When we arrived in Dominica it was raining.
We ended up waiting until it stopped before leaving the boat and saw a beautiful rainbow.
Our plan was to try to find a taxi to take us to Screws Spa. There were plenty of vendors waiting to offer tours.
The vendors had to stay outside of the fenced area, but once we walked through, they could approach us about a tour. The first taxi wanted $80 to take us to the Spa and return. I thought that was really expensive and ended up taking a tour with another driver. This included a tour and dropping us off at another spa, as the driver claimed it was out of his way to go to the spa we wanted. We negotiated a price of $30 a person. This tour was only suppose to be 5 people in the van but that changed. The other people left and the driver went to go look for them. When he returned he ended up bringing others for a total of 17 people on the tour. When we saw how large the group was, I asked if he was going to lower the rate, and he said no. I should have walked away then, as there were plenty of other tour guides around. 17 people in a van made for a very cramped ride.
I did not know until we returned and were paying him that we were charged different prices (ours being the most expensive). A group of 5 paid $25 per person and the group of 10 paid $20 per person. Everyone on the tour was from our cruise ship.
TIP: Verify that everyone is paying the same rate before beginning the tour.
We got the honor of riding in the front seat, with me being sandwiched between the driver and my husband. The only good thing was it allowed me to take pictures leaving town. It was not a very comfortable ride, and to think I was paying for it.
Making our way to the town overlook.
When we reached the top of the hill, there were other tours taking pictures of the ship and the town below. Of course there were vendors set up to sell trinkets and drinks at this stop. Most tours stop here for the view.
Next stop – Botanical Garden.
This tree was blown down on a bus during Hurricane David on August 29, 1979.
We saw beautiful flowers throughout the garden.
After leaving the garden on our way to the falls, we saw all of these ribbons along the road and throughout the island. The driver advised they were having an election and the red and blue flags represented the two parties up for election. They get as carried away spending money on an election as we do.
The driver dropped us off at Da S’Cape Spa, while he sent the others to explore the area. He told us he would return in an hour and to meet back at our drop off point.
We were the only ones at the spa. There were multiple hot springs both inside the buildings and outside to soak in. It was very relaxing enjoying the peaceful setting.
Our surroundings was very green and lush with beautiful flowers.
When our time was up, we went back to where the driver dropped us off and waited. It rained while we were waiting for his return. One of the vendors let us wait under his umbrella so we would not get wet.
When he finally showed up, the bus was very quiet. No one was talking, which was not the case earlier on our tour, with 17 people in a van. Even the driver did not talk on the way back to the ship after nonstop commentary earlier, I thought this was strange. Something did not feel right.
We drove right by Screws Spa on the return back to the ship. It was right down the street where he dropped us off. He could have taken us there, I guess he got a kickback from the spa he took us to.
When we returned to the boat, I found out why it was so quiet. The driver was supposed to take the group to a beach, and he didn’t, instead he was returning us to the ship. They felt cheated on the tour. It was only 1:00 when we returned, so there was plenty of time to go to the beach. At the beginning of our tour the driver was engaging with the group, by the time we were dropped off, people just wanted to return to the ship and get away from the dishonest tour guide. Everyone on our tour was from our boat.
TIP: When negotiating a tour make sure everyone in the group, agrees to a price and what exactly the tour entails. Because he bargained with three different groups, we were not all aware of how much everyone was charged, and what was supposed to be included with the tour. Have someone speak up before the tour starts, so this does not happen to you.
The tour guide would not accept $20 bills that were torn or written on. Make sure your money is in good condition before leaving for your trip. The banks will not accept any damaged money and that is why the tour operator would not take the money. Luckily they had more money on them.
Our Day on Dominica could have been better, but we made the most of the situation. Have you encountered this when touring in Dominica?