Caribbean Travel Guide: Dominica

Tourism and the Caribbean go together as naturally as bread and butter. Situated midway between Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica is an island destination that is always buzzing with activity. Dominica is a prime tourism hub of the region and attracts excited travellers from several distant nations of the globe all year long. Eco tourism is the USP of Dominica, and a huge contributor to its magnetizing power in terms of tourism. In fact, Dominica qualifies as the sole UNESCO certified World Heritage Site. Dominica has more than enough to offer to all kinds of travellers. Whereas water lovers look forward to the shining and sparkling waters of the Dominican beaches, those looking for an adrenaline rush have the amazing prospects of scuba diving as well as rock climbing to attend to. The tropical setting of Dominica serves tourism amazingly well and ensures an appreciable influx of tourists for a major part of the year.

Although all the islands of the Caribbean region are stars in terms of their natural beauty, Dominic pips many of them and justifies its tag of the “Nature Island of the Caribbean.” It is easy to assume that Dominica too would be an assortment of beautiful beaches, but the fact is that the island is a lot more than just that. The steep volcanic peaks of Dominica are as intimidating and overwhelming as any in the Caribbean. The slopes of these peaks are carpeted with dense forests that provide a natural habitat for some of the world’s most amazing flora and fauna. ‘Wilderness’ acquires greater intensity for adventure seekers in Dominica as they try to make their way past the challenging terrains on their expeditions.

Cruises serving the Lesser Antilles region of the Caribbean take their guests to the fascinating locales of Dominica. Despite the fact that the island is not directly connected to North America or Europe, the variety of irresistible offerings on the tourism menu of Dominica are sufficient to ensure that visitors find a way to ensure a visit to this ultra special Caribbean delight. Visitors make their way through Caribbean gems like Antigua, Barbados, Puerto Rico and S. Lucia before they hit the spirited Dominica.

Dominica’s geography is simply stunning, with lush greenery all over and a fair share of canyons and cliffs. Nature lovers consider Dominica a custom designed destination for them. The active volcanoes in Dominica metaphorically complement the spirits of the locals and enthusiastic tourists alike. White sandy beaches of Dominica spread themselves open to visitors and invite them to immerse themselves into the beach vibes of Dominica. Event the tourism resorts of Dominica present a stunning opportunity for visitors to come closer to the nature and culture of Dominica. Like a rainbow, the island of Dominica comprises all shades that make tourism exciting for visitors. Visitors take back bags full of souvenirs for their families and friends, and hearts full of the wonderful moments that they enjoy on their vacation to Dominica.

Welcome to a world where fun never ends. Dominica has been living under the blessings of Mother Nature, and has emerged as a rollicking tourism destination in the past few years. The stunning beauty of the region is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much to indulge in that you would need a lot of effort to pack your bags for the journey back home. This article raises the curtains from some of the most special and luxurious resorts and hotels that you can pick as your homes away from home. Dominica invites you to a dreamland of pleasure. Are you listening

Unleash the explorer inside you in a world of awe inspiring beauty. Dominica is the playground that you have been searching for your entire life. The unbeaten paths winding around small and large peaks, the velvety caress of the waves on the beachside, the expanses of turquoise and sea greens of the sea, and of course, the unadulterated beauty of the relaxed and unpretentious atmosphere in Dominica intermingle into each other to come up as an intricate pattern of everything that makes a dream come true. With this article, we introduce you to a few of the special hotels and resorts in Dominica where you can have the time of your life with your family and friends.

Hotels in Dominica

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Fort Young Hotel, Roseau

Fort Young Hotel, Roseau

History isn’t a bad ingredient to add to the hospitality pot, and Fort Young Hotel is a living testimony to this. With a perfect blend of history and reputation with a dash of modern living, Fort Young Hotel is the perfect destination for the uncompromising traveller in Dominica. The infinity pool, spa and duty free shopping experiences are just the tip of the iceberg as you explore Fort Young Hotel for more pleasant surprises. The hotel can organize some really cool tours for you as well!

