Unspoilt, lush and remarkably beautiful, Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic) is a Caribbean island nation of the Lesser Antilles. Known as the Nature Island, Dominica and its gorgeous landscape have been known by many as one of the Caribbean’s most charming islands to visit.
A brief glance at any map of the Caribbean will highlight Dominica’s rather small size in comparison to other surrounding islands. Almost 290 square miles in area, this island is a border-less country with islands such as St. Lucia to the south and Antigua and Barbuda to the north. Many experts pin Dominica as being part of both the north Windward Islands and south Leeward Islands.
Climate and Terrain
Surprisingly, Dominica offers moderate tropical temperatures. Locals and visitors alike enjoy temperatures in the 70’s during the winter and a typical summer brings warmth in the 80’s. It, however, is not immune to the common tropical storm and hurricane warnings during hotter months of the year. As an island, it hosts many well-known rain forests and mountainous volcanic locations. Jungles, forests and natural beauty are the trademark of the island.
Like any island, Dominica has many activities that keep both the local community and enthusiastic visitors coming back for more. Many local activities are outdoors, due to the nature of the island’s internal structure. Hiking, fishing, whale watching, diving, and other outdoor activities are among the many things to do while in Dominica. While there are many water related activities, diving is the most popular, and Dominica has hosted divers from all over the world because of the island’s famous coral reefs and off-shore scenery.
Morne Trois Pitons National Park
While Dominica may be hard to find on a map using the naked eye, it is certainly a place recognized for its natural beauty. In fact, Morne Trois Pitons National Park, a park named for the location’s highest mountain peak, has been listed by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 1997. Located in southeast Dominica, Morne Trois Pitons was designated as a national park in 1975, and the location has many unique pieces of scenery including the Boiling Lake, Emerald Pool and the Valley of Desolation.
Located inside the edges of Dominica’s Morne Trois Pitons National Park is a site known around the world as the Boiling Lake. Dominica’s Boiling Lake is a hot lake and is the second largest in the world behind the Frying Pan Lake in New Zealand. The lake is filled with grey-blue water that is typically surrounded by vapor. The lake is not accessible by road and visitors must hike to see the world-acclaimed site.
Dominica and the Morne Trois Pitons National Park area is also home to a natural collection of waterfalls, Trafalgar Falls. Trafalgar Falls is one of the most visited and sought after tourist destinations in the region. After hiking a good distance along a moderately easy path, visitors can access the base where hot springs are located and colder waterfalls lead to. As most of the area is open to swimming, visitors come from everywhere to bathe and sight-see at this popular location.
Cabrits National Park
Another common attraction for visitors and locals alike is Cabrits National Park. Also known as Cabrits, the park is located on the northwestern end of Dominica towards its peninsula and is directly north of Portsmouth, the second largest city in Dominica. Wetlands, forests, and superb coral reefs are just a few of the many preservation areas to see. Also located at Cabrits is an old military garrison, Fort Shirley. Cabrits as a whole encompasses more than 1,000 acres, making it an extensive place to visit.
Roseau is Dominica’s capital and largest city located on the west coast. As a city, Roseau holds the island’s largest population, and as a port on Dominica’s coast it serves as the epicenter for foreign trade and business. The port plays host to cruise ships docked for the day along with cheerful locals offering tours and selling their arts and crafts. At the Old Market Square in Roseau shoppers will find a souvenirs, local tasty dishes, fresh vegetables and fish. Visitors will also enjoy the beautiful French colonial architecture as the explore the many sights in Roseau.
As the old capital and second largest town in Dominica, Portsmouth is just as much the life of trade and attraction as its sister town, Roseau. In Portsmouth, the Indian River and other attractions like diving and whale watching can be found. Fish and farmer’s markets are among the common local hot spots in Portsmouth, and the city also boasts its own coastal port in Prince Rupert Bay. As a city, Portsmouth remains an important place on Dominica island.
Both local and tourist visitors can observe an abundant variety of marine life. Whales, dolphins and other sea creatures are common attractions. One of the most intriguing sights to see is the Sperm Whale. The country is famous for being the only nation in the world where the Sperm Whale can be spotted all year round, making an extraordinary experience for tourists year after year.
Aside from the most famous sites and stops along the way, there are always an endless amount of things to do and see along the shores of Dominica. Horseback riding, snorkeling, Jeep tours, waterfalls and more are some of the popular things found on the island for activity the whole family can enjoy. Tropical gardens, nature walks and the like are also a part of the endless fun available to visitors. As an island filled with glorious attractions, Dominica remains a destination that many are fond of and wish to return to for further exploration.
From the cities of Roseau and Portsmouth to the island’s national parks, Dominica and its traveling pleasures has become known and cherished by outdoor lovers and traveling gurus alike and, as an amazing haven of beauty, it will continue to remain full of new experiences and adventure for its visitors whether by rain forest or seashore.