The tiny Caribbean island of Dominica is an outdoor lover’s paradise. No wonder it is called “The Nature Island of the Caribbean”. And with only 71,000 residents, you won’t feel overrun with crowds.
The azure calm waters are ideal for snorkelers, especially beginners. Much of the marine life can be viewed in waters as shallow as four feet. Off the coast, try to spot bottle-nosed, spinner, and Atlantic-spotted dolphins as they frolic in the sea, along with pilot, humpback, and sperm whales. It’s also home to pirates. Pirates of the Caribbean 2 & 3 were filmed here.
Dominica offers hikers an abundance of awesome trails set in lush verdant forests. Locals claim you can hike to a different waterfall everyday. An excellent hiking excursion is Trafalgar Falls, located a short 20-minute drive from Roseau. In addition, the abundant flora and fauna, along with myriad birds, make the island perfect for a photography trip.
If hiking isn’t your thing, then explore the inner island by boat along the Indian River. This protected area has restricted access to certified guides only, who will row the boat for you, allowing sit to back and take in the scenery.
Take a Dip
A must-visit is Champagne Beach Reef. It’s part of a 3-mile long marine park. Here, the water is the warmest in the Caribbean, due to geothermal activity. Gases escape from an active underwater volcano, located about one-half mile off the island. Trapped gas escapes from underwater vents, making loud noises, which will be funny to kids and those who like to act like kids. Adults will enjoy it also since you’ll feel like you are swimming in a glass of champagne.
Some of the water in waterfall ponds will have a murky color, giving an appearance of being dirty. However, it is perfectly safe to splash around in these ponds and perhaps even therapeutic. The cloudiness is the result of geothermal activity.
The spring water is saturated with the calcium, magnesium and sulfur. Surprisingly, the water is not super hot. In addition to tourism, Dominica earns income from generating geothermal energy, which it exports to the neighboring islands of Martinique and Guadalupe.
Head into Town(s)
If you want a break from the wilderness, then head into Roseau, the island’s largest city with approximately 17,000 residents. Here you can pick up groceries or shop for locally made crafts. And be sure to bring back some delicious Dominica coffee. The Roseau port is home to a cruise ship terminal, so time your trip into town accordingly.
If you want to experience more local life, then head over to Portsmouth, formerly Grand Anse. This previous capital and second largest city has a population of only 4,000.
Dominica was the last Caribbean island settled by Europeans. As a result, it has a more authentic Caribbean feel than other islands. With less interference from outsiders, the native Carib and ethically West African people were able to hold onto more of their own customs, traditions and foods.
Tags: Caribbean, Dominica