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Secret Bay, Portsmouth

Secret Bay, Portsmouth

Sometimes, the best thing to do in a calm and relaxing environment like Dominica is to do nothing. And there is hardly any better place than Secret Bay in Portsmouth where you can get busy with the heavenly balm of nothingness. You don’t get any closer to nature without compromising on your dose of modern facilities. Strange voices of strange creatures will invade your ears anytime, so be prepared for a fascinating stay at Secret Bay. Of course, there is the villa pool where you can lie down all afternoon.

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Pagua Bay House Oceanfront Cabanas, Marigot

Pagua Bay House Oceanfront Cabanas, Marigot

For a vacation with the Atlantic breeze running across your face and nothing in the world to disturb your peace, head off to the Pagua Bay House Oceanfront Cabanas. Located just metres away from the tranquil cove of Pagua Bay, these oceanfront cabanas are your gateways to some of the most overwhelmingly beautiful sights you can come across in Marigot.

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Jungle Bay Resort & Spa, Roseau

Jungle Bay Resort & Spa, Roseau

Just a mile away from the mesmerizing Victoria Falls and under an umbrella of a heavenly forest, the Jungle Bay Resort & Spa is a land of unmatched luxury in Dominica. Each cottage here has a private balcony for the inhabitants to enjoy the stunning views of the natural environment. Fitness freaks have several past times in the resort with the pool, yoga centre and the very unique organic restaurant.

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Calibishie Lodges, Calibishie

Calibishie Sandbar

Calibishie Lodges Hotel is an island hotel that does a fine job in replicating the Caribbean charms in its architecture. Spectacular sights of the islands are guaranteed with Calibishie Lodges. Fruit plantations are pretty near to the accommodation facility, and you can wander off to the stunning rural settings on your own. Personal service is the forte of Calibishie Lodges, and you can bet that the staff will leave no stone unturned in ensuring your comfort and satisfaction.

Manicou River Eco Resort, Portsmouth

Your stay in Manicou River Eco Resort will be an unforgettable set of days for your entire life. There is so much of pleasure to be had from the wonderful services you get at the resort that you might need some real incentives to actually leave the premises and go for some sightseeing. The organic gardens shall definitely please you, and so will the menu of services that you get with your stay at the Manicou River Eco Resort. Head off to this wonderful place for the time of your life in Dominica.

Silks Refined Boutique Hotel, Marigot

When was the last time you visited a hotel where each room was different from any other in the hotel? Probably never. Silks Refined Boutique Hotel is your opportunity to enjoy the different characteristics of this special Caribbean hotel in Dominica and add a fresh flavour to your tour. There is sense of relaxation all over the place. The staff is dedicated to providing you with the best of facilities. The food is pretty nice too.

Zen Gardens

Can you imagine living in a room with a full-fledged river flowing past just a few metres away? You don’t need to imagine, as Zen Gardens has the dream laid out in the form of reality for you. Nature lovers will not need any second invitations to stay here once they learn about the sprawling gardens around the place. You can get freshly made food delivered to you wherever you want it, and of course you can get off the bed and find some nice eatery nearby.

Beau Rive

With a blanket of thick greenery separating the rest of the world from Beau Rive, you can be certain that privacy is never trespassed upon here. Of course, there are several great facilties such as a bar, dining room, a lounge and a pool. The guestrooms are beautifully decorated and are pretty spacious. This place is perfect for comfortable and hassle free living in Dominica.



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Restaurants in Dominica

Food lovers can’t resist the invitation of dining along the beach side with the cool winds brushing against their faces as they sip in some really well made cocktails and chip away at mouth watering snacks. Dominica has several beachside restaurants and bars that are always filled with food lovers. Eating in Dominica is always a special experience. Restaurants use fresh farm produces to make some classy dishes. And of course, the ambiance is a real bonus. Here are five of the better known restaurants in Dominica.

