Dominica Travel Guide
What to see in Dominica
Of course, one of the biggest draw for visitors to Dominica is the nature itself. The outdoors, water sports and a slow pace of life make up the base of a great Dominica trip, however there are alternatives to keeping yourself engaged.
Top natural activities in Dominica
Let’s start with the major attraction of the nature island The nature-related activities.
Middleham Falls One of my most cherished walks in Dominica led me to the waterfall I love most we saw, Middleham Falls.
The hike’s beginning point starts from a parking space that is located near Ti Tou Gorge and takes about an hour to reach the waterfall. Similar to many hiking trails on Dominica the trail isn’t always smooth and muddy at certain points however, with the exception of a small ascend that includes a few stairs I’d suggest this is an easy, round trip hike. The views from Middleham Falls are spectacular. If you’re not averse to the cold water, take your swimming gear.
A single of the well-known tourist attractions on the island, The Emerald Pool is popular with cruise ship passengers, therefore plan your trip taking this into consideration.
When you reach the location that is easy to get to where you can take a dip in the gorgeous pool while listening to the tiny waterfall.
The Freshwater Lake
A favorite swimming spot for locals, this lake is at the top of the island. When I was there, I literally was floating in cloud.
Another spot to enjoy refreshing swimming. A small kayaking spot is often available, along with a tiny cafe inside the visitor’s hut.
Hike to the Boiling Lake
One of the most difficult hikes on the island that I’ll admit, I didn’t attempt is the hike up to the Boiling Lake.
I’ve heard different quotes ranging between 4 and 8 hours, as those on the island talked to me about the hike however one thing is certain If you choose to go up it, you’ll be rewarded with an unforgettable experience.
The Boiling Lake is huge and is one of only a handful of lakes in the world that truly boiling. It’s a cool spot on the mountainous and volcanic terrain of Dominica.
Morne Trois National Park
The UNESCO registered Park of Dominica is the largest among these wonders that I am writing about. I am mentioning it in order to make sure you require a “national park pass’ in order to access the islands’ parks and rangers will be looking for the.
Your driver will be able to guide you in the right direction to purchase. In theory you could find any of the visitor centres within the parks will be able to offer you one, though I did notice that during the off-season, a number of these were closed. The cost for a week’s pass is around 30 XCD or about 12 USD. It’s not cost-effective even.
The most frequented and well-known waterfalls on Dominica, Trafalgar Falls is another one that is popular with cruise travelers who have a short time. From the parking lot It’s only a 10-minute hike to get to twin waterfalls via the stairs.
The two falls are in a row after which, when you’re done admiring the view, you can stop over to The River Rock Cafe located at the end of the road to enjoy delicious creole cuisine.
Another one, located in the eastern part of Dominica which is famous for its misty appearance due to the motion of the winds. In a remote area in the rainforest It is unlikely to have the crowds like, say, The Emerald Pool.
Wooten Waven or Sulphur Springs
I wasn’t terribly impressed by Wooten Waven, an area for rejuvenation that has warm springs that flow in to man-made pools.
Another alternative and a more natural alternative according to what I’ve seen could be to go to Sulphur Spring pools. Sulphur Spring pools for an R&R fix.
Cabrits National Park
A peninsula that is located just off Portsmouth, Cabrits National Park is the home of forests, wetlands, as well as coral reefs that are on its edges. It’s also the location of Forty Shirly, an English fortification that was used to defend the area, is located.
Waitukubuli National Trail
This trail is a soaring one that connects all the walking trails across Dominica and, taking about two weeks to complete is among the most enjoyable ways to explore Dominica’s natural beauty and adventure enthusiasts.
Imagine everything: massive waterfalls, forests brimming with parrots, amazing gorges, and truly unspoiled nature.
Ti Tou Gorge
If you’re looking to explore the gorges in Dominica and not actually canyoning, Ti Tou Gorge is an excellent option.
Life jackets are available to rent at a cost of a couple dollars for those who are anxious However, the currents increase in strength towards the small waterfall within. It’s just a five-minute swim starting at the beginning, in which is a tiny pool-like area through the moss-covered gorge , to access the tiny waterfall within.
