Calibishie and its Picturesque Hellish Side
Calibishie is an excellent example of a phenomenon I often experience throughout our Caribbean travels and never get tired of. You see, Calibishie is one of those places I never sought out as a must-visit, but when I finally got there, I never wanted to leave.
Barely carved out of the thick jungles along the north coast of the Nature Island, Calibishie is home to many delights.
For one thing, there are (nearly) white sand beaches here. Indeed, an uncommon sight (as Steve mentioned before) on an island as heavily volcanic as Dominica. And best of all, much of that bright sand stretches for almost the entire length of the bay.
Just back from the beaches are several small shops and restaurants lining the main road. At any one of these, you can sit and enjoy a steady sea breeze while doubly enjoying locally grown and prepared meals. (My favorite is Coral Reef Bar & Restaurant if you’re looking for a recommendation on where to stop.)
Calibishie is also home to freshwater pools, hiking trailheads, and Dominica’s longest barrier reef. In fact, that’s how Calibishie got its name. “Cali” meaning “net” in Kalinago and “bishie” for “reef.” Translation: “net of reefs.”
Partly because of this extensive reef “netting” creating an accessible habitat for conch and lobster, Calibishie is believed to be one of the oldest settlements on all of Dominica.
So, yeah, there’s a lot to like about this little Caribbean community, and I highly recommend any traveler making the trip up here to experience the chill atmosphere in the middle of lush surroundings.
But that said, there is a hellish side to Calibishie!
It has to do with the twin rocks pictured above. They’re the first things you see as you turn into town. There they are, pushing right out of the sea like two big buck teeth in a toddler’s mouth. I immediately thought they were stunning and couldn’t wait to photograph them with Calibishie in the background. So, during a lunch stop, I managed to do just that.
It was only later, back home, that I began researching these unique formations. That was when I learned they’re known as “Mayanbaccali” in Kalinago, aka “Port D’Enfè,” aka “the Gate of Hell!”
The Gate of Hell?!
Unfortunately, I couldn’t manage to uncover much on the reasoning for this hellish handle. If you have any history on these rocks, feel free to send it my way.
Until I learn the real history, I’ll just hope the scary name has more to do with leaving cozy Calibishie and its protective reef for the open water… And not the other way around!