Banks -- Banks are open Monday to Thursday from 8am to 2pm, Friday from 8am to 5pm. There are several major bank branches in Roseau, complete with ATMs that dispense EC dollars.

Currency -- Dominica uses the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$), worth about EC$2.70 to US$1 (EC$1 = US37¢). At press time, the Eastern Caribbean dollar was trading to the British pound at the rate of EC$1 = 23p. (Stated differently, £1 = EC$4.27.) U.S. dollars are readily accepted throughout the island, though you'll usually get change in EC dollars. Unless otherwise specified, prices in this chapter are quoted in U.S. dollars.

Customs -- Dominica is lenient, allowing you to bring personal and household effects, plus 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, and 40 ounces of liquor or wine per person.

Documents -- To enter, U.S. and Canadian citizens must have a passport. In addition, an ongoing or return ticket must be shown. British visitors should have a valid passport.

Electricity -- The electricity is 220-240-volt AC (50 cycles), so both adapters and transformers are necessary for U.S.-made appliances. It's smart to bring a flashlight with you, in case of power outages.

Emergencies -- To call the police, report a fire, or summon an ambulance, dial tel. 999.

Hospital -- There's Princess Margaret Hospital, Federation Drive, Goodwill (tel. 767/448-2231), but those with serious medical conditions may want to forego a visit to the hospital in Dominica, as island medical facilities are often inadequate.

Language -- English is the official language. Locals often speak a Creole-French patois.

Pharmacies -- The island's best-stocked drugstore is Jolly's Pharmacy, in Roseau at 36 Great George St. and 12 King George V St. Both branches share the same phone number and hours (tel. 767/448-3388). They're open Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 5:30pm, and Saturday from 8:30am to 2:30pm.

Safety -- Although crime is rare here, you should still safeguard your valuables. Never leave them unattended on the beach or in a locked car.

Taxes -- A 10% government room tax is added on accommodations, and a 15% tax applies to alcoholic drinks and food items. Anyone who remains on Dominica for more than 24 hours must pay a $22 departure tax.

Telephone -- To call Dominica from the United States, dial 1, then 767 (the country code for Dominica) and the local number. To call Dominica from another island within the Caribbean, just dial 767 plus the seven-digit local number. International direct dialing is available on Dominica, as well as U.S. direct service through AT&T. You can contact AT&T in Dominica by dialing tel. 800/225-5288. Most hotel telephone operators throw up their hands at even placing a long-distance call for a resident. Instead, they connect their clients to the island's long-distance phone operator, who dials the call for a client, and then calls are billed directly to a client's room.

Time -- Dominica is on Atlantic Standard Time, 1 hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the United States. Dominica does not observe daylight saving time, so when the United States changes to daylight saving time, clocks in Dominica and the U.S. East Coast tell the same time.

Tipping -- Most hotels and restaurants add a 10% service charge to bills; check carefully to see if it's been added. If this charge has not been included, tipping is up to you, though an additional 15% for particularly good service is always welcome.

Water -- Tap water is generally considered safe to drink, but because it's different from what you're used to, it still might cause a stomach disorder. Better stick to bottled water, to be on the safe side.

Weather -- Daytime temperatures average between 70° and 85°F (21°C-29°C). Nights are much cooler, especially in the mountains. The rainy season is June to October, when there can be hurricane activity. Dominica lies in the hurricane belt, and fierce storms have taken their toll on the island over the years.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.