Dominica Travel Guide – A Comprehensive Guide

Dominica

Once in a rare while, you may be hit by a desire to visit a place where natural attractions abound. If you want to soak in history while marveling at an eco-tourism destination, Dominica perfectly fits the bill.

Touted as the ‘Nature Island of the Caribbean,’ the place is teeming with majestic waterfalls, lush rainforests, splendid mountains, and rare varieties of flora and fauna. However, if relaxation in a natural backdrop and entertainment are topmost in your mind, Dominica is the place to visit. 

A Brief History

Dominica has a unique history for which it has become a famous place to visit by history enthusiasts. Kalinago indigenous people have their territory on the north coast of Dominica. Charles Wiliams was the last chief of this territory, elected in 2014.

‘Waitukubuli’ is the original Kalinago name of this island, which means ‘tall is the body.’ The Waitukubuli Trail passes through the territory on the east coast, where you can visit the cultural center named Kalinago Barana Aute. 

This place is home to nearly 3400 people who live in eight coastal villages occupying a 15 km square area. These people have lived on this island for over a thousand years and are still thriving.

Some colonists later named the Kalinago people Caribs, and their homeland was called Carib Territory. In 1493, some Spanish colonists were also responsible for renaming Dominica.

Then in 1627, the British and French attempted to Colonise Dominica under the reign of Charles I. The French tried to bring Catholic missionaries in 1635, but the attempt went unsuccessful. 

Dominica gained independence in 1978 from the British, but it endured immense struggle for many years after the independence. The political and natural disturbances made the Dominicans suffer for more than 30 years when hurricanes hit the area hard too. Some severe hurricanes devastated 95% of buildings, wiped out the banana industry, and took away the lives of 65 people in 2017. 

Culture and Language 

A Brief History Dominica

Locals of Dominica are amiable and cordial to the visitors. They assist the tourists in locating famous spots and guide them while needed. People are too delightful to host the guests.

The foods and drinks are exceptionally renowned there. If you explore their rural heritage, you can see Dominica’s mixture of African, European, Creole, and indigenous Kalinago cultures.

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People in Dominica use English as their official language, but their local language, Kweyol, influences French, West African Indigenous Languages, and Kalinago. Some villages use Kokoy, which is an English influence. 

Places to Visit 

Trekkers who head through the vanilla orchids and ginger plantations will reach the summit of the twin falls, Trafalgar Falls. Among the must-see spots in Dominica is the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, much of which is primordial rainforest.

It counts among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Also worth visiting is the Carib Territory, a reservation where the first inhabitants of Dominica live.

The Boiling Lake and Valley of Desolation are other exciting places to see in Dominica, which arouses curiosity by their names alone. Boiling Lake is regarded as the most spectacular among the hikes in Dominica. It rests at the bottom of a large basin resembling a sinkhole.

Valley of Desolation is not as desolate as its name suggests. The air is hot and moist, and the sulfur’s sharp, acrid smell may be too much for some people. If bubbling gases, spraying, and hissing geysers, cracks, and holes are not for you, you may be better off exploring other spots.

Why Should You Visit Dominica

Dominica has high mountains, beautiful green forests, and breezy rivers that are worth exploring by travel enthusiasts. The resorts and beaches are just some things you should visit there. There are many adventurous eco-tourist.

This place is adamant about the preservation of its wildlife and local forestry. This island has been considered the most pristine and premier travel destination for nature and outdoor enthusiasts. 

Many unique natural features will add spice to your trip to Dominica. People who love to swim, snorkel and marvel at underwater life will find the place idyllic. There are beautiful beaches, like Champagne, Pointe Baptiste, Scotts Head, and the shimmering Hampstead Beach. There is L’Anse Tortue, also referred to as Turtle Bay for beachgoers who like a secluded spot.

Also Read: Curacao Island Travel Guide

Things to Do  

1. Visiting Trafalgar Falls

Trafalgar Falls is spotted on the west side of Morne Trois Pitons National Park, one of Dominica’s most visited sights. This is a fantastic attraction for hikers and adventure seekers.

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The waterfall sight is incredibly impressive and offers standard facilities to visitors. The young locals of this area assist the tourists around the park’s entrance. You can take a guided tour with you, but in that case, you should negotiate a fee. 

2. Snorkeling/Scuba Diving 

Snorkeling enthusiasts and scuba divers are always welcome to visit Dominica. It is an ideal place for underwater expeditioners as it offers crystal-clear water and Volcanic activity.

The island’s most famous spot for underwater exploration is the Champagne Reef, located on the southwestern coast of Dominica. You will see everything from the seashores while snorkeling or diving. The visitors can also see the old shipwreck 25 feet underwater. 

3. Exploring Dominica Beaches

There are a handful of sea beaches that are a must to explore. You can see uncommon black sand beaches there. The most popular spot is Mero Beach for its black sand. This spot attracts locals and tourists from different parts of the world to hop to bask in the sun. It is to remember that black sand beaches are too hot in the daytime. So, you should bring sandals while going there. 

4. Visiting Papillote Tropical Gardens

Take advantage of visiting Papillote Tropical Gardens, located before the trailhead to Trafalgar Falls. These gardens are one of the best attractions for visitors who want to catch a glimpse of rare wildlife of plants. The visitors can roam around the gardens on their own or take a guided tour. 

6. Going to Fort Shirley 

Fort Shirley has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its unique beauty and history, which includes a mutiny of the American Slave Soldiers. You can explore the history of this spot once you are there. If you are a history enthusiast, make a trip to this site and enjoy intensive adventure activities. 

7. Shopping 

Women who love to shop for trinkets, shirts, bags, fruits & vegetables may also find visiting the Old Market Square in Roseau interesting. The indigenous Kalinago people of Dominica are good at woven crafts and basketwork.

The artisans also create stunning jewelry items from different resources like coconut, cowhorn, etc. You can collect some of their products from other stores or malls. 

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8. Enjoying the Exclusive Dominica Cuisine 

When all the sightseeing leaves you famished, head off to the splattering of restaurants in Roseau or Castle Comfort, Concord, Portsmouth, and some of the hotels.

As with most other countries, varied cuisines will tease and satisfy the palates of travelers to Dominica. Dominican restaurants usually serve locally produced juices, rums, spices, fruits, vegetables, and exotic eats like frogs and rodents.

Best Time to Visit Dominica

If you want to visit Dominica on a low budget, consider visiting between October to January, when the hotel rates are considerably lower than in other months.

In addition, the humidity level during this time remains less stifling, and fewer crowds are seen. While visiting Dominica within this time, you will see a slight variance in the temperatures, residing around 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Winter and Spring months are the favorite time for travelers to visit Dominica when the weather is dry and warm. However, the hotel rates are high in these months. Therefore, it is good to pre-book the rooms before going there to get the best prices in advance during this period. 

We recommend you avoid going there during the rainy season between August and October. During this season, the island is prone to hurricanes and tropical storms. Late August and Early September are the peak hurricane season in Dominica.

October to January is still the rainy season, but the hotels offer great deals. However, if you are okay with cloudy days, go there to enjoy everything in Dominica at the best rates.  

Conclusion 

Dominica is a tiny island, but it has plenty of amazing things and a rich history, which people consider one the best travel destinations in the world. Though the island is undeveloped in the Caribbean, the natural beauty still reigns supreme.

The adventurous hiking mountains, thunderous waterfalls, crystal-clear water of the rivers, etc., made it a place worth visiting for a lifetime.

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