As you plan your vacation to Roseau, you may envision getting behind the wheel of a fabulous rental car with the windows down as you explore every nook and cranny of Dominica. While this is a possibility, it takes a little bit of work to both rent a car and become familiar enough with the local way of driving before you can do so with ease.
In order to rent a car in Roseau you must be at least 21-years-old, though some rental agencies will require that you be 25. You will also need to purchase a local drivers permit, which can be done through the agency you rent with, at the airport, or at the Traffic Department for $12(USD). Make sure to have your driver's license from back home with you to prove your driving credentials. The permit is good for one month.
Rental car agencies fill the , but you'll also find them elsewhere through the capital city.
Check this table for many of the rental centers serving Roseau.
|Accessories-Plus||(767) 440-6073||4 Winston Lane - Roseau|
|(767) 448-0413||High Street - Downtown Roseau|
|(767) 448-0413||Downtown Roseau|
|(767) 449-9204||15 Hanover Street - Downtown Roseau|
|Bonus Rentals Roseau||(767) 448-2650||Fond Cole - Roseau|
|Courtesy Rentals Roseau||(767) 448-7763||10 Winston Lane - Roseau|
|Eagle Car Rentals||(767) 245-1686||Copthall - Roseau|
|(767) 449-9559||18 Housing Scheme Bath Estate - Downtown Roseau|
|(767) 448-2891||17 Old Street - Downtown Roseau|
|Island Car Canefield||(767) 255-6844||Canefield Airport - Canefield|
|Island Car Rentals||(767) 255-6844||Canefield Highway - Roseau|
|Lindo Park Car Rental||(767) 448-2599||13 Federation Drive - Roseau|
|(767) 440-8006||34 Steber Street - Downtown Roseau|
|Road Runner Car Rentals||(767) 440-2952||Canefield Highway - Roseau|
...steep inclines and very few guardrails...
Thanks to the rugged terrain, it is recommended that you make sure you rent a vehicle with four wheel drive like a jeep or other sports utility vehicle; the larger wheels on these vehicles can handle the roads and give you higher ground clearance. Whichever type of vehicle you choose, it is typical for them to have right hand drive, air conditioning, and a radio. Some may have manual transmission, so make sure to double check if this will be a problem for you.
What can be said about driving in Roseau other than that it's an adventure? For starters, driving is done on the left side of the road, where as in the United States it moves on the right side. Roads are often very narrow with steep inclines and very few guardrails to protect you from swerving off the edge of the road. The drive from the airport to Roseau is especially perilous, as it takes two hours of driving through winding mountainous terrain. Many seasoned tourists will recommend that you allow a local to take you to your hotel where you can then pick up your rental – and bring Dramamine if you are prone to motion sickness.
Driving around Roseau, you should have no problem finding road signs to direct you, but outside of town they become fewer and you may end up relying on landmarks to guide you rather than street names. You will also find most streets outside of town to be riddled with pot holes and not very well designed. There are no places to pull over, and if you do have need to do so pay close attention. Often, what appears to be a place to pull off is actually a ditch. The one exception to this rule is the Main Road that runs between Roseau and Portsmouth. It was paved as recently as 2011, and is the most “western” road on the island.
Always be on the lookout for pedestrians and animals on the road as you drive. The lack of sidewalks means locals take no issue treading on the pavement, and they expect you to watch out for them. If you are driving from Picard or Portsmouth towards Roseau, you will encounter a large heard of cows that frequent the roads. Be prepared to stop and let them cross, or simply go around. Other drivers on the road are friendly, but drive recklessly fast, zipping around corners, and having no issue with tailgating you until you either move faster or get out of their way. They are known to honk or flash their high beams on curved roads so you now they are coming, and you should do the same.
Although seat belt laws are not enforced, for your safety it is strongly recommended that you wear one at all times when you are in your rental.
In addition to the $10 to $20(USD) a day you'll spend if you add insurance to your rental, you can expect to pay between $50 and $60(USD) a day to rent a car in Roseau, which is comparable to many places in the United States. On top of this, a deposit of somewhere between $800 and $2500(USD) will be held on your credit card. If you return the vehicle in pristine condition, your deposit will be returned to your car in full.
This next set of tables offer a rough indication of the local rental market. The low rates in the tables are usually only available from the least expensive agencies during the slowest times of the year. The high end of the range is what you might need to pay when demand is at its peak.
|Rental Type||Low Rate||High Rate|
|Mid Size Car||$ 45.00||$ 52.00|
|Light SUV||$ 49.00||$ 60.00|
|Standard SUV||$ 60.00||$ 75.00|
|Heavy SUV||$ 90.00||$ 102.00|
|Rental Type||Low Rate||High Rate|
|Mid Size Car||$ 300.00||$ 330.00|
|Light SUV||$ 329.00||$ 375.00|
|Standard SUV||$ 400.00||$ 475.00|
|Heavy SUV||$ 610.00||$ 650.00|
Be prepared to pay a bundle for gas. Prices are regularly over $5.00(USD) a gallon. Fortunately, gas stations can be found in nearly every town, so you needn't worry about running out of fuel as you drive from place to place so long as you gas up early. They tend to close before the dinner rush.
Even though you should not have any issues locating gas stations, it is still a good idea to take a look at the table right below for an orientation of where some are located.
|(767) 440-2958||Goodwill - Downtown Roseau|
|(767) 448-2599||Federation Drive - Downtown Roseau|
|(767) 448-4259||Downtown Roseau|
If you still think renting a car in Roseau is for you, be sure to call and reserve your rental in advance. You don't want to end up with the “runt of the litter,” simply because you waited too long to make your reservation.
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