found Dominica to be the most undeveloped and natural, with Montserrat coming a close second. One can take a hike up to the boiling lake or visit sulphur springs. Both a worthwhile experience. The Emerald pool is also worth a visit. It is situated in the rainforest and is a 5 minute stroll from the road. You can swim in the lush water. It is very refreshing and shouldn't be missed! Another place worth visiting is Trafalger falls. It is only a short walk to te viewing platform. Young men are keen to offer their services as guides, in return for a small fee. If you are only going to the viewing platform there is no need for a guide. Be firm with them! However, if you go beyond there to swim in a fresh water pool I would suggest you take a guide. The journey involves crossing a river and clambering over boulders. We refused a guide and as a result nearly got lost. The rocks were very wet and slippery. It is extremely dangerous, believe me! As a result we missed swimming in the pool at the otherside :o( I stayed at Picard beach cottages in Portsmouth, which is in the north. It was lovely. The small resort offers 20 wooden cottages with a kitchenette, bathroom and two bedrooms. There is also a small bar/cafe if you can't be bothed to cook for yourself! (Supermarket situated at the top of the road!)I recommend you vis it there! They will also discount their prices by up to 50% if you visit in summer (British time). For more information have a look at their website http://www.hotelbook.com/static/welcome_21004.html There are very few hotels and luxury accomodation resorts in Dominica. But if you prefer that sort of holiday then you would be much better suited to one of the Rex Halcyon resorts in St. Lucia, Antigua, Barbados or Jamaica! The North houses the best beaches. Dominica is not renowned for its beaches (the sand is black due to past volcanic eruptions). Roseau is the small capital. It is an hours drive from Portsmouth. The economy of Dominica is poor and this is shown by the state of the capital. As with most Caribbean cities it has open drains and sewers. There is a small duty free area called Captain's Dock. This has the island's smartest hotel and restaurant overlooking the dock. There are a few small duty free jewellery stores. A tip - the people of Dominica are very poor and as with all Caribbean islands there are a lot of beggars. Children come up to you in the street and ask for your spare coins. We gave them sweets instead which seemed to please them. Another tip - many of the locals are very keen to offer to guide you (in return for a small fee), if you want to be guided say yes, if you don't make that clear with a firm no. Some of them can be very persistent, be firm. Enjoy! For more info check out www.dominicatours.com/form.htm

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          "Dominica is an island nation in the Caribbean Sea. It should not be confused with the Dominican Republic, another Caribbean nation. In Latin the name means "Sunday", which was the day of its discovery by Columbus. The isle of Dominica is one of the youngest islands in the Lesser Antilles, and it is still being formed by geothermal-volcanic activity. It is a lush island of mountainous rainforests, home of many rare plant, animal and bird species. There are xeric areas in some of the western coastal regions but heavy rainfall can be expected inland. The Sisserou parrot is featured on the Dominica flag. Dominica's economy is heavily dependent on both tourism and agriculture."