About the island
The Commonwealth of Dominica is a small island in the Caribbean just north of Martinique and south of Guadeloupe. (It has no relation to the Dominican Republic.) Known as the "Nature Island", Dominica has a lush green terrain replete with mountains, waterfalls, and clean ocean waters. Noticeably absent from Dominica are international resorts and industrial tourism. Despite its large size, with an area of 290 square miles and a population of over 70,000, the island has fewer than 1,000 hotel rooms. As a result, the landscape and culture remain unspoiled. The island has fantastic scuba diving and is a great place to learn to dive (see below).
Where to stay
As the conference hotel is already fully booked, those unable to reserve a room at the Fort Young should try the Garraway Hotel, Anchorage Hotel, Sutton Place Hotel, or Evergreen Hotel. Hotel rates on the island tend to fall between $60US and $125US.
For those interested in soaking in a little more of the local culture and saving some money, rooms in guest houses can often be obtained for $30US or below. Try the Kent Anthony Guest House, Vena's Guest House, Ma Bass Central Guest House, or the Poinsetta Hotel. The availability of air conditioning and private bath vary from room to room and guest house to guest house. Check first if such accommodations are important to you.
For those who want to also place their name on the Fort Young Hotel's waiting list, you will need to choose from one of the following two classes of room:
|US$80/night||Standard||One bed (twin or queen).|
|US$125/night||Oceanfront||Two beds with an oceanfront view and free Internet access.|
To get on the waiting list, use the Fort Young's web form and use the comment box to give the conference name, rate, and to let them know that you are willing to have your name on the waiting list. Be sure to have reservations elsewhere, as many on the waiting list are likely to be disappointed. To ensure that those who are pulled off the waiting list have time cancel their other reservations, cancellations at the Fort Young must be made 21 days in advance to avoid penalties.
How to get there
The official tourism web site of Dominica lists numerous travel options. Those coming from the USA will likely find the best way to get to Dominica is by flying American Airlines San a Juan, Puerto Rico. Those on a tight budget may save a bit by flying JetBlue to San Juan (under $300 from JFK and under $600 from Oakland as quoted on Oct 18) and take American from there ($240 as quoted on Oct 18).
The three letter airport code for dominica is DOM. Some web sites (e.g. Travelocity) will lead you to beleive that flights land at Roseau, though the airport you arrive at will actually be Melville Hall. Beware that travel from the airport to Roseau takes between 60 and 90 minutes.
You can also check the current inter-island ferry schedule.
Airline Update - January 10
One of the best bargain flight options currently available is to fly to St. Johns in Antigua and pick up a cheap LIAT flight from there. Expedia and others have been offering some cheap web fares to Antigua and LIAT has bargains if you are flexible with your travel times. These flights appear to only be available at these prices if you buy the trip to Antigua and the LIAT flights separately.
Learn to Dive!
With an amazingly rich marine environment in close proximity to land, Dominica is a fantastic place to dive.
We're currently making arragements for a free scuba instructional video to be scheduled at the end of the conference day on Monday or Tuesday. Those who watch the video and want to jump in the water will be able to sign up for a "discover diving" course with a local dive shop at reduced cost. While the conference schedule won't give you time to complete a full PADI open water certification, those who stay through the weekend may consider this option. Do take into account that you'll need at least two additional days in the water to complete your certifcation and that you'll need to wait at least 12 hours after you last dive before flying.
If you already know how to dive and would like to dive with a group from the conferenceor, contact the conference chair, Stuart Schechter. Stuart would also be happy to put you in touch with a dive shop.
The government of Dominica has a tourism web site.