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When I first visited Dominica, I was immediately captivated by the charm and beauty of the island. The people were extremely friendly and the island is blessed with an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables which makes it a fantastic place to live.
Dominica is an excellent Caribbean island to retire because it is safe, naturally beautiful, has a stable currency and citizenship is easy to acquire. A Dominican passport can be obtained by an individual via a non-refundable deposit into the country’s economic diversification fund of USD$100,000.
This article explores all the advantages and disadvantages of retiring in Dominica with contributions from a Dominican.
Advantages of Retiring In Dominica
Dominica’s Currency Is Stable
The official currency of Dominica is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar which has been pegged to the US (United States) dollar since July 7th, 1976 at a rate of USD $1 to XCD $2.70.
This currency is also shared by seven other Eastern Caribbean islands and is managed through a regional central bank which is based in St Kitts.
The US dollar is generally accepted at many places in Dominica. As with other countries, businesses on the island at times may be skeptical accepting higher denomination of the US dollar. If you pay in US dollars you will receive change in XCD dollars
The Island Is Safe And Peaceful
Dominica is extremely safe when compared to its regional counterparts. According to the US Department State, Overseas Advisory Council based on a 2018 crime report per 100,000 citizens, Dominica had 15 murders, 1 case of kidnapping and 46 cases of vehicle thefts throughout the year.
Residential burglaries being 427 that year are approximately half of the residential thefts experienced in the highest destination being 765 in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Dominicans Are Friendly People
Dominicans are friendly and hospitality is at the heart of its culture. As a Christian country, most persons on the island visit a place of worship on Sundays. One surefire way to meet locals on the island is to visit church.
Usually churches in addition to Sunday worship have several different departments and groups that you can join for children, men and women which provide a great way to integrate into the local community.
There are also several social and cultural events such as “happy hour events” at Dominica’s most prestigious Fort Young Hotel among other popular venues.
There are also various events organized by Dominica’s hotel and tourism association and Discover Dominica Authority such as World Creole Music Festival and Jazz & Creole Festival. Both of these events bring business owners, families and expats together in an entertaining way.
Mero Beach is one of the most popular and white sand beach on the island.
There Is A Citizenship Investment Programme
If you are considering making Dominica your long term home, there is an easy route to citizenship. Dominica’s passport is well respected globally with 143 visa free travel to countries around the world.
According to Dominicacitizenshipbyinvestment.com, the following are the costs for each applicant noted at the time of writing.
|Number of Applicants||Costs ($ USD)|
|Main Applicant & Spouse||150,000|
|Main Applicant, Spouse, & Up To 2 Children||175,000|
|Additional Dependents ( Each)||25,000|
|Eligible Siblings 18 to 25 years ( Each)||50,000|
Disadvantages of Retiring in Dominica
No International Flights From Major Cities
Dominica has no international airlines flying directly to the island from Europe and the USA.
Therefore, persons from international cities must first connect through other Caribbean territories such as Antigua, Barbados, Martinique, St Maarten, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, and St Lucia.
Thereafter, visitors can transfer to the island via a regional carrier such as Liat, Caribbean Airlines and Seaborne Airlines. The majority of the flights lands at the larger of the two airports
The Government of Dominica is currently in the process of building an international airport with an expected date of completion of 2025. It is anticipated that this will change the landscape of tourism in Dominica and it will be easier to get a direct and non-stop flight in the near future.
Furthermore, American Airlines has announced plans to begin serving the island from December 2021. This will make the island more accessible from the United States.
When I visited the island, I decided to rent a car. However, I found driving on the island intimidating due to Dominica’s steep terrain. The road networks are in poor condition and the hills are steeper than all the Caribbean islands I have visited.
In addition, the signs in Roseau could be improved to make it easier for a newcomer to understand the flow of the traffic. As a result, I decided to rely on taxis instead to explore the island as driving was challenging.
Tourism is Still Underdeveloped
One of the main economic pillars of Dominica is tourism. However, Dominica is one of the least penetrated tourism islands in the Caribbean. In 2019, according to tourism analysis.com, the island welcomed 332, 400 visitors, the majority of these via cruise ships.
To put this into better context, this figure is approximately 63% of the visitor arrivals into Grenada for the said year. The tourism sector however suffered greatly due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017.
Despite the fact that the island is currently lagging behind other Caribbean islands, the construction of its first international airport carded for 2025 could result in exponential tourism growth for the future which may open the doors for the successful launch of tourism related businesses.
Generally infrastructure in Dominica is not advanced as that of other Caribbean islands. There is a Government owned hospital and also a private hospital called Justin Fadipe hospital located in the parish of Saint Joseph.
Individuals who require more advanced medical care tends to seek assistance in the nearby French Territories or Barbados. Medical at the Government owned hospital is free only for citizens. There is a School of Medicine on the island called All Saints University.
Threat of Natural Disasters High
Dominica is in the hurricane belt and was recently devastated by hurricane Maria in 2017.
Over 90% of the buildings and other infrastructure was destroyed by this category 5 storm. Therefore, if you are retiring on this island, be prepared that it is in the path of hurricanes.
Nevertheless as a result of its experiences, the island is poised to become the world’s first hurricane proof country. In addition there is an agency now established on the island called CREAD tasked with spearheading this initiative.
High Cost of Living
Dominica is expensive as prices of goods are comparable or in some cases more than those in larger countries such as the US.
Apart from fruits and vegetables, most of the food consumed on the island is imported. Transportation costs coupled with Government duties and taxes are added to the initial cost of products.
In addition on average a family of four will spend around XCD$300 on Electricity, XCD$100 for water and XCD $200 for cable and internet monthly.
Below is a sample table of the wholesale products adapted from a local distributor on the island, Fine Foods Distribution in August 2021.
These are the prices at the time of writing. Kindly remember that these prices are wholesale/ bulk prices. Therefore if you are buying these goods at a retail outlet, one should expect that the prices will be higher.
|Cream of Island Flour||25||32.50||1.30|
|Sussex Corn Beef- 12 oz||24||160.6||6.69|
|Distinction Evaporated Milk (410g)||48||107.15||2.23|
|Drummond Lentils (1lbs)||24||74.53||3.11|
|Mauby Concentrate -750 ML||12||98.79||8.23|
|Morning Foods Caribbean Crunch-500g||12||97.41||8.12|
|Mornflake Oats -750g||6||41.7||6.95|
|Kean Cranberry Drink||12||69.23||5.77|
Wholesale Prices of Food Items In Dominica ( In $XCD)
Dominica is a fantastic choice for retirement if you are in search of a peaceful and safe place with friendly people. Alternatively, the island is in the hurricane path, prices are higher and its infrastructure is not as developed as an advanced country.
If you are contemplating traveling to Dominica or the rest of the Caribbean, cruising is an affordable option to consider. I have recently completed an informative course by cruise specialist, Emma Cruises which you should check out titled How To Cruise For Less.
This course provides detail tips and techniques on how to save money while cruising onboard, onshore as well as the importance of insurance. So if you if you are considering a cruise for your next Caribbean vacation, check out How To Cruise For Less.
Need More Information?
Feel free to browse our website for more content on Dominica and the Caribbean by using the search bar located at the top of this page. The following are some of our articles which we believe may be suitable for you.
Best Caribbean Islands For Solo Female Travelers
Living In Dominica ( Pros & Cons Fully Explained)