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Roseau is the capital and largest city of Dominica, with a population of 16,582.
It is a small and compact urban settlement, in the Saint George parish and surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, the Roseau River and Morne Bruce. Built on the site of the ancient Kalinago Indian village of Sairi, it is the oldest and most important urban settlement on the island of Dominica.
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, and cocoa. The service sector is also a large part of the local economy.
Roseau has many restaurants, small shops and wonderful views of the mountains (to the east) and the Caribbean Sea (to the west).
|POPULATION :||City: 16,582|
|TIME ZONE :|
|LANGUAGE :||English (official), French patois|
|RELIGION :||Roman Catholic 61.4%, Seventh Day Adventist 6%, Pentecostal 5.6%, Baptist 4.1%, Methodist 3.7%, Other 19.1%|
|ELEVATION :||141 ft (43 m)|
|COORDINATES :||15.301389°N 61.388333°W|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: |
|ETHNIC :||black 86.8%, mixed 8.9%, Carib Amerindian 2.9%, white 0.8%, other 0.7%|
|AREA CODE :||218|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+1 767 218|
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 the English influence is evident in architecture and street names.
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.
Climate data for Roseau
|Record high °C (°F)||33|
|Average high °C (°F)||28.0|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||24.9|
|Average low °C (°F)||22.8|
|Record low °C (°F)||16|
|Source #1: NOAA|
|Source #2: BBC Weather|
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.
Prices in Roseau
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||$13.00|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||$|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||$50.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||$|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||$8.50|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||$|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||$|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||$|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||$|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||$|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||$|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1 pair||$|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M….)||1 pair||$|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas…)||1 pair||$|
|Leather shoes||1 pair||$|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||$1.00|
Transportation - Get In
Melville Hall Airport( DOM ), Dominica's largest airport, 2 miles north west of Marigot, 38 miles from Roseau. The smaller Canefield Airport is only 3 miles from Roseau.
Four Airlines currently serve Melville Hall Airport:
- American Eagle.
- Caribbean Star.
- Caribbean Sun.
Transportation - Get Around
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.
- BEST RATED -
- BEST VALUE -
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 travellers 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 revellers 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 kinds of tropical fruit.
Sights & Landmarks
- 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.
Things to do
- 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.
- Champagne district. 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.