Cruising in Dominica


Dominica was the last of the Caribbean islands to be colonized by Europeans due chiefly to the fierce resistance of the native Caribs. France ceded possession to Great Britain in 1763, which made the island a colony in 1805. In 1980, two years after independence, Dominica's fortunes improved when a corrupt and tyrannical administration was replaced by that of Mary Eugenia CHARLES, the first female prime minister in the Caribbean, who remained in office for 15 years. Some 3,000 Carib Indians still living on Dominica are the only pre-Columbian population remaining in the eastern Caribbean.


Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about one-half of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago
Geographic coordinates: 15 25 N, 61 20 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 754 sq km
Land: 754 sq km
Water: 0 sq km
Land boundaries: 0 km


148 km

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 12 nm
Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


Tropical; moderated by northeast trade winds; heavy rainfall


Rugged mountains of volcanic origin

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
Highest point: Morne Diablatins 1,447 m


The Dominican economy depends on agriculture, primarily bananas, and remains highly vulnerable to climatic conditions and international economic developments. Production of bananas dropped precipitously in 2003, a major reason for the 1% decline in GDP. Tourism increased in 2003 as the government sought to promote Dominica as an "ecotourism" destination.

Development of the tourism industry remains difficult, however, because of the rugged coastline, lack of beaches, and the absence of an international airport. The government began a comprehensive restructuring of the economy in 2003 - including elimination of price controls, privatization of the state banana company, and tax increases - to address Dominica's economic crisis and to meet IMF targets.

In order to diversify the island's production base, the government is attempting to develop an offshore financial sector and is planning to construct an oil refinery on the eastern part of the island.


Airports: 2 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2005)
Roadways: total: 780 km
paved: 393 km
unpaved: 387 km (1999)

Merchant marine

Total: 40 ships (1000 GRT or over) 313,180 GRT/506,662 DWT
By type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 25, chemical tanker 3, container 1, petroleum tanker 5, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 1, specialized tanker 1
Foreign-owned: 34 (Estonia 8, Greece 3, Latvia 2, Norway 1, Russia 2, Saudi Arabia 1, Singapore 11, Syria 2, Turkey 1, UAE 3) (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Portsmouth, Roseau


Dominica is the only Caribbean state to challenge Venezuela's sovereignty claim over Aves Island and joins the other island nations in challenging whether the feature sustains human habitation, a criterion under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which permits Venezuela to extend its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf claims over a large portion of the Caribbean Sea   

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Anguilla - Antigua and Barbuda - Aruba - Bahamas - Barbados - British Virgin Islands - Cayman Islands - Cuba - Dominica - Dominican Republic - Grenada - Guadeloupe - Haiti - Jamaica - St. Kitts and Nevis - St. Lucia - Martinique - Montserrat - Netherlands Antilles - Puerto Rico - Trinidad and Tobago - Turks and Caicos - St. Vincent and the Grenadines - Virgin Islands (USA)

Further Reading

Back to "vacations"