Roseau, Dominica | Cruise port of call | CruiseBe
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Roseau, Dominica

Roseau is the capital city of

Dominica

and has many restaurants, small shops and wonderful views of the mountains (to the east) and the Caribbean Sea (to the west).

It is on the west (leeward) coast of Dominica and has a combination of modern and colonial French architecture.

Roseau is Dominica's most important port for foreign trade. Some exports include bananas, bay oil, vegetables, grapefruit, oranges, cocoa, off-road vehicles, and snowmobiles. The service sector is also a large part of the local economy.

There is a prominent diocese called Roman Catholic Diocese of Roseau.

History

The city of Roseau sits on an alluvial fan formed hundreds of years ago as the Roseau River meandered across the area from what is now known as Newtown to its... Read more

Roseau, Dominica

Destination:
Roseau is the capital city of

Dominica

and has many restaurants, small shops and wonderful views of the mountains (to the east) and the Caribbean Sea (to the west).

It is on the west (leeward) coast of Dominica and has a combination of modern and colonial French architecture.

Roseau is Dominica's most important port for foreign trade. Some exports include bananas, bay oil, vegetables, grapefruit, oranges, cocoa, off-road vehicles, and snowmobiles. The service sector is also a large part of the local economy.

There is a prominent diocese called Roman Catholic Diocese of Roseau.

History

The city of Roseau sits on an alluvial fan formed hundreds of years ago as the Roseau River meandered across the area from what is now known as Newtown to its current location. Over the last 2,000 years, Amerindians migrating through the islands settled the area attracted by the nearby river. With the arrival of the Europeans in the 16th and 17th centuries, a small settlement was established by the French who, in their tradition of naming places after what they found there, used their name for the river reeds that grew along the banks. A plan was created for the settlement that mirrored examples in France where streets extended from a central point — what is today the Old Market — and spread out to the rest of the settlement.

Conflict raged between the French and the British over the area on several occasions. The British gained a stronghold. By the late 18th and early 19th centuries, they set out plans for the city that included fortifications and government structures, the grid street system, and blocks and new urban areas to the north and south, known today as Potter's Ville and Newtown. Goodwill was established in the 1950s and Bath Estate in the early 1980s. Since then several new semi-urban settlements — such as Stock Farm, Castle Comfort, and Wall House — have been constructed around the existing ones. Some older settlements like Fond Cole and Canefield nowadays belong to the semi-urban area around Roseau.

The French influence can still be seen today, however, in its architecture and crooked streets that extend from the Old Market Plaza. Examples of English influence is evident in architecture and street names.

Architecture

The central district of Roseau is tightly packed with small and large houses and even larger modern concrete structures. There is little green or open space in the city; there is even less today, as many of the courtyards that were once commonplace are giving way to office space. The district is, however, framed in every direction by natural elements. The sea and the river provide water elements while the Botanical Gardens and the Government House gardens frame the city with green space. These elements are rare in the Caribbean. No other center in the region has such extensive botanical gardens with such central location, and the Roseau River is among the largest that flow through any Caribbean capital.

The urban structure of Central Roseau is based on an irregular grid system of miniature proportions, making it a highly illegible city. Even though the grid area is not extensive, it is relatively easy for a visitor to get lost. The grid area has some 80 blocks in an area of 30 hectares (74 acres). In comparison, the grid areas of Kingstown and Castries — capitals of Saint Vincent and Saint Lucia — have some 50 and 60 blocks in the areas of over 40 ha (99 acre). The average block size in Central Roseau is thus some ⅓ hectare (1 acre), i.e., about half of the figure of Central Kingstown.

There are some fine examples of West Indian architecture in Roseau. The ones that stand out the most are the French Colonial style and the vernacular form. Much of the French influence can be found along King George V Street. Around the city, there are good examples of the English influence in large colonial townhouses and colonial public/government buildings.

The churches in Roseau are fine examples of Europe in Dominica with a bit of creolization. The Roman Catholic Cathedral stands prominent in Gothic-Romanesque revival and the Anglican Church on Victoria Street in the Georgian style.

City life

Because of the suburban sprawl, few people live in Central Roseau, but more of them commute daily. Motorized vehicles pour into the central district introducing a mode of point-to-point interaction in an environment that was created for multiple uses. As elders said, first there were no streets but just a space between the buildings. The streets of Roseau, and especially those of its central district, are not only ways to move from place to place but they are places themselves. They are used as gardens, playing fields, and social meeting places.
The Botanical Gardens on the fringes of the central district are mostly used by children.

Climate and scenery

Roseau's nearby scenery (mostly in its so-called valley) includes Boiling Lake, 10.5 km (6.5 mi) east, in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, waterfalls, thermal springs, and scenic plateaus.

Morne Bruce provides panoramic views of most of downtown Roseau and north toward Woodbridge Bay deepwater port and Fond Cole. From Morne Bruce, there are views of the Botanic Gardens at its base as well as the Caribbean Sea which look quite spectacular when cruise liners are in port.

Roseau's climate is a tropical rainforest climate, featuring relatively constant temperatures throughout the year with average high temperatures generally between 28 and 31 °C (82 and 88 °F) and average low temperatures between 19 and 23 °C (66 and 73 °F). Rainfall is common throughout the year, with the city seeing an annual average nearly 2,000 mm (79 in). Roseau features a noticeably drier stretch from February through April, though each of these months on average sees at least 100 mm (4 in) of precipitation.