Canyoning in Dominica
If you are looking to increase the intensity of your experience in the gorge, taking a trip Canyoning at an easy or more advanced level is among the most thrilling adventures you can enjoy in Dominica.
The folks of Extreme Dominica have been involved in the sport for a long time, and I enjoyed the half-day excursion with Extreme Dominica. Read my other blog regarding Canyoning in Dominican and the video below.
The top cultural events in Dominica
If you’re looking for an escape from diving in the refreshing water or trekking through the rainforests Here are some ideas to help you plan your trip to Dominica.
Boat up the Indian River
In Portsmouth the second city in Dominica you can board an old wooden boat, where an experienced guide will be using an oar that will take you along to the Indian River.
It was named for it being among the initial places where the Kalinago moved into when they came to the island, it was also an ideal location for filming Pirates of the Caribbean. The river is lined with an outdoor bar where you can enjoy the rum, however, it’s a tourist spot, so I wasn’t too surprised when the bar didn’t seem authentic in the bar. Nor did the rum punch taste the most delicious I’ve had in Dominica.
Kalinago Reserve Visit
One of the most effective methods to find out more about Kalinago who were the first residents from Dominica will be by visiting the small village near the ocean, Barana Aute.
For less than 30 XCD, you are able to participate in a brief visit to the village, which has been constructed to teach tourists and other visitors the traditional ways of life along with an introduction to the history of the village. Dancing, weaving and food can be available in this area.
Like many of the Caribbean the background of misery and slavery is part of the Dominican past beginning with Christopher Columbus, the Spanish as well as Christopher Columbus, followed by the French and British.
On the more slender islands of the Caribbean indigenous peoples were slaves or murdered. In Domnica the mountains aids the Kalinago to hide from invaders. Many of them maintained their lives and traditions on the remote east coast. The protected area on the island is referred to by the name of Carib Quarter and covers some 3700 acres of land, and has a population of about 3500.
Learn to cook in a cooking class
If you’re looking not only to taste the Dominica food and learn to prepare a delicious meal and learn how to cook it, then you should take an cookery class in Dominica by Daria.
Daria’s cooking class is still going strong since the year 2016. Her charismatic and warm personality makes you feel immediately relaxed and at ease. It’s like cooking with a friend from the past at her home kitchen.
Go to at the Bush bar (rum is considered to be a part of culture, isn’t it? )
One of the most enjoyable ways to spend up your days in the Caribbean is to sip a glass of Rum punch and Dominica is not an exception.
The bars are well-stocked with different flavors of rum, the bar in the bush is a bit in the midst of cities and towns, and the intimate and typically wooden shacks are great spots to sip some, particularly those with stunning ocean views.
Markets in Roseau
Markets in Roseau are the place to gain access to the abundant supply of fresh fruit and other vegetables from Dominica.
From enormous avocados to freshest mangos, you’ll discover everything here, amongst vibrant vendors, lively laughter, and lots of great stories.
Morne Bruce Viewpoint
To see a panoramic view of Roseau city, make sure to visit The Morne Bruce viewpoint. This is a historic spot that was named in honour of James Bruch, a royal engineer who was involved in the creation of several castles that were built on this island under in the English occupation.
The tiny Dominica Museum is located in Roseau right across from the cruise port in the city centre.
Carnival and Independence Celebrations
When planning your visit, you should know that the Carnival celebrations take place in February. The creole-music celebrations, which are followed by Independence celebrations take place between the latter half of October and in early December.
In Cabrits National Park, Fort Shirley is an ancient English garrison, which is now a hostel and an information centre.
Amazing beaches to explore in Dominica
You’re ready to unwind and relax? Although Dominica does not have the postcard white beaches of many neighbors Caribbean islands The beaches are gorgeous with their black and silver sands. One of the advantages I discovered that when I visited in the off-season is that they were almost always empty.
My personal favorite beach that we went to, the drive to Batabou is only half the trip.
