Villa PassiFlora is in great shape, and its surroundings are absolutely beautiful. While on the property there is virtually no evidence of having gone through one of the most powerful hurricanes on record. The only thing we lack is internet service.
How is Dominica in the wake of Maria?
The island is very much in recovery, and the pace of recovery varies greatly from region to region. Many of the more remote villages remain without electricity. Blue tarp roofs are common. Our famous trails are altered, and many segments of the National Trail are still not passable. The trail to the Boiling Lake is very much in play, as are Trafalgar Falls and the Emerald Pool. This very occasional hiker–at age 63 and only reasonably fit–did a very cool hike up the river to Victoria Falls in June, with the superb assistance of our guide, Nigel George.
Why visit Dominica and stay at Villa PassiFlora? It’s tonic for the senses.
Our strongest recommendation right now is to come and chill at the villa at dramatically reduced prices. It’s really all about the sound of the sea, the extraordinary vistas, the continuous breeze, the hammocks, the pool, rum punch, a stroll to POZ’s for a relaxing meal…
Dominica is an island of breathtaking natural beauty, as yet little impacted by tourism. One travel writer aptly characterized Dominica as “the last of the real Caribbean.” As a visitor, you can expect to be warmly received by Dominicans, who will take pride in sharing their glorious island with you. They know that what they have here is very special.
Villa PassiFlora is for the traveler who would like to enjoy Dominica in a guesthouse of style and elegance still rare on the island. It is an ideal setting for 2 or 3 couples wishing to share a relaxing vacation together, for small groups interested in literary, yoga or culinary retreats or for families without young children. When compared with similar accomodations elsewhere in the Caribbean (there are no comparable accomodations on Dominica), the villa is eminently affordable for the couple or individual who appreciates space, beauty and privacy. For a group it is a bargain. It is for you if you relish the prospect of enjoying the sound of the waves, the feel of the cooling trade winds and the view from one of the most breathtaking spots in the Caribbean. It is a tonic for the senses.
We look forward to the opportunity to help you plan your Dominican vacation. We can arrange for yoga instructors, massage therapists and local cooks to share their services with you at the villa. Additionally, we can arrange the hire of guides to help you enjoy sites of interest in the Calibishie area and elsewhere on the island. Share your interest and ideas with us, and we’ll do what we can to help craft a unique and memorable stay.
The truth is that many of our guests choose to do very little during their visit. Villa PassiFlora is an ideal spot for reading, writing, swimming, taking walks or napping in a hammock to the sound of the surf, cooled by the constant breeze of the tradewinds. Of course, all of the sights that have made Dominica a destination for adventurous travellers are available as day trips, but don’t feel guilty if you leave the Boiling Lake for someone else.
Several beautiful and totally distinctive Atlantic beaches are just 5-10 minutes from Villa PassiFlora by foot, offering swimming, snorkeling, exploring or lounging in relative solitude. Check out our Dominica Day & Night page for much more. Snorkelers will also enjoy visiting the tranquil Caribbean waters near Portsmouth, which offer a variety of options from the shore. Divers will want to contact JC Ocean Adventures or Cabrits Dive Centre, both in Portsmouth, a beautiful 30-minute drive from the villa.
Dominica’s charm and beauty are protected by the effort required to reach it. The island doesn’t have enough flat land to allow a jet port to be constructed, so flights are indirect. The first night flights into Dominica began in September 2010, and these have improved access a bit.
The quickest, most direct air routes to Dominica are via San Juan, St. Maarten, Antigua or Barbados. From San Juan, you can get direct flights to on Seaborne Airlines, which is getting the highest marks for service and reliability from our guests. Liat offers direct flights from only Antigua and Barbados as of this writing. You may well need to book your first leg on the usual sites (Orbitz, Travelocity, etc.), then book the flight to Dominica directly with the airline. (If needed or preferred, overnighting in Old San Juan is quite a pleasure. We’re happy to suggest our favorite spots.) Be sure you are booking into Melville Hall Airport rather than Canefield, which is on the opposite side of the island, about 90 minutes away from Villa PassiFlora.
Should you consider the possibility of going through Martinique or Guadeloupe prior to your stay on Dominica, travel by ferry is available from these French islands to Dominica several times weekly. This has become an appealing consideration with the initiation of budget pricing on Norwegian Airlines from several US airports. Information and booking for ferry service is available here.
Feel free to contact us for suggestions on your travel arrangements.
The villa is just 20 minutes from Mellville Hall Airport. Most of our guests arrange car rental in advance and find getting to the villa simple and straightforward. Leaving the airport, go left and follow the northeast road through Wesley, Woodford Hill and Small Farm until you see the sign for VP. We are just beyond the road to Sea Cliff and just before the village of Calibishie. The easiest thing is to follow the many signs leading to POZ. If you are not renting a vehicle, we will be happy to arrange transportation to Villa PassiFlora.
You surely do not need to rent a vehicle. Transport from the airport can be easily arranged. Many of our guests find life at Villa PassiFlora so satisfying that they simply stay put. If you plan just an excursion or two, you might want to hire drivers as needed; we can make the arrangements. If you have a stronger interest in exploring this beautiful island —and most guests do — then rent a relatively small vehicle with 4-wheel drive. You may not need the 4-wheel drive, but it can definitely come in handy if you find yourself on a rutted, muddy road to a glorious beach, and the added road clearance of these vehicles is a must off the main road.
