The Commonwealth of Dominica, or simply Dominica, is an island nation located in the Caribbean Sea. (Not to be confused with Dominican Republic which is about 1000 km northwest of Dominica.) Discovered by Christopher Columbus on a Sunday in 1493, he named the island Dominica – meaning Sunday in Latin. Little would he have presumed at that time how apt the name would be for this island nation. With lush green forests, picturesque waterfalls, miles of hiking trails, volcanic mountains, thermal springs, and an endless list of fun activities, every day is a Sunday in Dominica. Such is the natural unspoiled beauty of this island that it has been nicknamed the Nature Isle of the Caribbean. In this blog, we will list 10 of the top-rated attractions of Dominica which have made it a favorite with travelers from all across the globe.
- Scott’s Head
Scott’s Head is the southwest tip of the island of Dominica. It is literally the end of the road on this island – about 1 hr south of Roseau. The place makes it to our list of top 10 attractions for its picturesque rocky outcropping and stunning panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea. There is a small village by the same name, a few restaurants, and a gas station at the site. Take a stroll through the village and a relaxed hike along the coast to enjoy the scenery. If you like diving or snorkeling then you can rent the gear from the locals and check out the coral lined hole near the tip of the island.
- Hiking Trails
Dominica is an excellent destination for hiking. Other than the WNT (#5, you’ll see!), there are scores of other trails which hikers of different abilities and experiences can explore. There are a few things that must be kept in mind when hiking in Dominica. As it is an island of volcanic origin, it could get extremely slippery after rain so proper footwear is a must. As Dominica gets heavy showers very often, it is always handy to carry a set of dry clothes. It is recommended to have a guide, especially for amateur hikers as some of the rainforest trails could get confusing and tricky to negotiate. The ‘Easy’ trails include the Emerald Pool, Trafalgar Falls, Fort Shirley, and Scott’s Head. Those marked ‘Medium’ include Victoria Falls, Morne Anglais, Jaco Flats, and Middleham Falls. The “Hard’ trails include the cliff-trails of Morne Trois Pitons, Boiling Lake, and the Morne Diablotin.
- Papillote Tropical Gardens
The Papillote Gardens are located in Roseau but deserve a separate mention for being a must-visit attraction in Dominica. It is spread over 14 acres and encompasses 2 waterfalls and several natural volcanic hot mineral springs, bathing pools, and popular hiking trails. It even has a restaurant serving Caribbean cuisine if you want to stop and have a breather and a bite. The gardens are a riot of colors with numerous tropical flowering plants and trees like begonias, bromeliads, and indigenous orchids. 30 different species of birds have been sighted in the gardens. You can reach the Papillote Tropical Gardens by following the Trafalgar Falls Road. Try to reach there before late afternoon as the gardens close by 3 p.m. From the gardens you can take a short stroll to get to the popular Trafalgar Falls.
- Beaches of Dominica
Although not the most awe-inspiring among the Caribbean beaches, the island of Dominica has a number of beaches with fine sand and breathtaking views. Many of the Dominica beaches have white sand and black volcanic pebbles; some even have black sand. There are many beaches on the island which have the added attraction of being excellent spots for diving and snorkeling. A popular beach on the eastern coast is the Rosalie Beach in the Rosalie Bay. The beach is situated on the delta of 3 rivers and is a popular breeding ground for turtles in the summer months. Pointe Baptiste Beach near Calibishie has both black and white sand beaches. Once a den for pirates, the beaches have now transformed to popular vacation retreats. The beaches also have excellent snorkeling spots. Prince Rupert’s Bay in the Portsmouth region was the location for the Hollywood blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean.
Roseau – pronounced Ro-zo – is the capital and the largest city in Dominica. It is located on the south western or leeward coast of the island. The city has grown on the former site of the ancient Indian village of Kalinago in Sairi. It is a small and tidy coastal city with a picturesque and colorful assortment of Rastafarian and colonial houses along with the backdrop of lush green mountains. Roseau is the cultural and economic hub of the island nation. It is also the gateway to the beautiful Nature Isle of the Caribbean. Other than the modern seaside promenade, the Bay Front, you can visit the 19th century Roman Catholic Church and the Botanical Gardens. Roseau is an excellent place to try some authentic local cuisine. There are many Caribbean restaurants serving seafood, traditional food, or a more modern fusion cuisine.
- Waitukubuli National Trail
This national trail is named after the original Caribbean name of the island. Popularly called WNT, this 115 mile long distance hiking trail is one of the longest and most unique in the Caribbean. The trail starts from Capuchin in the northern tip of Dominica and runs right up to Scott’s Head at the southern tip of the island. This medium-to-easy trail passes through rainforest, woodland hills, coastal villages, waterfalls, rivers, and touches the coastline at the two ends. Hiking through this varied terrain provides an opportunity to know and understand a lot about the history and culture of the island. Popular spots on the trail include Fort Shirley, historic French settlements, traditional Caribbean villages, the secret escape-passages of slaves, and a host of natural and historical sites. Visitors need an access pass to hike in any of the segments of the WNT.
- Kalinago Cultural Village
Dominica is presently home to the largest settlement of Carib Indians, also known as the Kalinago or the Carib people. A cultural village was set up to focus on the culture and history of the Kalinago people. This village is located on the northeastern coast of the island, about 13 km south of the airport. You can visit the village and take a stroll to see the life of this community from close up. Several traditional wooden buildings are scattered amidst banana and breadfruit trees where the inhabitants are busy weaving baskets or carving canoes. You can also attend a presentation on canoe building and herbal medicine.
- Cabrits National Park
The Cabrits National Park, spanning 1313 acres, is located in a picturesque peninsula near Portsmouth. It was established in 1986 and over the years has grown in to one of the most popular attractions on the island. The park area encompasses wetlands, tropical forests, coral reefs, and Fort Shirley – a historic English garrison. This 18th century garrison once housed 600 British soldiers and is today the most important historic site on this island nation. There are excellent views of the bay from the fort complex. The Cabrits region is popular with the whole family for its scenic locations and easy-to-medium hiking trails. Other than the fort, there are other historic archaeological ruins which can be fun to explore in a group. The hiking trails of this region are very well-marked. Maps of the region can be found at most hotels on the island.
- Champagne Reef
Champagne Reef is located on the south western coast of Dominica. It is about 10 km south of Roseau and 7 km north of the southernmost tip of the island. Champagne Reef is one of the top tourists attractions for its colorful marine life and excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities. It is almost a magical experience as you wade through the clear waters of the sea with continuous streams of bubbles emerging from the sea bed like floating pearls. If you are not much into adventure sports then you can simply laze around and sun bathe at the Champagne Beach. The beach is well equipped with a shower, changing rooms, and a snack bar.
- Morne Trois Pitons National Park
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the biggest draws of this island nation. It is named after the highest mountain in the park – the 1342 m high Morne Trois Pitons, meaning “the mountain with 3 peaks.” Spanning about 17000 acres, the park covers most of the mountainous interior of the island. The park is made up of deep valleys, precipitous slopes, hot springs, 50 fumaroles, a boiling lake, 3 freshwater lakes, and 5 volcanoes! From a tourist point of view, it is home to most of the natural attractions on the island including the Boiling Lake, Emerald Pool, Boeri Lake, Trafalgar Falls, Titou Gorge, and the Valley of Desolation. One of the popular starting points to visit the park is Laudat, a village located 7 miles from the island capital.
Originally posted 2017-03-21 07:48:03.