Kokonutz Beach Bar, Calibishie

Located in an unnaturally beautiful surrounding, this Caribbean beach bar is one good bet in Dominica. Local and international cuisine adds colour and flavour to the menu, and you might have a tough time choosing between some equally tempting dishes. Do not forget a round of the iconic rum punch drink. You can spend in several hours at the bar, making merry with your friends and enjoying the wonderful transitions of nature in the distance.

Calabash Restaurant, Calibishie

If you like restaurants with extensive menus, this is the place for you. The best selection of seafood awaits to set your taste buds into overdrive in Calabash Restaurant. If you don’t mind an extra dose of sugar, go for the cute and classy pastries, baked fresh daily. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or desserts; this place is a thumbs up for all times of the day. And did we mention that the restaurant is popular for its beauty also! That said, you might want to order a glass of freshly brewed coffee to complement the onset of the darkness in the evening.

Riverside Cafe

Locals in Dominica would always tell you to find some time for the spectacular sights and sounds of the south east coast. Beauty of the sea will leave you spell bound, and might even leave you hungry for food that is as good as the sights of this place. This is where the Riverside Cafe kicks in and provides you with the opportunity of soaking in the mesmerizing beauty of the surroundings while enjoying some really inviting stuff to eat. You have the Citrus Creek Plantation to visit here as well.

Pagua Bay Bar and Grill, Marigot

If you prefer your food with a dose of some mind boggling beauty all around, you might want to plan out a dinner at Pagua Bay Bar and Grill. The unbelievable views of the Atlantic Ocean from the equally special outdoor deck of the restaurant are guaranteed to have you hooked on for several hours. Pagua Bay Bar and Grill is all about dining in the tropical splendour that only Dominica can provide you with. It goes without saying that the menu is a worthy match for the supernaturally brilliant views from the bar.

De Champ Restaurant, Portsmouth

This is among the more happening bars of Dominica, and this is mostly a credit to the staff and bartenders who ensure that there is a spirit of relaxed enjoyment in the bar. The food is really worth spending money for, and you can depend upon De Champ Restaurant for an enjoyable mean at any time of the day.

Major Cities – Dominica

Dominica is endowed with such a wonderful and beautiful environment that visitors to the Caribbean cannot even contemplate skipping on Dominica if they happen to be anywhere near the place. Some lively and inviting cities of Dominica are the perfect getaways for tourists with different needs and desires. Being close to the tropical rainforests and waterfalls of Dominica, and still being in a bustling neighbourhood with charms from the yester years is a special feeling, and you get this special dose of vacationing with these breathtaking towns of Dominica. This article unveils three particularly special towns of Dominica, each of which is a distinct helping of the Caribbean spices that contribute to a grand recipe of tourism.

Portsmouth

Shipwreck in Portsmouth, Dominica

At the origin of one of Dominica’s deepest river called The Indian River is the town of Portsmouth. Boat tours up the river can be taken. This town is home to some really popular spots in Dominica, one of which is the Prince Rupert Bay, a perfect destination for the water sports lovers owing to the tremendous diving and snorkelling opportunities here. The beach at Douglas Bay unleashes almost unnatural sights on its guests with the beach sides covered by yellow sands. The coconut palms guarding the Picard’s Beach are also very appealing to the eyes and serve as a fine picnic spot for families. Of course, the vibrant market places of Portsmouth are worth a visit as well.

Roseau

Roseau, Dominica

The capital city of Roseau hosts an impressive lot of tourism attractions. The neat and compact Roseau Museum is a notable presence in Roseau. Behind the old Post Office building that serves as the museum now is the Old Market, ill famed for having been the transaction ground of slaves in the past. However, the market is a witness to pleasant art and craft exchanges these days, and this makes it a perfect place for you to visit. There is a New Market as well, and you won’t want to miss out on the electric atmosphere that invades the market on Saturday mornings. You can also pay a visit to the ‘crushed bus’ in the Botanical Gardens and witness some amazing natural phenomenon in action.

