The island of Dominica uses the East Caribbean dollar as its national currency. This might give you an idea of where in the world the island is located, but we’ll find out more about that below.
As you might expect of a currency called the dollar, the East Caribbean dollar is divided into 100 cents. You might well be familiar with the denominations that are available for this currency too. The coins are available as 1, 2, 5, 10 and 25 cent coins. Meanwhile there is a one dollar coin and a two dollar one as well.
There are an additional five banknotes in use, ranging from the 5 dollar note through to the 10, 20 and 50 dollar notes, and ending in the 100 dollar note. Since there are so many dollar currencies in use around the world, you’ll typically see the letters EC in front of the normal dollar sign (hence EC$) when prices are mentioned. This clarifies the fact you are dealing with the East Caribbean dollar.
This part of the world has gone through several currencies and many changes in this area so far. For example while pieces of eight and pound currencies were in use in some parts, others used dollar-based accounts to get by. In this sense the dollar has been around in one form or another for quite some time. Examples include the British West Indies version of the dollar and also the US dollar itself, which was used at one point in the British Virgin Islands.
It would not be until 1965 that the East Caribbean dollar officially came into being. It has been in use in various places ever since.
As far as islands in this part of the world are concerned, Dominica makes it pretty easy to get by with the local currency. The best currencies to take with you will either be the US dollar or the British pound. The reason for this is that while the East Caribbean dollar is the official currency on Dominica, you can also use these two currencies quite happily as they’re accepted as legal tender there.
Watch out for local banks when you want to exchange your own currency for the local one. You can also do this at bureaux de change on the island. Aside from this you also have the option of taking in traveller’s cheques, so you can see that getting money here is a pretty easy process. Again, the best currencies for your traveller’s cheques will either be US dollars or British pounds.
As for paying with cards you can do that on Dominica as well. Mastercards and Visas are generally accepted although you might come across some outlets that won’t take them. If you find you need cash in a hurry look out for a cash machine that will dispense East Caribbean dollars for you.
Any good currency converter will give you the exchange rate you need. The more often the converter is updated with fresh information the better. You should however remember that exchanging cash on the island will incur a charge for the privilege. The exchange rate you get from a converter will be the standard rate and it won’t include any charges. It does however give you a rough idea of what to expect.
Dominica is commonly known as the Commonwealth of Dominica and there is a High Commission representing it in the UK. There’s no need to visit in person if you want to find out more about the island though. Their website is packed with information about the island and has a useful section on tourism as well. You’ll find the home page at http://www.dominicahighcommission.co.uk/.
Dominica is a much-loved island and many tourists visit it every year for a taste of the Caribbean. Of course a certain amount of crime does occur on the island – it would be very difficult to imagine anywhere with no crime at all. However there isn’t too much to worry about if you take the proper steps to protect yourself.
For example wherever you choose to stay should be safe and easy to lock up while you are away and also when you are safely indoors for the night. If you have opted for hotel accommodation make sure it includes the use of a room safe. This is the ideal place to keep your passport, not to mention credit cards when you don’t need them or additional cash you don’t need to take out for the day. The same applies to traveller’s cheques if you are carrying them and you don’t want to exchange any on a particular day.
In terms of safety while you are out and about, it’s really mostly a matter of protecting yourself by not flaunting any wealth. Be careful and alert when using cash machines and keep an eye on any bags you might be carrying too. Opportunistic crime is probably the main thing to protect yourself against, and you can make sure you aren’t affected by keeping an eye on your possessions.
Dominica is one of a string of islands that sits in the Caribbean Sea, hence its use of the East Caribbean dollar. To the north of the island the nearest land mass is Guadeloupe, whereas to the south you will find Martinique. This chain of islands is also sometimes referred to as the Windward Island chain.
The capital of Dominica is a town called Roseau. This is a charming if rather small settlement (considering it’s the capital city) on the western side of the island. Large cruise ships sometimes dock here for people to explore the town, and they do rather dwarf their surroundings! If you can, make the time to visit the farmers’ market in the town and take the time to wander around its streets. You can also escape to the Botanical Gardens which are a fascinating and relaxing place to stop for a while.
Dominica exists in a volcanic part of the world so it should come as no surprise to learn there are some active parts of the island you can go and see. Boiling Lake is a must-see for sure, since it really does live up to its name. The water bubbles away constantly under a heavy vapour-filled air. The lake has a habit of changing depth and consistency over the years too, all tied in with the eruptions that have occurred over time.
One of the clear highlights of the island is Morne Trois Pitons National Park. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and as you might expect from the name, it is home to a mountain featuring three separate peaks. While the scenery here is breath-taking in many ways, it is also dotted with attractions that derive purely from volcanic activity. For example there are mud ponds that constantly boil and erupt, and geysers that do the same thing. The park also features no fewer than five volcanoes, which gives you some idea of the size of the park, particularly in relation to the island as a whole. It’s amazing to see the valley and witness steam coming out of the ground. It certainly makes for some unique photo opportunities!
While the island is commonly known as Nature’s Island, there is plenty to do in the water as well as on the land. If you have experience of diving you’ll love exploring what awaits you beneath the waves. The marine habitat here is just as engaging and thrilling as everything you’ll find on the land. There is a chance to see the beautiful seahorse as well as a myriad of other creatures. Even snorkelling here can be an experience, although diving does of course give you the ability to go deeper and see more.
Dominica does sometimes get confused with the Dominican Republic. However the two are very different from each other and offer completely different experiences. Dominica is a treasure in itself, an island with far more to offer by way of natural treasures than you may at first think.
While you can dream away the days lying on a beach somewhere around the island, there is plenty more to enjoy than this. Don’t miss out on the many natural attractions the island has to share, since these are an essential part of what makes it as stunning as it is. Be sure to sample some of the tempting street snacks you’ll see offered from stalls too, as they are as good a way as any to introduce yourself to the Dominican cuisine. Where will you begin your exploration of Dominica when you arrive?