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Roseau, Dominica: Port Information


Cruise ships dock at the center of Roseau. 
You can find a lot of shops near the pier. Taxis and minibusses are available.

Get around Roseau, Dominica


Very reasonably priced buses, (in the form of mini buses) that travel around most of the island can be boarded in Roseau. Destinations are not usually posted on the front, but local people are very helpful and can tell you where the bus stops are for each town.

What to see in Roseau, Dominica


  • French Quarter - The most historic section of the city, the streets are lined with picturesque wooden buildings; most with beautiful balconies.
  • Roseau Cathedral

    - A beautiful black stone cathedral, built in the Gothic style
  • Dominica Museum

    - An excellent, if small museum, on Dominica's history and nature
  • Botanical Gardens. The botanical garden is located just east of downtown (accessible via St George V Street) and is a great place to spend an hour or so wandering the landscaped green fields. It is open to the public and there is no charge. There is a nice hike from the botanical garden up the hill to the east, which offers a wonderful view of Roseau and the Caribbean Sea. The hike is of easy-to-moderate difficulty and will take a novice hiker perhaps 40 minutes one-way. The hike allows for up-close exploration of many native Caribbean plants, many of which are common house plants outside of the tropics. A small shrine is located at the top of the hill, near a look out.  

What to do in Roseau, Dominica


  • The Emerald Pool. Most natives know where it is. It will feel cool at first but it takes only 2-3 minutes to get used to it. The water in the pool feels very pure and soft against your skin. You could relax in there for hours.  
  • South of Roseau is an area known as Champagne, a clever name meant to attract visitors. That said, there is no charge to visit the area and it is quite nice. The name comes from the mild underwater geothermal activity, which produces gas bubbles that float from the bottom of the sand to the surface - producing a wonderful tickling sensation on the body. The beach in this area (like around most of Dominica) is fairly nice. Expect to comfortably spend about 1-3 hours at Champagne. You can access this area by taxi, bus or private car and you will need to walk down from the road to the water.
  • Soccer. Soccer games in Roseau are played on the local field. They occur fairly often and are a great popular spectator sport. There is a small entrance fee.  

What to eat and drink in Roseau, Dominica


Eat

  • Calabash Heights in Roseau provides delicious rasta Italian food and is strictly vegan
  • Coconuts is an excellent restaurant in central Roseau. It is owned by the Minister of Health and is accommodating to travelers with every range of special needs (especially of those who have gluten allergies because the owner's wife is, herself, allergic to gluten)

Shopping in Roseau, Dominica


Sundays in Roseau are very quiet and more store-fronts (and many restaurants) are closed. Best to plan for a nature-day on Sundays. However, make sure your transportation is planned because buses and taxis will either not be operating or at much less frequency.

Highlights for travelers in Roseau include the Saturday morning market near where the Roseau River meets the Caribbean Sea. The market vendors start setting up very early (before dawn) to ensure they get good stall locations and snacks can be had by revelers returning late from Friday night festivities. The market is a great place to buy fresh fruit, seafood, and spices. There is less variety but still good prices for vegetables, meat, and goods.

  • Food Market - Located on the north end of town, this market abounds with vendors selling all manner of tropical fruit

Safety in Roseau, Dominica


  • Dominica is one of the safest places to travel in the region.
  • There are no poisonous snakes or insects in Dominica
Take the usual precautions when traveling around Dominica. Although rare, petty crimes are most likely to happen around Roseau. Elsewhere the island is extremely safe.

Stay healthy

Tap water is safe to drink, but since it is sometimes drawn straight from Dominica's many rivers, it has a tendency to turn brown after heavy rainfall. It's better to drink the bottled water available almost anywhere.

Basic healthcare is available at Princess Margaret Hospital in Roseau.

North Americans moving to Dominica often experience boils for the first time and fingernail and toenail fungi. Stomach problems are rare among travelers.

Towns are sprayed with insecticides periodically to control the mosquitoes responsible for spreading Dengue fever. However, the spraying may not be done at the scheduled time and pesticides may drift into your home if the windows are open.

In the high lands and uninhabited central regions, water is gathered at roadside springs. Sometimes the bus will stop and passengers will fill their water bottles. Locals prefer the taste of this water to bottled water.

Public water is bacterially safe to drink due to heavy chlorination and has the expected chlorine flavor.

LGBT travelers should be aware that "buggery" (sodomy) is illegal in Dominica, as indicated by the arrest of two gay Americans who were seen having sex on the balcony of their cruise ship while it was docked. The two men did not serve jail time but paid a $900 fine.

Language spoken in Roseau, Dominica


English is the official language. 

LOCAL TIME

1:39 pm
June 20, 2019
America/Dominica

CURRENT WEATHER

29 °C / 84.2 °F
overcast clouds
Fri

27.25 °C/81 °F
overcast clouds
Sat

28.01 °C/82 °F
light rain
Sun

27.45 °C/81 °F
light rain
Mon

28.15 °C/83 °F
sky is clear

LOCAL CURRENCY

XCD

1 USD = 0 XCD
1 EUR = 100 XCD
1 GBP = 0 XCD
1 AUD = 0 XCD
1 CAD = 0 XCD

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