Scotts Head

Scotts Head

The south western coast of Dominica is a rollicking place for adventure and nature lovers, and Scotts Head is a popular destination among tourists who head to these quarters. The village is really small and the population is manually countable, so you can be certain that your visit to Scotts Head will be an experience of pure rural Caribbean living in full privacy. The village overlooks the stunning Soufrière Bay. Protected as Soufrière Scotts Head Marine Reserve, it also serves as a wonderful snorkeling and diving site for adventure seekers. Check out for news about the annual village festival dedicated to Saint Peter for another seasoning of fun filled moments in Scotts Head.

Nightlife in Dominica

Nightlife is not always about blowing the roofs off the clubs and winning fortunes at crazy casinos. There is, however, still a good lot of activities and places that shall let you enjoy the nights of Dominica. Mostly, visitors try to book rooms at hotels and resorts that have some events and entertainment provisions for the night time. There are several such resorts, so there won’t be a problem if you plan to go this way. And even if you do not quite want to stay back in the resort at night, and still want your shot at enjoyment in the night, you have the options of heading off to one of the many bars and clubs in Dominica.

Spider’s

There is everything Caribbean about the atmosphere here. Visitors from distant lands come to Spider’s having heard the tales of the fascinating Spider Pie served here. Thought there is no confirmation as to the recipe of the thing, it still manages to find favours with adventurous foodies. This isn’t the biggest and the loudest nightspot you’d ever come across, but this definitely is one where you can hang out with your friends till pretty late into the night. You’ll have no inhibitions as the beers are pretty cheap, and the locals are always ready for conversations, so you won’t mind going here even if you are alone. Of course, you’ll have a good time trying out the mouth watering pies served here.

Stone Edge

Depend upon the Stone Edge to be your refuge for the night time in Dominica. There is a distinct rustic charm to the place, and it certainly adds to the impact of the ambience. People love to come to Stone Edge for a unique taste of wonderful settings and well made cocktails. There is a lot of action awaiting you at Stone Edge, and Friday nights are particularly special as the Happy Hours take over. Local calypso bands perform regularly at this place, and the atmosphere is simply electric when you have the combination of cocktails and calypso. The menu is filled with the names of several inviting and enticing dishes, most of which are definitely worth the attention of your taste buds.

The Radjah Club

There is a lot to this place other than the usual mix of dancing and music. For a night of enjoyment with friends and family, you can safely bet on The Rajdah Club for some memorable moments. The full moon parties organized by the club magnetize crowds like the strongest attraction force of the world, and you might want to keep an eye and ear out for news of such a full moon party at The Rajdah Club. Among the better known offerings of the menu are jerk chicken and baked breadfruit. And don’t forget to ask for the signature drink called Dynamite.

The Caribs – Dominica Unique Treasures

Named After The Caribs

The enchanting, picturesque, culturally rich Caribbean was named after a dominant native Amerindian people called the Caribs. But in almost every Caribbean island that you visit, most of the evidence of them has been wiped out by the ravages of European conquest, disease, death and time…Some islands honour them with pictures in their museums – except for one island – Dominica. Dominica has more than just Carib Museums.

This tropical island realized that their indigenous people are also an important part of their world cultural heritage. Dominica realized that they should aggressively treasure these indigenous peoples, who not only changed the history of the Caribbean, but also gave these islands their name.
They treasured them so much that today, you can actually meet 3,000 living Caribs in Dominica! You can talk to them and learn about their ancient culture, and how their ancestors fought off their colonial masters to survive until today …. Isn’t that awesome? Absolutely ….that is, if you are interested in anthropology (the study of the origins of cultural development). If so, then Dominica will fascinate you – endlessly!

