Located on the opposite side of the island from the airport in Roseau, many tourists have the idea that they will fly into Dominica, rent a car, and then drive to their final destination in Calibishie. While this is absolutely a possibility, tourists should be aware of what renting a car on the island really entails.
If you're going to rent a vehicle for your stay on the island, you'll likely do it the moment you arrive, however it is plausible that you'll hire an airport transfer to initially get you to your hotel, then pick up your rental car later in the day.
Check the following chart for more information.
|Avis DOM Airport||(767) 440-9461||Douglas-Charles Airport - 1.3 mi. (2.1 km) West-Northwest of Marigot|
|(767) 448-2650||Douglas-Charles Airport - 1.3 mi. (2.1 km) West-Northwest of Marigot|
|Courtesy Rentals DOM Airport||(767) 445-7677||Douglas-Charles Airport - 1.3 mi. (2.1 km) West-Northwest of Marigot|
|Island Rentals DOM Airport||(767) 255-6844||Douglas-Charles Airport - 1.3 mi. (2.1 km) West-Northwest of Marigot|
|Valley Rent-A-Car||(767) 275-1310||1.2 mi. (1.9 km) Northwest of Marigot|
It is up to you what type of vehicle you request to rent, but it is recommended – especially for the roads of Calibishie– that you rent a vehicle that can handle the terrain. Four wheel drive and great suspension are a must, so if you can get a Jeep or other sports utility vehicle, go for it. If you require a vehicle with an automatic transmission, make sure you request it, because both automatic and manual transmissions are available. Regardless of the vehicle you get, it will likely come equipped with air conditioning, a radio, and right hand drive.
Each rental agency has its own set of rules with regards to who they will rent to and how much it will cost, but over-all, you can expect to spend between $50 and $60(USD) a day, plus the cost of insurance which ranges from $10 to $20(USD) a day. If you want to rent a car on the island, you will have to be at least 21-years-old, though most places will require you to be 25. Also be sure to bring your driver's license. It will come in handy when you try and purchase local driver's permit, which is necessary to drive and rent a car on the island. The cost is $12(USD), and you'll find them at the Traffic Department, the airport, and at your rental car agency. Once you have one in hand, it is good for one full month.
In addition to these costs, you'll also be expected to have between $800 and $2500(USD) available on your credit card so that the agency can reserve a deposit to protect them in the event you do not care for their vehicle. If you return your rental in the same condition you received it, your deposit will be returned in full; however, damages to the care will be paid for by taking a specific amount from the deposit.
Seat belt laws on Dominica are rarely enforced; however, it is always recommended that you use them and here's why: driving on the island is precarious more often than not. Driving is done on the left side of the road, which can be a struggle for drivers from the United States who are used to traffic moving on the right side. In addition to this, the roads are often winding, narrow, and feature steep inclines with no guard rails to protect drivers from going over the edge, and there are plenty of steep drop-offs to be concerned with. Places to pull off on the side of the road to gather your bearings are quite rare, so even when you need a break, you'll have to keep going until you find a side road or a parking lot to exit at. Even if it appears there is a swatch of dirt to park on, don't. Often, these end up being ditches that are deeper than they appear, and you may end up getting stuck. Aside from these points, most roads in Calibishie are majorly underdeveloped and riddled with potholes.
Another problem is to be aware of is the lack of sidewalks. Because of this, pedestrians are often found walking in the middle of the street. People aren't the only bodies you need to take care to look out for. Livestock can also be found wandering the streets, especially between Picard or Portsmouth and Roseau.
Many foreign drivers instantly feel uncomfortable on the roads of Dominica, not because many of them are in poor condition and rarely have street signs, but because local drivers can be quite reckless. Tailgating and passing are common problems, and it will probably happen to you more than once. Don't take it as a sign of rude behavior, just that locals always seem to be in a hurry and the lack of enforced speed limits allows them to take advantage. One thing locals do that you will be grateful for is that they honk their horns or flash their brights as they go around narrow corners. This is to warn you that they are coming and to help avoid accidents. You should behave similarly.
The gas situation on the island is good, though expensive. You can expect to pay over $5(USD) on a regular basis, but gas stations are not hard to come by. A word to the wise, fill up before dinner, because gas stations are rarely open after dark.
Since you could potentially come across issues coming across places to refuel, see the chart that follows for an orientation of where some of them are located.
|0.4 mi. (0.6 km) South of Portsmouth|
If you're up for a challenge, rent a car for your stay in Calibishie. The poor roads and reckless driving make the experience an adventure, but many travelers wouldn't have it any other way.
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