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You bought your tickets without researching dive ops and places to stay?
I stayed at Castle Comfort and dove with Dive Dominica. I don't know that I would recommend either.
Fort Young is the nicest hotel on the island. I ate there and had a few drinks at the bar once. Very nice people, clean, updated, modern facilities.
Dive Dominica is the largest and best known op on the island. But not all of their staff is as good as their standards claim. They will take you to an good collection of sites, but be prepared to dive the same site more than once. Also be sure to keep to your comfort zone. One of the DMs we had repeatedly took newly certified divers to 100 feet in strong currents and never looked around to see if the divers were OK.
The island is very beautiful, but also very poor. There are 70K people, most of who live in Rousseau.
Are you flying in to Melville Hall or Cane Field? Most flights go to Melville. Have your resort arrange transportation from the airport. Don't rent a car, and don't plan on driving anywhere. There plenty of bus taxis to get you where you want to go. The trip from Melville Hall to the resorts is about 1.5 hours and very scenic.
I've been to Dominica 8 times since my first trip in 1997. I'll be there again this February. It is one of my favorite places on Earth.
Everyone's experiences and expectations are different. I don't think generalizing is helpful. I personally would not dream of spending any time in Dominica without a 4X4 rental (about $270 US per week). Driving is challenging, but the rewards are worth it. Naturally, you must be a really good driver, adaptable, able to drive on the left , and not inclined to panic simply because the vertical terrain and frequent rains wash things away and roll big rocks across the road. This is really no big deal.
The island is almost supernaturally beautiful, endlessly enchanting, relatively untouched. Compared to Dominica, Cozumel is like New York City. The diving in Dominica is usually pristine, and spectacular in some places. It's not the best I've experienced in the Caribbean, but it's among the top 4 or 5 most enjoyable. Dominica is really just the top of a volcanic structure, so there are few real beaches, and the coral reef zone in most places is a narrow band along a coast that can plunge to thousands of feet of depth only a couple of miles from shore. There is more rock than coral, but the water is beautiful, the corals are very healthy, and the sealife is abundant. Because of the proximity of abyssal depths, you may see many unusual things.
In addition to the dive operators already mentioned, I'm familiar with Cabrits Divers in Portsmouth, in the north, and Carib Dive Club, mid-island, near Salisbury. I've always had a pleasant time with Carib. The others can be hit or miss, depending on who is running things that week, who you are diving with, etc. I think this is generally true everywhere.
Dominica is quite poor, and its towns have a slightly shabby aspect. It is a very safe and stable place, though, and its people are usually extremely friendly. No one bothers you or trys to sell you anything. Most of the island is mountainous, steep, dense with thick rainforest, and uninhabited. The roads vary from fair to hair-curlingly hazardous. I love it all. The air is the purest I have ever breathed. There are huge parrots, Boas, Iguanas, vistas that seem like something out of Tolkien's Middle Earth, warm crystal clear rivers, dozens of waterfalls, hot springs, deep lush valleys, simply amazing things. Visiting Dominica and not spending at least as much time exploring topside as diving would be like going to Paris and seeing nothing but the gourmet restaurants. A wonderful experience, but you will have missed experiencing one of the world's wonderful places, and there are fewer of them every time I turn around.
Dominica is not for everyone. The food is only fair, and there is almost no tourism infrastructure. The massive high mountains draw rain clouds (that's why they have a rainforest), and it is frequenly slightly overcast. It rains at least a little almost every day, but magically, the sea is always clear, and the cloudbursts are usually brief. You'll see rainbows and double rainbows, brilliant stars at night. There are very few sandy beaches, and those that exist fringe turbulent often dangerous seas. It's not a resort type place, really. It's something else entirely. January is usually a good month, weatherwise.
You and I seem to share the same tastes in tourism. I live off the beaten path. Your description makes the place sounds as fantastic as the DM we met in Montserrat last year who first told us about Dominica. The lad was from there and could not say enough good about it.
Happy too to hear your recommendation for Carib, it's right down the road from the house I just booked this morning- woo woo!