With a wide variety of stunning fauna and flora, a typically tropical climate and a scenic landscape filled with rain forested mountains, lakes and waterfalls and beautiful beaches do you really need a reason for a vacation to Dominica? As an eco-tourism destination it is one of the best and visitors are given a warm and friendly welcome.
Eco-tourism may be a fairly new kid on the vacation block but it’s no fad thing – it’s here to stay and Dominica knows how to make the best of its assets. There are a number of resorts specifically set up to give you the best adventure experiences of the island. There are hiking and trekking tours, kayak trips, donkey rides, mountain bike rides and diving and snorkelling excursions and when your energy is sapped most resorts have excellent spas where you are re-enervated ready for the next day’s wonderment.
Dominica is classed as a biodiversity hotspot and thanks to an aggressive policy to remain unspoiled and untouched by mass tourism the wonders are many:
Many mountains on the island soar to 5,000 feet and there are deep valleys in between with rivers running the gorges. Being volcanic they are heavy on drama; smouldering peaks with thick dense carpets of forest and tropical plants, pools and lakes, including 2 at elevations of around 2,500 feet, waterfalls at cataracts, like Trafalgar Falls which plunge into the Emerald Pool. Most of the island’s 290 square miles is covered in lush rainforest. There are 3 national parks and 2 forest reserves. Whilst walking or trekking Dominica, you’ll encounter a wide variety of vegetation. There are over 1,000 species of flowering plants including 200 different types of fern and 74 orchids.
Bird watching is a popular activity on Dominica as there about 270 species. Like most tropical birds they are highly colorful and many have interesting rituals and displays. The national bird of Dominica is an indigenous parrot type called the Sisserou and this is on the endangered list along with the red-necked parrot. Other major birds are hawks, herons and hummingbirds.
Animals include opossum, the rabbit-like agouti, iguana, other lizards and a large variety of non-poisonous snakes. The whistling frog is unique to the island as are the Snout and Hairstreak butterflies. One particular area of the island, Rosalie beach, is popular with nesting sea turtles. There’s an initiative in operation to conserve Giant Leatherbacks, Hawksbill and Green Turtles.
With 365 rivers, plus streams and waterfalls and 4 cold, freshwater lakes there are plenty of water features to delight but possibly the most interesting are the hot sulfur springs and the boiling lake – the world’s second largest hot spring. Most of the rivers are suitable for bathing with warm waters and many a Dominican spends a Sunday afternoon enjoying riparian entertainment. The rivers spawn waterfalls and pools and where the pool meets a geothermic vent, the sulfurous waters are great for the skin and numerous joint related conditions.
Being a relatively new island in terms of geological age and with thermo-volcanic energy still active many of the beaches on Dominica are black rather than golden sand but they are still magnificent. There’s a choice of the Atlantic or the Caribbean coast with those on the Atlantic being more dramatic in nature and less swim friendly, but not sufficiently off putting. At Scott’s Head you can enjoy a unique experience of paddling in both the Atlantic and Caribbean at the same time when the tide is high. Rosalie Bay is one of the most picturesque Atlantic beaches and is a long, wide and sandy with breathtaking views. Salisbury is amongst the pick of the Caribbean beaches. There are 3 different reefs and one can be reached by paddling along the shoreline. It’s well set up for lazy days with a bar in the middle or sit and chat with local fishermen that use one end. Essentially though, there is a Dominican beach for all tastes, whether you want seclusion or a hub of water sports you just explore the range on offer until you find your favorite.
If you are interested in whale watching, Dominica is the place to do it. There’s a pod of sperm whales that have made the waters around the island their home all year round and dolphins are quite common with spinner, spotted and bottlenose varieties being regularly spotted. Other species to look out for are killer whales, pygmy sperm whales, humpbacks and common dolphins, plus more. Dominica is one of the world’s best dive areas with the underwater world being as diverse and dramatic as the land terrain. Sunken volcanoes, deep drop offs, underwater springs, hot and cold, caves and abundant coral reefs support a huge kaleidoscope of marine life of tropical fish, sponges and sea horses. Diving and snorkeling the crystal clear blue seas off the island is a true Caribbean adventure.
Where to Stay, Hotels in Dominica
We recommend the Fort Young Hotel. The hotel, situated within walking distance of Roseau, overlooks the Caribbean sea, and is approximately 35-minutes driving distance from the nearest beach. Hotel amenities include duty free shops, dive shop, business center, sun terrace, health and beauty center, conferencing facilities which include one VP Meeting room that seats up to twenty persons and a conference room which seats up to one hundred and thirty persons, business center, exercise room, Jacuzzi, tour assistance, and water sports. Onsite drinks and dining are available at Marquis de Bouille, Waterfront Restaurant, Boardwalk Caf??, and the Balas Bar & Lounge.Guest rooms feature A/C, ceiling fans, direct-dial telephones, cable TVs, terraces or balconies, limited sea views, and twin or queen-sized beds.
With a friendly people who love and proudly share their culture with visitors, a visit to Dominica is worthy of being called a true Caribbean adventure.