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Purely Dominica

Purely Dominica

window view of Calibishie in Dominica

Once you’ve selected Dominica (or any other country) as your place of residence, you must decide where in it you wish to live. Do you like the city or the countryside? We prefer the latter and were willing to forego ability to pop in quickly and easily to shop, attend an event, etc. But we also noticed that people who had nicer houses and things living near a city had to fence their yard; have guard dogs, etc. That’s not for us.

You also have to choose between the interior (mountains, possibly cooler and wetter if in the east, or hotter and dry on the west side), or the coast. And if it’s to be the coast, Atlantic or Caribbean (you can have both in Scott’s Head or Capuchin). We prefer the views of waves against rocks, so we chose Calibishie in Dominica’s northeast Atlantic coast.

The first thing you must do when shopping for land in a village is let it be known that you won’t even speak with anyone who can’t show you the title document for the land. That’s because any deal for non-titled land will probably break down once the caveat is published and people come out of the woodwork to lay claim to the land or its prospective sale proceeds.

Then you have other decision points:

  • How good will your view be? Remember to consider how it will be if anyone builds nearby.
  • What is the lay of the land? Is it too steep? (Think about landslides, erosion and strenuous walking about.) Is it too low by the sea? (Think about storm surge danger.) Is it in a river valley? (Think about flash flooding.)
  • What is the soil like? Is it sand, clay, or rocky?
  • Is it on a road?
  • Is it on or near electrical power? (You’ll want an emergency power source anyhow. I could – and later may – write an article about electricity issues.) Note that if it’s not on or near power, land-line telephone, cable TV, and high-speed Internet access won’t be available either. Or, are you prepared to go with solar or wind, or hydro power of your own, and cell-phone Internet?
  • Is it on the “pipe water” line? (You should have an alternate water source. A rain cistern is a must. Proper planning will provide water pressure at least at some taps in the house, or you must have an electric pump – see the point above.) Or, are you prepared to live with only cistern or river water?
  • Will you live among other expats, or become a villager? There are huge social consequences.
  • Will you have the requisite personal and building security?
  • Can your building have the right layout? At 15.5 degrees north latitude the sun passes north of vertical from May through August, and south of vertical the rest of the year, and the trade wind normally blows in from an easterly direction; and controls the slant of driving rain.

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Comment by Steve Foerster
2009-09-17 17:15:07

To me, I have to ask why someone who primarily wants to hang out with other expats would come to Dominica in the first place. There are other islands with many more expats per capita than Dominica. St. Lucia, for example, might be a better choice for such people.

Comment by andrew
2009-09-18 09:41:55

How many expats are in Dominica, a rough estimate ?
A break down on home countries would be nice to have, too.

Comment by Dan
2009-09-19 10:53:40

What do I look like? The census bureau? No, seriously, I have no idea. I’ll guess 1% of the 70,000 population; that is 700. At most.

Comment by Steve Foerster
2009-09-19 13:09:15

Not many, and I seriously doubt if anyone keeps very good track of how many exactly or where they come from. A lot of people come from other places and just don’t leave, rather than formally applying for residency. Fortunately, however, it’s full of Dominicans, which is a much better reason to go there.

Comment by andrew
2009-09-18 09:28:49

you listed a lot of questions. GIve us, please, some answers, picking a specific place, the one where you live now, for instance.
Also, I’d love to read your next article on electricity.
Best regards.

Comment by Dan
2009-09-19 10:58:52

We chose Calibishie, in the northeast. We live in the village, not in an ex-pat community. Go to our web site to have access to slide shows of our place. We are about to announce our apartment’s availability, and an ad for it will be on Dominica-weekly. I mention that because we found it helpful to come here and take an apartment for a month and practice living on our own before deciding that this place and lifestyle are for us.

Please contact us at [email protected] if you have specific questions or are interested in renting our apartment. Or you can Skype me at dan_and_ruth.

It will take a while to write the article about electricity, but I’ll get to it (“Caribbean time”).

Comment by Steve Foerster
2009-09-19 20:06:29

Is there actually a recognisable “ex-pat community” anywhere in Dominica? If there is I’ve never been in it.

As for the delay in your article about electricity, it seems only appropriate considering how long it can take Domlec to turn on the lights when they go out! 🙂

Comment by Dan
2009-09-20 10:14:34

There seems to be two in Calibishie. (We’re not in either.) One is up near Hodges Bay and another in a section called George’s Ave.

I’ve sent Chris the draft of the article on electricity. But he hasn’t even finished running this article yet. I don’t now if, when, or how he will run toe one on electricity; it’s 3 pages long.

Comment by Steve Foerster
2009-09-20 11:43:30

Fascinating. I’ve heard of American-style housing developments like that, but I figured that they’d mainly be used as vacation homes for foreigners, not so much as permanent residences, and to a lesser extent by bourgeois Dominicans.

Comment by Dan
2009-09-19 14:10:00

We live in Calibishie, on the northeast coast. Among Dominican neighbors. Check the slide shows at our web site .

I will eventually write about electricity.

Comment by an
2009-09-21 12:52:52

I’d like to know if there are expats there who live in an old estate. I’m thinking of those plantation “maison de maitre”, from the 18th century. Are some, or whatever remained of them, of those estates for sale, or are under government control ?
Basically, can one buy one of them, or the ruins, and renovate, or there are regulations when dealing with this kind of real estate ?

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