Pagua Bay House is easy to get to upon arrival, exit the Melville Hall Airport going South for exactly 3 miles & you’ll see our entrance across from the Atlantic Ocean overlooking Pagua Bay. Dominica on the other hand, isn’t as easy to get to, which is why it still remains the hidden gem that it is; coordinating travel can be challenging! Following are some travel tips to assist you in making your journey a little bit easier.
Travel by Air
LIAT provides international flights from US and Europe through hubs in Antigua, Barbados, St. Maarten, Guadeloupe and Martinique. Make sure you check the timeline, sometimes you can sit in Antiqua for nearly an entire day before you get to your destination.
- American Airlines provides connecting flights through Puerto Rico & most of the smaller Caribbean islands. They are expected to be pulling out of the Caribbean March 2013.
- BVI Airlines has morning & evening flights through St. Martin. This allows more flexibility with connecting flights, making it possible to get here in one day. There are also some relatively inexpensive airlines, which fly to St. Martin, including: JetBlue, Spirit & AirTran. This is the route we personally choose to fly and never have any trouble! You can book on-line via Travelocity or through their local booking agents:
Ground Handlers – Melville Hall Airport: (767) 445-8936
Whitchurch Travel - Roseau: (767) 448-2181/0111
- Air Sunshine Another new option, providing more convenient flight times making it easier to get here in one day. They fly to San Juan, PR & a plethora of other islands. They also do charters. Following is link to their web site that lists a telephone number for reservations:
Travel by Sea
If you’re coming from Guadeloupe, Martinique or St. Lucia you can take a ferry operated by L'Express des Îles which arrives at the port in Roseau (SW side of the island); upon arrival there is about an 1 & ½ hour drive to Pagua Bay (NE side of the island), with notice our driver can pick you up & bring you to the hotel for $200 - 250EC. Taxi drivers should also be available at the port, if no one is around you can always find a driver at the Ft.Young Hotel, which is a few minutes’ walk down the bay front. Car rental is also available, but must be pre-booked. If you arrive late, I wouldn’t suggest driving yourself to Pagua Bay, the roads are not well lit and signage is poor. We can organize transportation for you and have a car delivered the following day to the hotel. If you have difficulty navigating through their web you can book through their local agent Whitchurch Travel:
Passport & immigration
Immigration officials require a valid passport on arrival. All need to show a return ticket and some need to have a visa. Visitors coming from a specified list of countries, who intend to stay for 21 days or less, do not require a visa.
One more important note, there is a departure tax of $23USD/$59ECD. There is an ATM at the airport, but it is not always in service and they do not take Credit Cards.
Upon arrival, when going through customs you must state where you will be staying for your Holiday, FYI.
Taxis are available at the airports and in Roseau, and can be arranged all over the island; we have our favorites and would be happy to arrange transportation for you if you require before, during or at the end of your Holiday. We have worked out a set rate from the Melville Hall Airport with the Taxi Association of $20USD & we provide complimentary transportation upon your departure.
We can help you organize your car rental prior to your arrival. You can pick up your rental car from the airport or ferry building in Roseau/Portsmouth and they will also deliver directly to the hotel for your convenience. The cost is around $50US per day on average, plus taxes & driver’s license, which is required by law. Check your insurance company or credit card prior to travelling to see if your car insurance is covered; it usually is and that will save you a few bucks when renting a car. There are a number of car rental agencies on the island offering vehicles for rent. The two we primarily use, that have nice vehicles & good service are:
English is the official language of Dominica; however a large portion of the population speaks Kwéyòl (Creole), which is based primarily on French and Carib vocabularies.
The local currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$), which trades at EC$2.67 to US$1.00. Most businesses accept United States Dollars, British Pounds, and Euros.
Cash is king. Only ‘big’ companies take credit cards & Travelers Cheques, the only accepted credit cards are Mastercard & Visa, no AMEX. That doesn’t mean I suggest carrying a lot of cash. There are two ATM’s close to the hotel, one at the Airport and the other at the Marigot Credit Union….being that it is a 3rd world country, they don’t always workJ Never fear, we (Pagua Bay) would be happy to provide you with cash and we will just add the amount onto your bill, which you can pay at the end of your vacation. There are also banks & ATM’s in Portsmouth & Roseau.
Cell phone roaming rates are extremely expensive. Research your provider options before you leave, for international rates. Text messaging is an option which will allow you to communicate back home at a less expensive rate & blackberry messenger is free internationally. If you’re not familiar, check out Skype which is an excellent way to keep in touch, it’s inexpensive and/or free means of communication via computer. If you choose not to bring your computer, we have a computer for your use, free of charge.
Pagua Bay House utilizes 220 volts, most electronics are 110 – 220v adaptable; adapters are provided in all rooms. We will provide a 110v transformer upon request & we offer complimentary Wi-Fi.
There is a clinic in Marigot, as well as a pharmacy & a general practitioner, who makes house calls. You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance, which includes medical evacuation by air ambulance, before travelling.
Practice common sense in your own personal safety department and the protection of your property. Maintain at least the same level of security awareness as you would at home, always be aware of your surroundings. Do not carry large amounts of cash and jewellery. Valuables and travel documents should be left in the hotel safe. Take precautions to secure your valuables, and lock doors and windows, day & night, this pertains to both your car & your hotel room. Petty theft isn’t uncommon, especially car break in’s. Always lock your vehicle & store valuables in the trunk, i.e. Kindle/iPods. At Pagua Bay House we have on-site security through the evening & management is on-site during the day. Never go to remote locations without a proper guide, which we are happy to arrange for you. If at any point you have any questions or concerns about your safety, accommodations or anything else that affects you, let our staff know so we may rectify the situation immediately. Your safety & comfort is our number one priority.
Dominica is on Eastern Standard Time and doesn’t observe Daylight Savings.
Climate, Hair & Bugs
It’s almost always warm & sunny, with intermittent rainfall. I suggest packing layers; despite the warmth, the breeze at night can be chilly, especially on the Atlantic side. You might want a pashmina, something with long sleeves or a light sweater at night. For the ladies, I don’t know what to tell you about your hair, I’ve given up! I don’t bother, but we do provide hairdryers upon request. Bring sunblock and bug spray. Yes, there are random bugs here, but there is nothing that can hurt you. We don’t have mosquitos at Pagua Bay due to the prevailing winds of the Atlantic, but they are here. You’ll get them on your hikes and in areas with less wind. If you forget, we have ample supply of sunscreen & bug spray on hand.