Dominica Travel Guide
Not to be confused with the Dominican Republic, the tiny island of Dominica stands as an aberration among the islands that are more frequently visited by foreign tourists in the Lesser Antilles.
Lacking the bleach white beaches that are the stereotype that one dreams about on a frigid winter day in northern latitudes, Dominica often gets lost in the shuffle when it comes to holiday planning in this region.
For those that want to get away to the Caribbean without having to deal with throngs of tourists, this place is a godsend. Moreover, those that seek to experience the nature of the the Caribbean will have their best opportunity to do so in this special place.
Currency: East Caribbean Dollars
Languages: English, French Patois
What To Do
Dominica may be short on historical and cultural attractions, but those that wish to seek out the backstory of this island should spend an hour shuffling around the Dominica Museum.
Containing exhibits that pay tribute to the original indigenous inhabitants of this island, as well as displays that chronicle the evolution of Dominica from a being a colonial possession of the British and the French to becoming its own sovereign nation.
Most of the attractions in Dominica are related to the many natural assets that it possesses. Cabrits National Park contains many attractions that fit this profile, but there is also an historical attraction contained within its borders as well.
Fort Shirley was a British garrison that served as one of the primary nodes of defense for the island of Dominica. Abandoned in 1854, it has since been partially restored by volunteers, making for an interesting spot of exploration for those interested in military history.
Dominica’s true strength lies in its natural beauty, which is a quality that has been recognized by tourism industry professionals and film industry location scouts alike. As a result of the latter’s work, Middleham Falls and Ti’tou Gorge will be instantly recognizable to fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean.
Middleham Falls is the tallest waterfall in the Eastern Caribbean Islands, and Ti’tou Gorge is an alcove situated behind the falls that was created by magma rocks that split in the eons after they were formed.
While this special place is often crowded due to its exceptional beauty, this latter fact still makes a visit here worth it despite any annoyances that you might encounter.
Travelers that possess an adequate level of fitness to go on an strenous day hike three hours in and out should make a trek to Boiling Lake a central part of their travel itineraries.
A lake fed mostly by torrential rainfall, water that enters this basin gets heated up to the boiling point by magma that flows just beneath the surface of the Earth.
While bathing in this lake is not possible due to the fact that the water is close to the boiling point, there are ponds and waterfalls nearby that are heated to a temperature that makes for a relaxing bathing after a long hike down steep valley walls to this special place.
While the beaches in Dominica leave something to be desired compared to its neighbours, it is this fact that keeps it off the beaten track in such a heavily traveled region. That being said, those that are not wed to the idea of a perfectly white beach will find plenty of places around Dominica to take a dip in bathtub-warm Caribbean waters.
Champagne Beach is not a beach in the traditional sense, as the shoreline is populated by sizable rocks that make leisurely sunbathing quite the challenge. However, in the waters off the coast, volcanic gases rise from the seabed, creating continuous bubbles that give snorkelers the feeling as if they are swimming in a glass of champagne.
For those seeking a traditional beach experience, Batibou Beach is the Holy Grail on Dominica. A tan sand Beach located at the end of a dirt road, there is no development except for a small bar operated by the family that owns the property upon which the beach exists.
With a lack of easy access, it may just be one of the best beach experiences that you will have the privilege of experiencing in the Caribbean.
What to Eat
Those that want to experience breakfast the way that most Dominicans do will want to have some Salted Codfish. Often wrapped in dough and fried in oil, it serves as hearty fare for the average Dominican before they head into work for the day.
The national dish of Dominica is known as Mountain Chicken, but it is not the meal that you think it is. Prepared from a frog that is endemic to this island, those that request this dish will be served up frog legs.
If you still want to have it though,be sure to show up on the island between the months of September and February, as this species is protected from being hunted during the rest of the year.
For those that aren’t nearly as adventurous, requesting some Stew Beef will garner you respect from the locals. Cooked slowly over many hours, the tenderness of the meat that lands on your plate will have you craving this dish from the second you leave Dominica to the day that you return.