Driving in Dominca is on the left, British style. The roads are in varying states of repair —t hink of potholes as unannounced speed bumps — and some are too narrow to allow true 2-way traffic. Drive slowly, cautiously, defensively and always be prepared to pull to the shoulder to allow oncoming traffic to pass.
Yes! Dominica’s fresh water is amongst its glories and you should have no problems with tap water, ice, raw vegetables, etc. The local water is said to be one of the “secrets” behind the high quality of Kubuli, the Dominican beer.
We have had no problems in our 10-plus years of operation. Violent crime remains rare in Dominica, though not unheard of. Opportunistic thievery may occur, particularly when invited by open doors and windows. The safety of your belongings is very much enhanced by the presence of our caretaker — who lives on site — and our watchdogs, Eevie and Jacko. Please note that Eevie and Jacko are NOT “attack dogs”: their job is to alert us when people approach the property. They don’t bark ceaselessly and don’t have access to the villa’s interior, so you will have no direct contact with them during your stay.
Villa PassiFlora is powered by its solar panel system at 110V/60hz. The Dominican standard is 220V/50hz. A small number of transformers are available to use small 220V appliances. The Cottage is on the Dominican standard.
One of our great pleasures on Dominica is cooking with the extraordinary fresh ingredients available. That being said, cooking is a challenge if you’re not familiar with the island, because obtaining ingredients is dramatically dependent upon availability and requires multiple sources. If you are motivated to make meal preparation a significant part of your Dominican visit, we’ll help you procure glorious fruits, vegetables, fish, lobster and poultry as well as herbs. Check out Ann Keener’s blog for some insights and ideas.
Many guests enjoy having some of their meals prepared for them, and our housekeeper, Isaline George, is one of the best cooks in the village. We strongly encourage you to consider letting her prepare at least one meal for you. Isaline can generally prepare meals Monday-Friday during her 8:30-2:30 workday. A multi-course, fine-dining meal with instruction and commentary is at times available, but should be requested several days in advance. See our reservations page for details.
There are a number of options for meals nearby. Spots with good local meals are plentiful. We can particularly recommend POZ (an easy walk from the villa, local and gringo food and drink) andCoral Reef (very local, very good, behind Gus’s Grocery).
We have a television and DVD player, but we have made the decision not to have cable or satellite TV. Most of what is seen on cable TV feels so jarring on Dominica that we are keeping it out of our home. As of July 1, 2018 internet access has not been widely restored, and we are in the “not restored” group. During our June visit, the phone company was actively running line in our village, so we hope to have it soon. For the moment, you can stop by the village police station to check your email, or you can travel with an unlocked smart phone and purchase a SIM card and a data plan from FLOW in Portsmouth.
We’ve collected about 1,000 films on DVD (we keep 300 on the island at any one time), so there should be no shortage of viewing choices during your stay. Our collection features classics, popular favorites, “cult films,” Caribbean-themed selections and children’s movies. The bulk have been recorded from Turner Classic Movies, IFC and other cable television channels, generally in English or in their original language with English subtitles. They are good quality, commercial-free, but lack the bells and whistles of commercial DVDs. A smaller number of films are backed up from commercial DVDs and may have subtitle options. We always have a selection of French language films available.
We can imagine no better place to chill than Villa PassiFlora, but Dominica is not for everyone. A day in Dominica must be considered “subject to change.” If you come with a tight daily schedule of sights and activities you will be profoundly frustrated by the failure to tick off your objectives. If some of the most glorious terrain on the planet would be tough to appreciate due to disdain for the limited and poorly maintained road system, look elsewhere. If an occasional rainstorm is seen as a blight on your dream vacation rather than the reason Dominica is the most luxuriant island in the Caribbean, look elsewhere.
Is Villa PassiFlora handicapped-accessible? What about children?
Regrettably, Villa PassiFlora is not well suited to visitors with major limitations to ambulation and we cannot accept children younger than 10 without specific prior clearance. The handcrafted stairs require careful use by all, particularly when using the observation deck.
Due to the unrestricted access to our pool we can’t accommodate families traveling with children who are not fully competent swimmers.
Many of Villa PassiFlora’s furnishings are irreplaceable vintage pieces which deserve and require loving treatment. Guests are responsible for any damages during their stay, so please consider the maturity of children (and adults) critically before booking your visit. If your dream vacation includes a wild party, Villa PassiFlora is not for you.
I don’t see any glass or screening. What about bugs?
Villa PassiFlora indeed has neither glass nor screening, in the Caribbean tradition. Cooling is courtesy of the continuous trade winds, aided by the shade of our expansive verandah and the trees of the littoral forest which we have chosen to leave standing. Fans are available to augment the breezes.
Depending upon the weather, you may encounter a few mosquitoes, particularly at twilight. We’ve never found them to be tough to control with a bit of insect repellant around the ankles before sunset. High-quality mosquito netting helps insure that your sleep won’t be disturbed by that lone warrior buzzing around your ear.
Passiflora is the genus of the passion flower, surely one of the most exquisite of floral wonders. Some of you will no doubt get to enjoy its glorious fruit while visiting Dominica. Though the genus is most often associated with the tropics, P. incarnata is native to temperate regions, and is the state wildflower of Tennessee, our “other” home.