Dominica in the Caribbean isn’t so much about beaches, resorts and entertainment as it is a throwback to when the islands of the Caribbean were still remote, naturally pristine land masses untainted by man and commercial development. It continues to gain acclaim among nature enthusiasts who appreciate its lushly green landscapes and Dominica also continues to grow in its scuba diving appeal. Consider it the larger sibling to the equally natural, albeit much, much smaller island of Saba in the Caribbean. You may also recognize Dominica from its dual appearances in the second and third installments of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy.
Dominica went from being called Waitikubuli (‘Tall is her body’) by the Carib tribes to being given its current name by Italian explorer Christopher Columbus who decided to name it after the day he discovered Dominica, that day happening to fall on a Sunday. The French took possession of the island in the mid 1600s and tangled with the British until the late 1700s when they finally handed Dominica over to the British for good. It should be noted that the Caribs did not relinquish control lightly, successfully driving out a group of French missionaries.
The striking natural landscapes of Dominica rival those seen on the Caribbean island of Saba and are incredibly lush due to the frequent Dominica rain showers. Morn Diabltoine is a sprawling mountainous landscape with a tropical rainforest, some of which has yet to be seen by explorers. Dig a little deeper throughout the island of Dominica and you’ll also come across secluded hot springs, the second largest boiling lake in the world, rivers and the stunning waterfalls of Emerald Pool. This large abundance of nature makes Dominica highly opportune for hiking activities, mountain climbing and scuba diving.
Dominica culture heavily emphasizes music and dance. Similar to other Caribbean islands, it has its own annually held events like Creole in the Park and the World Creole Music Festival. The roots of contemporary Creole music actually originate in Dominica, as a matter of fact.
Since the Caribs were able to fend off their territory, there is still a relatively small group of them living in the northeastern portion of Dominica and even hundreds of years later, they still practice some of the traditions of their ancestors, namely basket weaving. Generally speaking, the people of Dominica tend to be rather conservative and thus adhere to proper attire; swimwear is not permitted in Dominica villages or in the Dominica capital of Roseau.
Dominica's unique landscape and hardy diving culture has increased its appeal among Caribbean vacationers. This Caribbean island is not as popular for its beaches as it is for its hilly landscape and fast flowing rivers. Dominica is less developed than a majority of the Caribbean Islands making a lot more room for natural vistas and true Caribbean culture. Its property is less expensive than most and offers a different sort of appeal being that the highest in demand property is not located by the beachfront.
Dominica homes are usually built on high-level terrain providing views of the ocean and Dominica's vast landscape. Homes are usually multiple stories and have wraparound terraces to optimize the view of Dominica's rolling hills and running rivers. Inexpensive real estate draws people from all around the world to purchase large Dominica homes and experience the peace and tranquility of Caribbean living.
Hotel and resort life in Dominica is different from most Caribbean nations because there aren't large varieties of international resort franchises. Hotels like Anchorage Hotel, Fort Young Hotel, and the most popular Silks Place Hotel offer resort style living that is much more affordable than most places in the Caribbean. Silks Place Hotel and Resort has landscaped gardens, its own restaurant, internet, car rentals and laundry services.
Dominica might not be the first island nation that comes to mind when thinking about the Caribbean, but its natural scenery, affordability and lack of commercial development makes Dominica unique and prime for the opportunistic Caribbean traveler.
Fort Young Hotel
The official currency of Dominica is the East Caribbean Dollar (EC$)
Calling Code: 1 (767)
Top Level Domain: (.dm)
The Dominica government is a parliamentary republic headed by a President and Prime Minister.
Valid Travel Documents: Required upon exit and entry.
Government Issued Photo ID: Required
Climate: Dominica has slight fluctuations in temperature but mostly remains around 30-33°C (87-91°F).
Tips when you get there:
Dominica has two airports and a dock that welcomes cruise ships. Whether you arrive by cruise ship, plane or personal watercraft, the best way to get around the island of Dominica is by renting a car. If you want to travel anywhere along the coastline, buses run regularly and are inexpensive. The island is large and venues are spread out so going on a tour of the entire island the first day is impractical.
What to do:
Dominica is known for its vast natural vistas of rolling hills and flowing rivers. The majority of entertainment on the island involves exploring its untouched rainforests and exotic wildlife. Tours of the Dominica rainforest are particularly popular as the aerial tram allows visitors to get a bird's eye view of Dominica's tropical nature and wildlife. There are also nature trails for the more adventurous who want to explore the largely uninhabited Dominica rainforest.
Dominica's marine activities are by far the most popular. Divers from everywhere come to see Dominica's famous reefs and marine wildlife. If guests prefer to stay out of the deep ocean water boat trips take visitors on whale and dolphin watching trips. Visitors can spot sperm whales, killer whales, pilot whales and dolphins on these exciting boat tours.
Waterfalls are also a major draw for visitors of Dominica. Two large waterfalls, The Emerald Pool and Trafalger Falls, bring out thousands annually to these serene tropical settings and offer incredible photo opportunities. Nature goers also enjoy seeing Dominica's Boiling Lake, the second largest boiling lake in the world which is produced by a crack in the earth called a "furmarole" that allows hot gas produced by molten lava below to rise into the lake bed, causing it to steam.