Dominica: Ten great places to visit
(Images: Dominica Tourist Board: Clockwise from top left Mero Beach, horse-riding, Titou Gorge, snorkelling at Toucarie)
The island of Dominica is one of the Caribbean’s hidden gems. It’s home to extraordinary natural beauty, from hidden waterfalls to lush rainforest hikes and bubbling seas filled with colourful marine life. Here are 10 places visitors really shouldn’t miss.
Explore the Titou Gorge: Formed by volcanic lava which cooled and split open, the gorge offers visitors the opportunity to swim through a narrow passage sparkling with light filtered by the forest canopy to a pool with a waterfall. It’s a relatively short swim but life vests are available for rent. “A most unusual experience! Everyone visiting Dominica should take the plunge into the refreshing but cold water,” wrote one visitor. One suggestion: People recommend taking water shoes and a waterproof camera into the gorge, whose name means "little throat".
Snorkelling at Toucari: This secluded spot, just north of Portsmouth and Cabrits National Park, is an ideal spot for snorkelling or shallow diving due to the fantastic marine life. Like Champagne Beach, volcanic gases vent from the sea floor off Toucari Beach and create a wall of bubbles. “What I love about Toucari is that you can snorkel just a few meters out from the beach. The variety of sea life is really amazing and the water is calm and clear,” wrote one traveller. “We saw a monster stingray,” wrote another.
Horse riding at Purple Turtle Beach: How about experiencing Dominica’s natural beauty on horseback? At Purple Turtle Beach in Portsmouth you can enjoy a ride along a two-mile sweep of sand or even take a swim with your horse. You could also explore Fort Shirley, an 18th Century garrison built by the British and the French, which lies in the stunning Cabrits National Park.
Hike to Middleham Falls: A visit to these spectacular falls offers visitors the chance to hike through Dominica’s lush rainforest, home to ferns and orchids. The falls themselves plummet 150 feet into a crisp clear pool of water. Hot hikers can take a cooling swim or simply enjoy the spray from the pounding white water. You can go via the village of Cochrane or from near the village of Laudat. The hike takes about an hour each way but depends on your level of fitness.
Relax on a black sand beach: Dominica is home to several lovely black sand beaches which serve as a reminder of the island’s volcanic heritage. Once you’ve taken a few photos, sit back and relax under a beach umbrella, join in some water sports or sample something delicious from a waterfront bar.
Rejuvenate at the Emerald Pool: Have you ever been swimming in water the colour of emeralds? This popular grotto, on the island’s east coast, has a deep green colour due to the lush rainforest around it. There’s a pretty waterfall and it’s a lovely spot for a swim. “Beautiful walk in the rainforest leads to a refreshing dip in a beautiful cold pool,” wrote one happy visitor.
Laze on the Indian River: A boat ride up the Indian River is the perfect opportunity to see some of Dominica’s beautiful plant and birdlife. Visitors describe the trip as a relaxing and informative journey, which includes the chance to stop at a local rum bar for some refreshments.
Work up at sweat to the Boiling Lake: You have to put in the effort to reach this natural wonder – it’s a tough 2-3 hour hike (each way) through the forest, crossing over streams and ridges. But it's worth it – the Boiling Lake is an impressive bubbling cauldron in a flooded volcanic vent. If the hike sounds too challenging, visitors can choose to go as far as the Valley of Desolation, which is a sulphur spring and geyser park in its own right.
Learn about local culture at the Kalinago Barana Autê: This model village offers visitors a great opportunity to experience the heritage of the Kalinago people, Dominica’s pre-colonial indigenous inhabitants. You can try the fine art of basket weaving and see how cassava bread is made. There are also presentations on traditional canoe building and herbal medicine.
Give back – voluntourism: One way to get to know the island is by making a meaningful contribution to its tourism recovery. Choose one of the many voluntourism opportunities available as you enjoy and explore the destination and engage in an experience of a lifetime!