Don't Miss Places In Dominica
Dominica is the biggest of the group of Islands in the eastern Caribbean. Thick vegetation can be found on its volcanic landscape, and numerous waterfalls are strategically located on the heart of the forests. Dominica sometimes exports its surplus water to other islands. Most Dominicans are villagers whose roots can be traced back to African slaves or British and French settlers. On Sunday, November 3, 1439, Christopher Columbus discovered the island and gave its rightful name as Dominica. It follows the day when it was first found, a Sunday which is literally translated as Dominica in Latin. Dominica became a fully independent nation in the year 1978.
Here are the top ten not to be missed places when in Dominica.
Middleham Falls is one of the most stunning waterfalls in Dominica. To reach the magnificent looking falls, you must take a drive to the somewhat cumbersome signposted parking that begins in the capital city of Roseau. Travel along an adventurous road that leads deep into the mountain region of Dominica. Passing through a jungle is an experience that must not be missed when looking for the falls area. The tour is a bit tiring because you have to use your hands to climb rocks. A good one hour trek along and uphill and downhill road may seem a bit troublesome but it’s all worth the long path to see the view of the rocky caves of the 35 meter narrow Ti Tou Gorge and the almost 70 meter high waterfall attraction.
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The water directly plunges into the waiting washed pool where swimmers can take a dip beneath the biggest waterfall in Dominica. There is a designated platform where tourists are allowed the obligatory souvenir photo opportunity beside the view of the great falls. The place is truly exotic, the journey is very physical and one must swim properly (tourists must take a 5 minute swim in the gorge before reaching the waterfall). The whole experience is invigorating and rewarded with exceptional views for those who love nature.
Ti Tou Gorge
The Ti Tou Gorge has no top to access. Once there you have to keep up with the icy water, swim in the gorge to reach the bottom of the cave and witness a magnificent spectacle. For those who are not very comfortable in the water do not go. The path is narrow and there are no walkways to support, plus its dark but it is worth all the hustle for the truly adventurous one.
After a bit of walking, you will reach a small plateau where you can descend the stairs to cool off in the water. At the output do not hesitate to take a shower in the small hot spring waterfall located at the foot of the basin. The water is very cold especially during the summer season. The Gorge is like a cleft in the rocks leading to the breathtaking Middleham Falls.
The path to the Sari-Sari Waterfall is easy to find if you follow the directions with a guide. However, some steep ups and downs are to be overcome and two small rivers are needed to be crossed. In the end it comes down to a small viewing platform from which you can watch the really high and powerful waterfall. You can rent a small boat on the river bed up so you can get in the pool to below the waterfall and refresh yourself.
Unlike other waterfalls on the island only a few tourists find their way here so you can enjoy everything in peace. The site is easy to find and you can park at the beginning of the path. You can cross the river several times playing hopscotch (or not) with pebbles. At the end turn left and the show is stunning, a rainbow misted waterfall located on a small hole between rocks.
The Roseau Museum traces the history and the geological formation of Dominica. It's interesting but the media presentations are very simple. There are many texts in plain English and old/damaged photos that are still proudly put up on display. It is a small museum in the center of the Roseau City which has the ancient and cultural history of the island. It can be visited quickly and opens early morning and closes at 2pm. It is attractively presented and the receptionist/curator knows so many things about each piece of artifacts and how they were found.
Everything is explained and exhibited in English language only. It traces the origin of the country by the presence of the early natives called the Caribs. The astonishing and precise description of every date and detail is astonishing and meticulously preserved. The large painting of Queen Victoria greets every eager visitor at the staircase of this simple but valuable museum. It is located near the Tourist Information Center and the City’s Market Square.
The Caribbean island of Dominica is not one that has more attractions, but between these there is one that means a different experience. This thrilling wonder can be found at the Champagne Beach. It is about 15 minutes by bus from the City of Roseau. Enter the Southern route to Soufriere’s is a small cliff which can be reached by a pleasant path when the space between the mountain and the sea disappears in a very long wooden walkway parallel to the sea and the cliffs lined with palm trees on the side of the mountain. The walkway ends at a small beach of stones.
To experience the “Champagne Diving Experience” visitors must swim up to the reef side of the beach. What is it and why it is called so? Dominica is a volcanic island and there is a geological phenomenon that occurs from the bottom of the sea and through numerous holes constantly brings out thousands of bubbles that rise and disappear upon reaching the surface.