The beach is actually a private property and you’ll need to pay some money to enjoy the beach, however the palm-lined beach with lush vegetation everywhere is a dream and tranquil when we went in the off-season. The beach bar is open in the summer months however, I’m sure it’s a busy place.
The most well-known beaches on Dominica can be found at Mero Beach. Long stretch of silver sand, there are couple of restaurants and bars on this stretch where you can grab an ice cold beer from the local bar or a bite to take a bite to eat.
Black beaches of sand in Portsmouth
The beaches surrounding Portsmouth were among the sands with the most dark colors on the island. I thoroughly enjoyed getting up at Picard Beach Cottages and walking out onto white sand with a soft, black hue every morning.
Scotts Head Lookout and Beach
The point at which the Caribbean sea joins the Atlantic The Atlantic Ocean is located at Scotts Head Lookout you can clearly see the line that the island extends to with two different colours apparent on the opposite side.
It is famous for the Champagne Reef, where bubbling waters, hence the name originate from the volcanic springs that lie in the bed of ocean. It’s a very popular place to snorkel and spot turtles.
St Joseph Beach
I was awestruck by this beach. It’s just a few steps the hill from Mero Beach but it was practically empty. The village is adorable and vibrant and, if you own an automobile, this is a great place to stop at when you travel along across the western coast of Dominica.
Animal encounters in Dominica
If that’s not enough to keep your interest, there’s many animal sightings to be had in Dominica And thankfully there aren’t any predators roaming the island.
The Caribbean is well-known for its diving because of the clear warm water with excellent visibility and an the abundance of corals and wildlife. The least disturbed in the Carribean are found here in Dominica
Watching whales (and dolphin) watching
Dominica is among the few countries worldwide with an inhabited population of sperm whales and you’re likely to find these creatures here.
Boats depart every day to observe the whales from an uninvolved range (for they, not for you) and utilize sonar radios to locate them. The swimming with Whales is strictly controlled and comes with a limited number of permits and high cost.
Watching birds and bird trails and Syndicate Nature Trail
Dr Birdy is a well-known institution in Dominica So bird watching was a lot of fun because it was something I’d never usually do.
Alongside knowing all you need to learn about the island’s native bird species The walk we took with Bertrand the aptly named Dr Birdy was also instructive about the fauna and flora of the island. We were fortunate enough to see the famous Imperial Parrot through the telescope along with a variety of other species of birds. An extremely informative approach to exploring the forests of Dominica.
Where can you stay in Dominica
I stayed at two distinct locations in Dominica First, in the Fort Young Hotel in Roseau then I stayed at the Picard Beach Cottages in Portsmouth Both very different locations, however I enjoyed each for different reasons.
There are many options for accommodations on the island including hostels, as well as there is the premier five star hotel in the island is expected to open in 2019, which will be the Kempinski. Jungle Bay and Secret Bay are two stunning resorts for those wanting to indulge yourself.
Fort Young Hotel
Just a few steps away from the Roseau capital’s bars and markets and restaurants, it’s the perfect spot for those seeking the convenience of accessibility. A 3-star hotel located set in an historic building that has a restaurant, bar and a pool. I enjoyed the fact that the rooms that face the ocean were surrounded by views. It was like being in a cruise vessel.
Picard Beach Cottages
I loved these little cottages located situated just outside the port city, Portsmouth. They were right on the sea, the cottages were equipped with a small kitchen, the lounge room, as well as the balcony was straight to the ocean. Choose a room with a view of the water and unwind with the waves.
Tours of Dominicia
The journey to Dominica is just part of the fun, considering that Dominica isn’t served by any airlines or long-haul flights.
Make use of a search engine , like Skyscanner,when planning your flight, as it will likely show the options for connecting to Dominica and will always be routed , and connect to a neighboring Caribbean country.
Two airports are located on this island, however Douglas Charles (DOM) is the one you’ll most likely be booking flights to and not that smaller Canefield airport that is located near Roseau. The transfer time between DOM from DOM to Roseau is about one hour.
