Much of volcanic Dominica is blanketed by untamed rainforest that’s a verdant backdrop to experiences such as an intense trek to a bubbling lake, soothing your muscles in hot sulfur springs, getting pummeled by a waterfall, snorkeling in a glass of ‘champagne’, swimming up a narrow gorge – the list goes on.Dominica has been spared mass tourism, in large part because there are very few sandy beaches, no flashy resorts and no direct international flights. Whether you’re into trekking high into the mountaintops or exploring the watery world below, Dominica is the place to go for those who prefer hiking boots over high heels and are content with a nightlife where the only music is the murmur of the jungle. Dominica has surprisingly long drives for such a small island, so it’s better to pick a spot or two and explore instead of bouncing around. If you can do it in the mountains (hiking, bird-watching, searching for hidden pools and waterfalls) or the water (diving, snorkeling, kayaking), you can do it in Dominica. Don’t miss the ancient forests of the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, home to the otherworldly Boiling Lake and the spectacular Trafalgar Falls. There are a few sandy beaches, but most require a little gumption to find and there are usually only a few lodging choices nearby, at most.
There are no direct international flights and the island-hopping it takes to get here has kept the package tours at bay. The locals are so friendly that it’s almost fun to get lost just to have an excuse to approach people on their front porches. Whereas some of the bigger Caribbean cities are decidedly scary, in the capital city of Roseau the locals often stop visitors just to wish them a good visit.
Rasta culture is strong, and those offended by the sight of Rastafarians taking their sacrament might have to cover their eyes a time or two. Dominica is also the home to about 2200 Caribs, the only pre-Columbian population remaining in the eastern Caribbean.
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