The depth varies from one to four meters so it is easy to swim through the bubbles. Wear underwater goggles to enjoy the amazing scene at the ocean floor. A snorkeling tube helps a diver to remain immersed in the water giving an impression of being inside a glass of bubbly champagne. You can hear a whisper or hiss produced by bubbles rising to the surface.
It is a vivid experience that is both fun and enjoyable. You could put your finger into the holes of the ocean floor and let the bubbles out while you are surrounded by thousands of other fish. After living this experience visit the south of the island and ride on the same minibuses where you will find beautiful villages of fishermen and the Scott Soufriere’s Head where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed.
Papillote Tropical Gardens
The Papillote Tropical Gardens is a rare find, a beautiful park that is well maintained with many charming and remaining wild corners (waterfalls, rainforest integrated). It has an incredible flora and fauna with a small wildlife attraction that includes birds and various lizards. Inside there is an opportunity to also enjoy 2 pools that are close to each other, one with a hot springs and one with a cascade of cold water. These gardens are really exotic and two of its best assets are its natural rainforest and the majestic presence of its rare plants.
You can walk by yourself or you can hire a guide. There are lots of tropical greenery, interesting trees, natural waterfalls and pools. Inside there is a decent restaurant. It can be all enjoyed within two hours with a well versed guide who knows every plant and wildlife species in the botanical garden. Tourists can enjoy a soak on their hot spring amenities with a view of the different species of birds (hummingbirds in different colors) frolicking around the gardens and fruit bearing trees.
Boiling Lake – Mourne Trois Pitons National Park
For those who want to see things out of the ordinary, the Boiling Lake is an excursion to do. The natural spectacle between permanent pasture and steaming bubbling water from another water source is a unique experience. A special highlight of the tour is the relaxing bath in one of the many warm pools. To reach this famous lake takes 3 and a half hours down and 3 hours back on a guided trail along unmarked paths.
The path to the Boiling Lake is difficult, but is still available for people who are not too used to walking long distances. After 3 hours of hard work you will be rewarded by the sight of the boiling lake. Along the way you will pass through the Valley of Desolation with its lunar landscape, small chimneys giving off steam volcanoes, geysers with sulfur odor in white or black as oil color.
Important reminder; it is necessary to hire a guide for this hike, because in some places there is no markup (including through the valley of desolation) and you risk getting lost along the canyons. The scenery along the way is amazing and must not be missed during a stay in Dominica.
Emerald Pool Nature Trail
The hike to the Emerald Pool is easy and accessible to all including young children. 15 minutes walk is enough to lead to the majestic falls that flows into a small water basin with crystal clear waters. There are no difficulties to reach the course that leads to the falls. Once at the foot of the falls tourists are allowed to swim on its almost remote atmosphere where one can find quiet moments on a desert island with a lush landscape. It is located in the heart of Dominica and famous for being the little waterfall in the middle of the forest.
If you have luck and no tourist has arrived, you can enjoy the tranquility and particularly idyllic ambience of the Emerald Pools. The waterfall presents a turquoise play of color with a bright sparkle when the sun hits its waters. It is fresh water but it is bearable considering the outside temperature. From its location you will be able to admire two tourist spots: a small waterfall that flows into a pool of green water where you can dive and a vantage point from which you can see in the distance the Atlantic Ocean. The hike back to the parking area offers panoramic views of the coast.
After a short half hour on a narrow road and steep mountain, you can walk about ten minutes to get in front of two huge waterfalls cascading down the slopes of a volcano. You can swim in two streams, one is cool, the other warm. Access is easy, although it is a bit slippery in the wet places. The Trafalgar Falls (2 side by side) is an absolute must try to get as close as possible to the right and swim to the fall (cold water) and do not stop at the lookout.
Then on the return take a bath in the hot springs. A guide is not necessarily required. But a resident tour guide or local can help you discover the beautiful corners that can be found within the surroundings of this attraction. Enjoy a nice walk in the forest where the trail is clean and there is a provided wooden staircase and ramp for the toughest parts of the trail.
The Portsmouth Island is full of "natural" attractions but the most visited sitesare building monuments like the Fort Shirley. It allows in addition to having a beautiful view over the bay of Portsmouth and a climb on small mountains called Cabrits. Standing within the Cabrits National Park, the remains of the citadel built by the English dominates the harbor. It is being renovated. More than the fort, it is the variety of the surrounding forest and harbors that looks more interesting. Dense vegetation rises behind this harbor in the Southern part of Dominica.
The country is internationally promoted as the Caribbean’s Nature Island. The typical scene from the harbor area is the presence of huge cargo ships loading bananas. Dominica relies heavily on the export of bananas which provide over half of the island’s income.