From the UK For example you can make a booking through British Airways or Virgin Atlantic that offer code-sharing for Antigua in which you can change for the 30-minute LIAT flight. LIAT along with inter-Caribbean, are both the principal airlines that serve Dominica.
From the USA There are also airlines that connect automatically. If not, you’ll have to make reservations in two phases and that’s why I’d suggest spending two nights on Antigua as well as another Caribbean island, to maximize your time you have to check-in again on your arrival. (On another note, you should check whether you’ll require an entry visa to your destination).
Although we booked through BA but at the time of departure, our luggage was traced to Dominica and we were able to make use of the transit facility at Antigua airport to obtain our boarding passes. On our return, we had to take our luggage in Antigua and then re-check-in, I believe that this was because of Dominica airport being tiny and lacking the security features needed to ensure flights can fly within EU airspace.
Connections to Antigua, Barbados, St Maarteen, St. Lucia and Guadeloupe are possible, and so is Puerto Rico which may be the best choice for travelers from other states.
If you’re planning to go to a Cruise then you’ll be arriving straight into Roseau probably. There are two cruise berths available in Dominica One is located situated in Woodbirdge Harbour and another in Cabrits close to Portsmouth Naturally, based on the number of cruise ships in the area at any given time will determine the location you dock.
For those who travel via ferry or boat, these also mainly are able to arrive at Roseau and the most up-to current timetables are available on the websites of the operators. The destinations covered by catamarans and ferries are: Guadeloupe, St Lucia and Martinique.
How to get around Dominica
Dominica isn’t an enormous island, however the rugged and mountainous terrain mean it takes a long time to travel long distances.
Local buses, at only a few dollars connect towns and villages and cities, with the hub being located in Roseau in addition to Portsmouth. There is also a local bus service at the airport, though it’s not a regular service.
Taxis aren’t cheap, but they can be a viable option, and so is hiring vehicles that have drivers. Most of the companies will provide a pick-up service from your hotel.
A car rental is the best method to travel across the island. Just be familiar with the routes at the start of your trip and be cautious when driving. If you are in more than one person sharing a car it can reduce your expenses substantially. Our vehicles and drivers came directly from The Happy Car as well. Alex was an absolute pleasure to work with.
You must have an international driving license while driving and be insured. insurance.
Dominica visas and security
Dominica is considered to be a secure country within the Caribbean with very low rates of crime. I’d definitely recommend keeping an eye on the roads, particularly if driving as the roads in some areas are shaky and may quickly change to single-file. A large part of this is because of the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria While a good portion of the island is now fully rebuilt, but some restoration work is still ongoing.
As with any other place, be aware of prudence just as you would elsewhere and also when you are at home.
While Malaria is not a major issue in Dominica, Zika has been discovered here, and therefore mosquito sprays or nets are recommended.
The Hurricane season runs from June until November Be well-prepared and aware in case an emergency occurs.
Health in Dominica
Outside of the major cities like Rosea and Portsmouth pharmacies can be difficult to locate. Take mosquito spray with you, and for hiking or walks, carrying a first aid kit is a good idea.
There is a hospital for all patients located in Roseau However, for certain treatments , you might have to be transported across the ocean to another location. It’s difficult to provide an accurate medical and health information on Dominica.
Although tap water is considered safe, and a lot of people consume it however, the CDC does issue an advice against drinking tap water. Make the choice that fits you most, or carry the life-straw or something similar to get additional assurance.
Dominica travel costs
The cost of your trip to Dominica will differ depending on whether you’re going local or going to more popular spots like the bars that line the port’s main street in Roseau.
But, Dominica seemed a lot cheaper and more reasonable to me than Aruba or Antigua.
The currency in Dominica can be described as the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, and the majority of menu prices are listed in this format. However, this is only a few of the restaurants closest to Roseau port. Roseau port, and a few hotels which charge their rates in USD and appear more expensive.
However, in these bars , we’d ask about the local drinks and would always receive drinks with rum that were much less expensive than the USD priced prices. If this was due to the fact that we went out of the cruise season, I’m not certain.