Caribs’ Traditional Food & Dance Preserved

Historians believe that the Caribs migrated in large contingents from South America from about 3,000 B.C. Many made Dominica their home, and had established themselves well by the year 1,000 A.D. They named the island “Wai’–tu –ku-bu –li” which translated in the Kalinago language means “tall is her body”. Today, the Caribs are rightly called Kalinago.

Do not expect to find them wearing the grass skirts of their ancestors. They have blended into contemporary cultures and wear the same clothes as other citizens of Dominica. However they have retained their traditional culture in the areas of cuisine and dance. So when you meet them, you will be able to learn their dance steps and taste the food of 400 years ago!

Caribs’ Large Community

The Caribs occupy a massive 3,700-acre community in the north-western section of the island. The impressive size of this area suggests not just a deep respect for the Caribs, but also an enlightened vision about world heritage, on the part of the government and people of Dominica.

Most Mountainous Caribbean Island – Carib Security Feature?

The name Dominica was given to this beautiful island by Christopher Columbus when he first saw it on November 3, 1493. It was a Sunday, so he gave it the Latin name for Sunday, which is “Dominica”. Historical records reveal that after Columbus arrived, the island was isolated for about a century. In that long period, colonial powers fought several battles for other Caribbean islands and the Caribs found refuge in Dominica and settled there in ever- increasing numbers.

Excessive volcanic activity in centuries past, made Dominica into the most mountainous Caribbean island. This geographical feature probably provided great security for the Caribs. Why? Because if they could militarily control the heights of these mountains, and access to them, they would have strong advantage in conquering the European invaders at the lower levels of the country trying to climb up the mountains.

Meet Dominica’s Resident Cultural Expert – Dr. Lennox Honychurch

Most likely, their brilliant, native expert, Dr. Lennox Honychurch, the Oxford University-trained anthropologist, advised his government as to the wisdom of treating the Caribs with this kind of respect. I had the honour of meeting him in 1992 at the Caribbean Tourism Organization Eco-Tourism Organization Conference in St. John, US Virgin Islands.

Even though he does not live in Jamaica, he was able to eloquently and incisively answer my difficult questions on the development of Port Royal in Jamaica as a tourist attraction. When you visit Dominica, you could seek out Dr. Honychurch if you want well-researched information on human heritage issues. You would find that he is extremely approachable and very intellectually stimulating. He can be contacted on his website at: www.lennoxhonychurch.com.

Dominica’s Boiling Lake

World’s Second Largest Boiling Lake

World’s Second Largest Boiling Lake

Dominica’s unspoiled natural beauty is legendary. Amazingly, it is often described as the youngest island in the Lesser Antilles. Why? Because, it is still being shaped and formed by geothermal, volcanic activity resulting from the island’s Boiling Lake – the second largest in the world! (The world’s largest boiling lake, Frying Pan Lake, is far away – on the other side of the globe – located in New Zealand.)

Boiling Lake, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site on April 4, 1995, is located in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park. Only four other Caribbean islands have this UN distinction. It can be accessed only by hiking 13 km from the nearest road. It is found 6.5 miles east of Roseau, in a flooded “fumarole”, 200 feet wide, with greyish-bluish water, normally covered in steam. A “fumarole” is a crater in the earth’s crust, usually near volcanoes, which gives off steam and gases, like carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric acid and hydrogen sulfide. When water is heated at extremely high temperatures, the resulting steam has its pressure dropped, as it emerges from the ground.

History of Boiling Lake

Records reveal that the Lake was first discovered in 1870 by two English men, a Dr. Nicholls and a Mr. Watt, who were working in Dominica at the time. Dr. Nicholls and a government botanist, Mr. Prestoe, were requested by the government to investigate this amazing feat of nature. They found that the temperatures ranged from 180 to 197 degrees Fahrenheit – along the edges. It was too dangerously hot in the centre to even attempt to measure the centre! They measured the depth to be 195 feet! Mysteriously, the lake almost disappeared in 2006, but by 2009, it returned to its high boiling temperatures!

