Transportation Options for Portsmouth

The choice is yours when it comes to getting to and around Portsmouth

Photo credit: © Ed Schipul

As the second largest city on the island, Portsmouth sees a lot of tourists pass through, whether they are staying in town or just passing through. Though it may seem like an easy decision to make, one of the most important factors to consider as you plan your trip to this coastal town has to do with transportation – both how you'll get to Portsmouth in the first place, and how you'll get around once you arrive.

Getting There

As an island, the methods for getting to Dominica are limited to air and sea travel. Direct access to the Nature Island is limited, and it is rare that a visitor will make it to the island without having to make a stop or a connection elsewhere. This is true of the three main forms of transportation to the island: air travel, sailing, and cruising.

Getting Around

Options for getting around Portsmouth locally are pretty straight forward. If you like to be the one behind the wheel, renting a car is for you. If you're someone who likes to let someone else do the driving, you can hire a taxi to get you everywhere you need to go; and finally, if you're on a budget and are feeling adventurous, you'll want to take advantage of local buses.

Air Travel

There are two airports in Dominica, yet neither is large enough to accommodate international flights. What this means is that visitors from outside of the Caribbean, such as the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia will have to fly first to a nearby Caribbean island, switch to a smaller airline, and then make their final descent to Dominica.


The most direct route to Portsmouth is by sailing there. Sailing your own private yacht, or hiring a charter is a great way to kick of a trip to the island that is known for its adventurous and eco-driven trips. There is a commercial dock located right in Portsmouth, and sailors can stop here to meet with customs officials in order to gain proper clearance for sailing around Dominica.

Click here to find out more.


Dominica is a popular stop for many cruise lines that sail the Caribbean. Cruise season lasts from December to April, and brings between 350 and 450 thousand tourists to the island annually. These guests arrive on the island, usually at one of two ports in Roseau, but also in Cabrits, then make their way along the coast or towards the interior for a day or two of adventure and eco-tourism. Portsmouth is a popular stop for cruise passengers who've landed in Cabrits because it is just a five minute drive, and gives cruisers a chance to get in a bit of shopping and dining.

Rental Cars

If you plan to pack your Portsmouth vacation full of sightseeing adventures that will take you all over the island, and you want to be in charge of when you arrive at each destination without depending on someone else to get you there, the obvious choice for local transportation for you is to rent a car. Renting a car in Portsmouth is inexpensive at just $50 to $60(USD) and there aren't many hoops to jump through to get your hands on a vehicle. You will have to purchase a local driver's permit, but this can be done directly from your rental agency with little hassle.

Before you make the final decision regarding whether or not you'll rent in Portsmouth, make sure to take the time and click here to learn about driving around town. The island's infrastructure and driving conditions can be stressful for foreign drivers, so you'll want to make sure you'll be able to keep your cool under pressure.


For those who decide they'd rather avoid driving in a foreign country, one alternative to renting a car is hiring a taxi to get them everywhere they need to go. Yes, taxi prices can add up very quickly, but the peace of mind of knowing your driver is familiar with the lay of the land and the rules of the road makes the price worth it for many. If you don't want to blow your entire transportation budget on a taxi, you can make sure you stay in an area surrounded by popular tourist necessities like shops, restaurants, and beaches, so you can walk as often as possible, and only take a taxi when necessary. Find out more about taxi services in Portsmouth here, including specific rates you can expect to pay.


A great way to save money during your trip to Portsmouth is by using the public bus system. As an added bonus, this is one of the best ways to get a feel for the local culture, which is vibrant, welcoming, and friendly. The buses operate Monday through Saturday, typically between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., and are recognized by the letters “H” or “HA” on the license plate.

If you plan on making use of the island's buses, then you will want to read more about them by clicking here


Ferry service to Dominica is generally limited to a few routes connecting the nearby French islands. As such, you will likely be unable to use the ferries as a way to move about the island itself. Still, taking a trip to one of the neighboring islands – such as Martinique or St. Lucia – can be a great way to spend a day or two of your vacation.

Be sure to click here if you want to find out more information on the ferries that go to Dominica.

There are many options to choose from with regards to traveling to and within Portsmouth, and you've probably quickly determined which options are best for you. Now is the time to get busy making reservations to ensure that exactly what you need is available for you when you arrive on the Nature Island.


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