Roseau’s tropical rainforest climate does not have huge extremes of temperatures. They remain at between 19 and 31 degrees Celsius, making Roseau a year-round destination. The driest months are from January to April but even then there will be a brief daily downpour. Roseau hosts several major festivals throughout the year. Carnival in February sees calypso competitions, costumed bands and processions wearing West African Sensay costumes. These weird and wonderful costumes are made of frayed ropes, leaves and other natural materials and are always worn with a mask and horns. The World Creole Music Festival takes place in October when steel bands compete.
Roseau is the charming, capital of the Caribbean island of Dominica, where daily life is played out to a backdrop of reggae music. Both Roseau and the island a great destinations for lovers of the outdoors, with 172 bird species, 12 major waterfalls and peaks rising to 5,000 feet (1524 m). Whatever time of year you visit you might be lucky enough to spot a whale. Roseau developed some fame after being used as the backdrop for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. In Roseau, you will discover a town that is a blend of French, English and Spanish architecture; busy all day it seems to mysteriously empty at night. Wander around its streets lined with stone and wood buildings and through the French Quarter where you will find lively restaurants, art galleries and little museums. Here is the small Dominica Museum, which gives a lively interpretation of the past of both Roseau and the island. The Old Market Plaza has been a centre of activity for over 300 years and used to be the slave market. This is a good place to buy handcrafted souvenirs. At the Public Market on the riverbank try a bowl of goat water or buy a bottle of sea moss. A short stroll out of Roseau will take you to the Botanical Gardens and Parrot Research Centre, here you can enjoy some cooler air surrounded by exotic indigenous plants and colourful parrots. From here a short walk uphill brings you to the top of Morne Bruce hill with views over Roseau and the harbour. One of the beaches at Roseau is known as Champagne Beach, where you can swim in effervescent waters and snorkel alongside colourful parrot fish.
Most of Roseau’s sites are clustered around the docks and you will find them easy to explore on foot. Local taxis tend to be fairly expensive, but there is a private minivan bus service which you hail from the street. These are recognised as their number plates begin with an ‘H’. They do stop, however, at the end of the working day and public transport of any sort is virtually non-existent on Sundays. As a cruise destination, Roseau has plenty of tours on offer. There are walking tours of the town and a historic trolley bus tour or take a 4×4 safari into the rainforest. If you are more adventurous try one of the activity tours involving canopy walks and river tubing.
International visitors arriving in Roseau by air will come through Barbados or Antigua and use the local airline, Liat, to fly to the Melville Hall Airport on Dominica. This airport is on the north coast of the island with a journey time by taxi or bus to Roseau of approximately two hours.
(prices quoted are from London)