Travel & Tourism in Dominica

Limited Cruise Ship Visitors

Limited Cruise Ship Visitors

There are two small airports. Melville Hall, is on the northeastern coast. The other, Canefield Airport, is just 15 minutes from the capital, on the south-western coast. New ship ports and waterfront facilities that have been established in Roseau, have led to the increase of cruise ship stopovers.

When surveys of other islands have been done, it has been noted that Dominica had the fewest cruise visitors in 2008, 55,800 passengers, or 0.3% of the total number of visitors to the country. That worked out to half the number of cruise visitors to Haiti. Some store owners may lament this relatively small number. But there may be others who may welcome this small influx of visitors.

Tourism – The Nature Isle of the Caribbean

There has not been a rapid development of traditional Tourism in the country, like most of its Caribbean neighbours, because Dominica has few beaches, and a strong volcanic heritage. If you are a visitor to Dominica, and you are not particularly excited about their unique and fascinating Carib heritage, are there other areas of interest? Absolutely! The island is abundantly blessed with mountains, rainforests, lakes, hot springs, waterfalls and dive sites – making it a prime eco-tourism destination. This combination has classified Dominica as “The Nature Isle of the Caribbean.”

View Rare Flora & Fauna via Aerial Tram

Dominica’s has 365 rivers and their forests are blessed with wildlife, which were previously thought to be extinct. There are many protected areas where tourists can visit these treasures. One popular area for this is Cabrits National Park. The Sisserou Parrot is Dominica’s national bird. Tourists will enjoy an amazing rainforest experience when they also visit the borders of the Morne Trois National Park by Aerial Tram. They will see beautiful, panoramic views of the rainforest, samples of the country’s 175 species of birdlife, derelict volcanoes and the Caribbean Sea.

Ideal for Whale Watching

White sandy beaches, that traditional tourists crave, can in fact be found in north-eastern section of the island known as Calibishie. But traditional tourists do not normally crave sperm whales, but nevertheless, they can be found in Dominica – all year round. Those who love to watch sea life will be happy to know that they can also see killer whales, pygmy sperm whales, dwarf sperm whales, humpback whales, Bryde’s whales, spinner dolphins, pan tropical spotted and bottlenose dolphins, Risso’s dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins.

Dominica’s Smart Environmental Policy

Many have declared that “Dominica has the most pristine wilderness in the Caribbean. However, the citizens have wisely decided that they do not want they type of high-impact tourism that have threatened this pristine natural beauty in other Caribbean islands. They want to preserve their natural treasures for generations to come. Visitors who come should therefore respect that sentiment – and ensure that they help the citizens achieve their goal.

Host of Hotel Accommodations

There are a large variety of hotels, guesthouses, cottages and apartments in Dominica. They all have their own appeal, identity and market sector. Some will cater to those who are passionate about hiking and diving, while others will attract those interested in eco-tourism, health and wellness. Some will have facilities for meeting and conventions, banquets and weddings, while others offer spas, gourmet restaurants and shopping. Some apartments offer group or individual bedrooms with kitchens or kitchenettes. These kitchenettes could be ideal for those who wish to gingerly taste Dominica’s unique prize delicacy, mountain chicken, and decide what you want to do with it … privately ….!)

Nowhere Else Like Dominica

Two words have been often used to describe Dominica’s accommodation facilities – unique and boutique. But when the country’s stellar achievements are reviewed, in having: the Caribbean’s first female Prime Minister, the first Black legislature, the blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean movie shot there, the second largest boiling lake in the world, the most mountains and the most pristine wilderness in the Caribbean, even the largest surviving population of the Caribs … it is hard not to come to the obvious conclusion…

It is not just the accommodation sector that is unique and boutique, it is all of Dominica that is unique and boutique…

Tourists always want something different in their vacation experiences. Now they have found it. Find yourself ….in the Unique, Boutique, Dominique…A!