Dominica surges from the sea with soaring peaks that seem to be courting the heavens. Virgin flora covers these dramatic mountains, creating swaths of verdant landscapes. The residue of the fiery forces that created the island thousands of years ago, as part of the Caribbean Ring of Fire, bellows in several hot springs, valleys of steaming earth, and a boiling lake which is the second largest in the world. Along with geothermal wonders come natural coolants: hundreds of pristine rivers and streams web the island’s lush terrain. Pure rainwater sets brooks and cascades into motion by rushing down picturesque cliffs.
Dominica’s natural wonders and rich cultural heritage make it an exceptional ecotourism destination. Dominica defies popular notions of a Caribbean vacation.
Dominica (pronounced Dom-in-eek-a) sits midway along the Eastern Caribbean archipelago, just a few miles from Martinique to the south and Guadeloupe to the north. Its location is 15 degrees North latitude and 61 degrees West longitude.
Dominica is sparsely populated with around 70,000 people inhabiting its 289.5 square miles. A significant portion of the population lives in and around the capital city, Roseau. Dominica is an arcadia of unspoiled nature. Tropical forest coats two thirds of the island, which nourishes 1,200 plant species. Rivers, lakes, streams, and waterfalls abound, fed by the islands high annual rainfall. Its volcanic physique points to extensive geothermal activity above and below sea level.
The island is one of only a couple in the Caribbean still with populations of the pre-Columbian Carib Indians. About 80% of the population is Roman Catholic. English is the official language, spoken with a melodic French lilt, but a large portion of the population speaks Kwèyòl (Creole), with a few northern villages speaking Kokoy.
If sitting by the beach all day sounds a bit dull, then Dominica is the spot for you.
Dominica is a paradise for the outdoor adventurer interested in unspoiled natural attractions. There is so much to do!
Hiking in Dominica is as diverse as it is breathtaking. Nearly 300 miles of footpaths open up to some of Dominica’s most spectacular sceneries and make this island a haven for hikers and nature-lovers. In almost every part of the country, trails weave their way into gorges and across valleys, climbing up to 4,000 foot mountains.
Whatever your level of fitness there is a trail just right for you, each with a spectacular attraction at its conclusion.
Diving & Watersports in Dominica
Dominica offers many choices when it comes to watersports and scuba diving. Kayak on cool mountain lakes, swim in secluded river pools in the rainforest, river-tube down the river into the calm waters on the West Coast, or snorkel on pristine reefs… there really is something for everyone in Dominica.
Dominica is famous for its tropical rainforest, and the many rivers and waterfalls which result from the high rainfall in the interior. In addition, its volcanic origins manifest themselves most noticably in the Boiling Lake (one of the largest of its kind in the world) and many other smaller fumaroles around the island (including at least one underwater). Moreover, it is widely acknowledged to be both one of the best dive sites and a prime whale watching location in the region (if not world).
Things to do in Dominica
Titou Gorge – Not to be missed is this short swim through the gorge from the base of a waterfall through a series of natural “rooms and ponds.” High cliff walls canopied by interlaced trees create a canopy through which light filters down from above. Known as “Little Throat” Gorge in Carib, its depth varies depending on rainfall amounts. A hot spring tumbles down a short wall just outside the entrance of the gorge, excellent to warm up in after paddling in the cool waters of the gorge.
Wacky Rollers Adventure Park – Utilizing the natural landscape of Dominica, visitors can experience the beauty of Dominica in various fun ways at this Park. Travel on foot along the trail, advancing from tree to tree via suspended platforms and zip lines, and indulge in a Tarzan jump before the course ends with a zip across the Layou River and back. A kids park for kids from 4 years and up and at least 2 meters tall complements the adult section, making it an excellent family experience. Riving tubing, jeep tours and kayak tours are also offered.
Trafalgar Falls – Considered Dominica’s most popular natural attractions, these two major falls cascading side by side are both located on tributaries of the Roseau River. The taller “father” is to the left at about 125 ft and the shorter “mother” fall to the right is about 75ft. From the road and visitor reception area, a brief walk along a well-maintained path brings guests to a platform for viewing and photographing both falls. Guests can also take a side path leading to the base of the falls. Exploring the Father is not advised, but feel free to step into the pool at the base of the Mother.
Boiling Lake – Dominica has half of the Eastern Caribbean’s twenty active volcanoes. Although none has erupted in over 1,000 years, bubbling sulfur springs, fumaroles, and the massive boiling lake indicates underlying volcanic activity. Second in size only to the Frying Pan lake of New Zealand, Dominica’s Boiling Lake is 200 ft wide and is considered one of the most amazing geothermal features on earth. It is located five miles from the city at the heart of the Morne Trois Piton National Park, a World Heritage Site.
Whale Watching – Dominica’s sheer walls disappear under the sea, creating deep sheltered bays along its western coastline: a haven for the Sperm Whale that loves this type of habitat. A short boat ride brings visitors into contact with the world’s largest toothed animal in the calm turquoise Caribbean Sea, the Sperm Whale, often seen at Scotts Head, Roseau, Layou, and Point Round. Dominica is the only country in the world where the Sperm Whale resides all year long, with most sightings between November and March. Whale Watching operators follow strict codes of conduct on their excursions. They do not lure the whales and minimize any disturbance. On a rare trip, the whales may be elusive, but such disappointment is usually compensated by acrobatic performances from hundreds of dolphins.
The Soufriere Sulfur Springs – Dominica has numerous Hot Water Springs and these are a favorite for tourism recreation. Located just a few miles south of Champagne in the village of Soufriere, the pools collect the natural flow of a hot stream allowing patrons to relax in the therapeutic water, reputed to have healing benefits. A gazebo, changing rooms, and a restaurant make the spot more comfortable and convenient for locals and visitors alike.