Dominica is the largest of the Windward Islands (15 miles by 29 miles) lying between Guadeloupe and Martinique. It rises steeply from the ocean to the highest point of Morne Diablotin (4747ft). The island is mountainous and rain forested, known as the ‘Nature Island of the Caribbean’. It is most beautiful, with the best diving and hiking in the area and is probably the most unspoilt and eco friendly island in the Caribbean.
Transport – Accommodation – Dining Out
You normally fly from London to Antigua with an onward local flight from there to Melville Hall Airport. You can also fly to Barbados and St Lucia so two centre holidays is possible. Cruise ships either dock at Portsmouth in the northwest or at Roseau, the capital, which lies 20 miles south.
Taking a holiday in Dominica you will have the opportunity of exploring the island’s unspolilt natural wonders; you have a small range of properties offering different types of accommodation for your stay. Nested on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea is the premier Fort Young Hotel (built on the site of the former fort and incorporating some of its features) close to the capital of Roseau in the southwest. If you wish to be close to nature stay in a cottage at Jungle Bay situated in the southeast and enjoy their all inclusive Jungle Spa Adventure. In the northeast, the intimate, privately owned Calibishie Guesthouse is just a few minutes walk from one of the island’s rare sandy beaches, and with its secluded setting and personal service, offers its guests a special holiday experience.
Dining out is informal; try the Old Stone Bar & Grill or The Zamaan both in Roseau, the Papillote Restaurant near Trafalgar Falls or the Waterfront Restaurant at Fort Young.
Places to Visit – Things to Do
The newly opened Waitukubuli National Trail is the Caribbean’s first long distance walking trail offering the hiker over 100 miles of stunning tropical scenery – the trail is made up of 14 manageable segments. In the north you will find Champagne Beach where bubbling underwater vents create a fascinating snorkeling experience. Also north of Portsmouth are the ruins of the British Fort Shirley, formerly one of the most important military sites in the West Indies which at one time housed 600 men. You can enjoy an exhilarating swim up the narrow Ti Tou Gorge which ends at a breathtaking waterfall. For those who are fit, you can attempt the 15 mile, 7 hour hike to the boiling lake through the Morne Trois Pitons National Park to the Valley of Desolation and eventually Boiling Lake. You are rewarded with beautiful scenes of lush rainforest, valleys, mountains and rivers and finally the crater bubbling with sulphur and mist. Take time to visit the breathtaking Trafalgar Falls on the edge of the park. You can enjoy a refreshing dip in these unique falls where the water runs both hot and cold. Take a walk along the White River and climb the boulders up to the Victoria Falls and enjoy a refreshing swim under their thundering falls. For a less strenuous activity try River Tubing, admiring the tropical scenery while you travel gently downstream. ‘Twitchers’ are happy as there are 170 recorded bird species on the island including the very rare Sisserou Parrot which you can see at the beautiful Botanical Gardens at Roseau. Close to Roseau is the Emerald Pool at Pont Case.
Culture and History
Discovered by Columbus in 1493, Dominica is quite rugged, but beautiful with many valleys, rivers and waterfalls. Because of its rough terrain, the island has remained unspoilt with very low-key tourism, agriculture still being the mainstay of the island’s economy. The ‘Carib Indians’ manage to survive to this day, at the Carib Territory situated in the northeast of the island.
The last Carib Indians left in the Caribbean
There are only 3000 Caribs remaining after years of brutal treatment by the Spanish, French and British. They live in eight villages in the East Coast of the island called the Carib Territory. You should find time to visit, where you will get a friendly welcome from these people who still lead very simple lives. The territory includes several local craft shops with attractive gifts.
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Photo: Dominica Beach (RG) 92