Home to the world’s second largest boiling lake and acres of lush vegetation, the beautiful island of Dominica is a nature lover’s paradise and a popular Caribbean vacation destination. It’s the perfect destination for hiking, water excursions, eco tours and snorkeling, and you’ll find plenty of places to settle in and enjoy a relaxing day at the beach. The island of Dominica sits about halfway along the Eastern Caribbean archipelago, and is easily accessible from Guadeloupe and Martinique. It is officially known as the Commonwealth of Dominica, and has a very small population of just about 70,000 residents over the 289.5 square miles of territory.
The capital city of Roseau is where you’ll find most of the commercial life, which itself is fairly minima. Almost two thirds of the island are covered by tropical forests and Dominica is home to over 1,200 plant species. Morne Trois Pitons National Park is one of the most significant attractions on the island and is the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the eastern Caribbean. The cultural mix here includes English, French, African and Caribbean, and you’ll find many restaurants and destinations around the island exhibit this “melting pot” of cultures. Unlike other islands in the Caribbean, Dominica is not well known for its beaches because most of the beaches on the island are fairly rocky and don’t have much shade. The black sands of Hampstead Beach are still a fairly popular destination for tourists, however, and you can find white sandy beaches in the northeastern side of the island.
The indigenous people of Caribe still live on the island of Dominica, inhabiting about 3,700 acres of territory. Most residents live on the eastern coast of the island, and the area has been named “Carib Territory”. If you do visit this part of the island, you’ll have a chance to see some of the ancestral roots, visit canoe building areas, and see some outhouses with original tribal designs.
Whether you plan on spending your days exploring the local architecture and cultural sites, want to relax by the river and ocean, or want to hike through the national park and lush forests, you’ll find a wealth of activities to enjoy and places to explore throughout the island of Dominica.
Dominica Weather and Best Time to Visit
Dominica’s location between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean puts it within the same climate category as most of the other islands in the Caribbean. Average temperatures range between 70 and 85 degrees, and the warmest months are between February and May. February through May is the best time to visit if you want to spend some time on the beach, explore the local sites and rainforests, and spend most of your vacation outdoors. Hurricane season runs from June through November each year.
The island of Dominica is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, the place to enjoy hours of whale watching, sea kayaking, snorkeling, diving or just hiking around the mountains and trails. The lush forests and valleys make up most of the island and you’ll find thousands of scenic settings teeming with native birds, plants, wildlife and small animals. The most famous of Dominica’s trails is Boiling Lake, a cauldron that is only accessible via a four-hour hike. The water is usually enveloped in a large cloud of water, but hiking around this area can be an unforgettable adventure.
One of the most unique attributes of the island of Dominica is the architecture and historic dwellings throughout the area. You’ll find a number of monumental buildings that date back to the colonial era, including old plantation estates, sugar mills and historic homes. The Society for Architectural Preservation and Enhancement has designed a self-guided walking tour that can give you a taste of several fine architectural examples. From residential huts to ornamental churches, you’ll find dozens of historic sites and venues to explore around the residential areas of the island.
Most of the waters around Dominica are protected so you can enjoy a variety of different dive sites on any given day. Head to the southern side of the island to explore Scotts Head Soufriere Marine Reserve. The northern area of the island is home to the Cabrits Marine Reserve.
Don’t miss the chance to see the nesting rituals of the loggerheads, hawksbills, leatherbacks and green sea turtles each year. Rosalie Beach attracts these turtles between March and August each year and it’s one of the most amazing things to watch. The Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organisation and the Rosalie Sea Turtle Initiative work together to train turtle watching guides and to educate the community.
Head off on an ATV or horseback riding tour of the island to enjoy an eco-adventure of your own. These tours are perfect for exploring some sites beyond the standard hiking trails and will take you through the lush forests, jungles and around the mountain trails where you’ll see an endless array of ornamental plants, flowers, tropical flowers and exotic fruit trees. A guided horseback ride through the rainforest will give you a chance to see some breathtaking natural sites from a fresh perspective.
Many visitors head to the Caribbean island of Dominca for a health and wellness retreat. If you’re in need of a holistic break or want to enjoy some new spa treatments, plan to head to one of the hotels with spas or enjoy an Ayurvedic retreat. The clean mountain air can help to relieve stress and restore your spirit. You can relax in one of the natural sulphur hot pools, enjoy a variety of nutritious tropical juices, and connect with nature by taking a tour of some of the natural sites.
Whether you’re heading to the island of Dominica for a relaxing getaway, eco-adventure, or just to spend a few days learning about the local culture and traditions, you’ll find that this side of the Caribbean has a wealth of experiences to offer.
The black and golden shores of Dominica are the island's main draw and are unlike anything else you would find around Guadelopue and the Caribbean. From the buzzing city of Portsmouth to the more secluded areas around the bays, Dominica is a place to enjoy some cultural activities, relax on the beach and enjoy some snorkeling and water activities at area parks. Whether you're interested in an underwater excursion or want to enjoy a nature hike through some undiscovered territory, Dominica caters to all types of travelers.