The Champagne Reef may sound like just a fancy name of a place to go snorkeling. But there’s actually a good reason this amazing snorkeling and diving area in Dominica got its name. Nearby thermal volcanic springs of Soufriere Bay force streams of bubbles through the ocean floor and give the surrounding water a champagne bubble like feel! The reef is full of tropical fish, Hawksbill turtles, and shipwreck remains you can explore while champagnesque bubbles float around you and collect on your skin.
First off, a reminder to newer travelers to the Caribbean – remember, Dominica and the Dominican Republic are two different (both fabulous) islands in the Caribbean! Dominica sort of sounds like a pretty nickname for the Dominican Republic, but the DR shares a large island north west of Puerto Rico with the nation of Haiti, while Dominica is just north of Martinique.
Guided or Unguided Tour of Champagne Reef?
Once you know you want to try this unique underwater experience, you just need to decide if you want to go guided or unguided. Booking a guide is nice because they will explain everything to you and take you right where you need to go. They also usually provide snorkeling gear and fins, which is great because they’re a little large to fit in your suitcase.
Champagne Reef Dive and Snorkel is a popular option for tours. Located right on the beach, you can rent your dive gear from them. Scuba certified divers can join a dive tour given by a PADI-certified dive master, but if you aren’t Scuba certified, there’s still plenty to see while snorkeling. Bring a disposable underwater camera, or invest in an underwater cover for your phone – many visitors say they regret forgetting theirs!
For experienced divers, this is a different adventure from any other place. And for those who haven’t snorkeled or dived before, it’s nice because the reef comes almost all the way up to the shore. So you can literally “dip your toes” into the excursion!
There can be a strong current, so make sure you are a confident swimmer. Water shoes are highly recommended to avoid rocks and coral. The water surrounding the reef is pretty warm thanks to the volcanic gases, so you can stay comfortable for hours in the water!
Where to Eat After Your Swim
All that swimming works up an appetite, but don’t worry, we know the best dining spots nearby. You may come across a restaurant in Dominica that simply offers a chicken, fish, or meat option for your entrees. Don’t let the lack of selection scare you—pick your favorite, and prepare for a local taste experience you won’t forget.
Kozy’s Niche is called the best restaurant in the area of Rosseau. At first glance, it may seem like an Italian restaurant, but they also serve a blend of incredible Caribbean, Guyanese and Spanish fare. Or, try Cocoyeah in Soufriere for their freshly caught seafood. With a constantly changing menu with the catch (huge lobsters) or cook (grilled goat is sometimes an option!) of the day, you won’t be sorry! Finally, River Rock Cafe in Ruseau has authentic Caribbean fare and a tropical vibe worth checking out.
Take Your Swimming Experience to the Next Level
Can’t get enough of these volcanic waters? One of the area’s best-kept secrets and local favorite is nearby Screw’s Sulphur Spa. The founder, Screw, built these pools into the landscape of Dominica, creating a feeling of being in a hidden paradise. The pools are naturally heated, starting with the hottest at the top, so you descend through different temperatures and end in a freshwater pool. Plus, sulfur water can actually help eczema, psoriasis, warts and dandruff. So luxuriate in your champagne bath and enjoy!