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Nature Island of the Caribbean

About Dominica: This volcanic island located in the middle of the lesser Antilies between the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, has the atllest mountain in the Eastern Caribbean. It's 29 miles/46 kilometers long and 16 miles/26 kilometers wide with five separate ecosystems, from coastal scrub to mountaintop elfin forest -- each with its own range of climete, plants and animals -- found on the island. Beaches in the south are mostly volcanic, while the northern coast has a few white, coral-sand strands.

Climate:  Wintertime highs average in the mid-80s°F, while summer days hover around 90°F. It is cooler in the highlands and downright cold on mountaintops afer you've been soaked by rain. The windward side of Dominica's central mountains is one of the rainfest places on earth. Up to 400 inches/10,150 milimeters can fall in a single year, while the Caribbean side is relatively dry. Dry season is January to April, rainy season July to October.

Documents:  For U.S. and Canadian citizens, a return ticket and a passport (current or expired within five years) or certified birth certificates with a photo I.D. (for example current driver's license) are required.   A driver's license alone is not a valid proof of citizenship.   Citizens from all other countries must have a valid passport.

Currency:  Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$), which trades about 2.67 to US$1. U.S. dollars and traveler's checks are widely accepted, although you'll get a slidhtly lower exchange rate at stores and restaurants. Credit cards are accepted at most businesses that deal with tourists.

Electricity:  220 volts. Be sure to pack your own converter.

Taxes and Tipping:   There is a 5% room tax, and hotels add another 10% service charge.

Time:  Atlantic Standard Time -- one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Language:  English is the official language, but most locals speak a type of French patois (Creole) at home.

Transportation:  The taxi fares from Melville Airport are set by the Government. It pays to share a ride if you're heading to Roseau, even if it means waiting until everyone is through customs. If you ride alone, the 90-minutes drive will cost US$50. Rental cars are available at Canefield near the international airport and in Roseau. Driving is on the lefthand side. The speed limit is 20 mph through villages with no speed limit outside the twons. Drive slowly and use your horn around tight mountain turns.

Departure Tax:   The departure tax is US$12.