DOMINICA carries, perhaps, the most apt nickname of all the sandy shores that comprise the West Indies — The Nature Island. With amazing waterfalls, diving, hiking, mountain biking, exotic flora and fauna, and even whale watching; the island probably has more to offer per each of its 290 square miles than any other of the islands in the Caribbean.

Dominica’s interior is rife with towering peaks reaching as high as 4,747 feet (1,447 meters). The result is intrepid hikers are rewarded with views that are nothing short of jaw-dropping. One of the region’s newest and most fantastic hiking adventures, the Waitukubuli National Trail, winds its way through this region. A trans-island route running the entire south-north length of the island, the trail covers a total of 115 miles (184 km) in 14 segments. It takes between 10 and 14 days to complete the whole thing, necessitating some serious refreshment once completed.

Volcanic past

Thanks to the island’s nine (yes nine!) volcanoes, unique geological elements pop up almost everywhere you look. Be sure to check out the Valley of Desolation, Boiling Lake, and Red Rocks up north in Calibishie. Even the capital of city of Roseau sits atop the remains of an ancient pyroclastic flow.

For those seeking a little refreshment, The Nature Island obliges with spectacular waterfalls. One of the most popular, Trafalgar Falls towers just outside the capital city of Roseau. At these twin falls those who dare to venture beyond the viewing platform can enjoy not only a cold dip but also a muscle-melting soak in a hot springs-fed bath. That’s refreshing, to say the least. But with 365 rivers, there are many waterfalls not to be missed. Emerald Pool, Middleham Falls, Sari-Sari Waterfall, and Victoria Falls just to name a few.

Excellent diving

The island’s mountainous terrain continues beyond the coast as divers can visit an underwater volcanic crater. The area around Soufriere, at the southern tip of the island, is considered the best for diving and is now protected, so the many reefs and walls are kept in excellent condition.

Just to the north of Soufriere is the aptly named Champagne Reef snorkeling and dive site. Here underwater explorers can enjoy one of the region’s most unique undersea adventures. Volcanic activity here causes thousands of bubbles to emerge from beneath rocks just a few yards offshore, giving the impression of swimming in a glass of champagne.

Dominica after Hurricane Maria

Since taking a devastating blow from Hurricane Maria in September 2017, the island has rebounded. Roads have been cleared, luxury stays like Secret Bay reopening better than ever, local restaurants once again dishing out incredible West Indian delights, and the natural wonders of the island returning to their former magnificence. It’s a true testament to the strength of this Caribbean community.

Flying here from the United States can take a little more effort than some other islands in the Lesser Antilles, but choosing to fly as opposed to hopping on a cruise ship is well worth the connections!

The Commonwealth of Dominica is a member of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). Therefore, it uses the Eastern Caribbean Dollar which hovers around 3 EC (properly written as XCD) to 1 USD.

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