"Dominica - A Caribbean Jewel of Untamed Beauty" Dominica by dlytle
Dominica Travel Guide: 275 reviews and 733 photos
This was my first visit to Dominica (pronounced ‘Dom-in'-ee-ka’) located near the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique in the eastern Caribbean. From out at sea, as we were arriving in port, it became apparent to me that this is an island of volcanic origins. Steaming in from the Caribbean on our cruise ship, it was easy to see its mountainous character and how those mountains would attract the rainfall that makes Dominica so lush. I read a little about Dominica before arriving at the island and found that it is famous for its oceanic rainforest, and the many rivers and waterfalls that result from the high rainfall in the interior. Both its volcanic origins as well as the sub-tropical nature of Dominica provide a wealth of interesting sights to visit even if one has only a limited time to do so. I only had one day to spend in Dominica so I tried to make the most of it. In my case I took a half-day tour that allowed me to visit two of its most famous waterfalls, an old plantation house, a scenic overlook of Roseau, and a lot of the countryside in between. It also gave me time to shop in Roseau and take in some of the more colorful people and sights within that city.
Unfortunately, there were many things I simply could not do with the limited time I had in port. For example, Dominica’s volcanic origins manifest themselves in some mountainous hot springs, the most famous of which is called the Boiling Lake, one of the largest hot springs of its kind in the world. But THE activity that I just must do on my next visit to Dominica is to dive Champagne Reef. Champagne Reef, probably Dominica's most famous diving site, is a sub-aquatic hot spring in about fifteen feet of water which discharges bubbles into the cooler seawater, giving the effect of diving in champagne. Having seen some pictures of this I am anxious to return here to see it for myself.
Actually I was not able to dive in Dominica this first trip. Some folks we met on the cruise ship that did dive in Dominica told me later that it was about ten times better than the dive we had done in St. Thomas. According to them the water was very clear, there was a much better reef and a great wall along with some interesting bottom features…and…it hosted lots more marine life than we’d seen in St. Thomas.
One of the things that I immediately noticed after I got off the Sun Princess cruise ship in Roseau is that the people talked in an accent similar to French-creole. It was my impression that a lot of the folks in Roseau speak English but as one wanders farther a field in Dominica, less English is spoken. At times I had to slow down and enunciate my words so the person I was talking with could understand me. Sometimes, as well, I found it a little difficult to understand what was being said to me.
Our tour guide told us that Dominica was discovered by Columbus in 1493 but that the island had been inhabited for about 3,000 years before that by Carib Indians. The French and English both wanted the island but France finally took possession in the 1720s. Then it changed hands a few times as England and France fought their various wars. England finally prevailed in about 1805 and it was they who developed the island’s sugar plantations.
Tourism is a mainstay of their economy now but over the centuries there have been booms and busts in sugar, coffee, limes, coconuts, citrus and bananas. Nature has also been hard on Dominica. Hurricane David did much damage in 1979. Then the next year Hurricane Allen hit them hard. In 1995 two Huricanes, Luis and Marilyn, hit in successive weeks causing many problems.
What did I like most about Dominica? Unlike so many of its island contemporaries, its appeal has nothing to do with yellow sand beaches and sun worshiping. Rather, Dominica’s abundant natural resources invites getting out and seeing the countryside: hiking to deep emerald pools; taking a shower in a beautiful waterfall; enjoying the cries of wild birds in one of the world’s best oceanic rainforest and diving in a superb underwater environment.
- Pros:Wild and beautiful, nice people, great waterfalls, serene existance, rainbows over Roseau at sunset
- Cons:Not enough time to really visit and see it all
- In a nutshell:.....I'll be back.......
The first major stop on our tour was to the Trafalgar Falls. To get there we had to drive into the highlands where we... more travel advice
Our first major stop on the ‘Best of Dominica’ tour was on top of a hill, a few miles southeast of Roseau, called Morne... more travel advice
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