Start Planning Your Dominica Vacation
Let’s face it: Dominica is not for the faint of heart. If you’re looking for a margarita-drinking/lay out on the beach tanning/spend the nights clubbing kind of vacation, then you might prefer to browse a comfy, all-inclusive resort in Cabo instead. But, if you want an Indiana Jones-type adventure where you can trek through tropical rain forest, hike up a volcanic peak to a boiling lake, bathe in sulfur-infused springs, or go freediving (yup, that’s diving without any gear), then Dominica is calling your name. While you’re there, you’ve got to go snorkeling by the Champagne Reef where the water is warm and the sea floor bubbles, thanks to the nearby volcanic gasses. Also, make sure to go whale watching – Dominica is the only country in the world where sperm whales hang out all year long. Those whales are sure onto something: Once you visit Dominica, you won’t want to leave either.
Mapping Out Dominica
Unless you're a geography whiz, you probably don’t know where the heck Dominica is. So, think of Florida first, then imagine going way out east into the ocean and then down south to that bunch of white-sand and turquoise-water amazingness you know as the Caribbean. Dominica is right smack there, right above Martinique.
Once you land in Dominica, you’ll be near the south, close to the island’s capital city of Roseau. But if you came to Dominica, you’re probably trying to forget the city, so head east instead to Morne Trois Pitons National Park or north to the Northern Forest Reserve.
Best of all, check out the northeast part of the island where you’ll find villages that are home to 3,000 descendants of the original inhabitants of Dominica, the Caribs.
Let's Make a Toast to the Champagne Reef
Champagne Reef isn't your ordinary reef. It’s more like a hot tub. In the middle of the ocean. Can we say wow yet?
You see, because of the surrounding volcanoes, the water temperature around the reef can reach up to 90 degrees, making the sea floor warm to the touch, just like a spa hot tub.
In addition to that, volcanic gases constantly bubble up through small cracks on the sea bed, making the water look just like a bubbling glass of champagne, or a Jacuzzi, whatever floats your boat.
What's really cool about this site is that it's shallow enough for both snorkeling or scuba diving, so you don't need to be a pro and buy all this fancy equipment to enjoy it. Just strap on that snorkel mask and go!
Watch Out: It's Whale-Watching Time!
Dominica is known as the “Whale Watching Capital of the Caribbean.” That's quite an honor because whales don’t just hang out anywhere; the water has to be just right, and that’s exactly how it is in Dominica. Not only is the water warm, but there are also underwater drop-offs right by the coast that make deep, sheltered areas where the whales can breed.
That’s not only great for the whales but also great for you! Why? Because Dominica is the only country in the entire world where sperm whales frolic all year long, you’re practically guaranteed a sighting if you decide to head out on a whale-watching tour (which you should).
You’ll be able to enjoy the salty sea air blowing through your hair, the warm sun on your back and the sight of these lovely creatures swimming peacefully.
Nature’s Spa: Sulfur Springs
Dominica’s sulfur springs are like real-life fountains of youth. A soak in these legendary hot sulfur springs is rumored to improve skin quality, relax your muscles and take away five years of stress.
We can’t guarantee your skin will magically improve, but we can guarantee that you do not want to miss out on a soak in a hot sulfur spring.
Traversing the hilly, winding trail will get your heart pumping as you spend the morning trekking through the rainforest. Once you arrive, your muscles will scream for joy as you lower yourself into the golden-tinged, soothing waters. Ready to go? Check out Soufriere Sulfur Springs at the foot of the Soufriere Moutnain or the hot sulfur pools in the Wotten Waven area.
Keep the Past Alive at Kalinago
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to live on a secluded island village, you can get a feel for it at the Kalinago Territory (also known as the Carib Territory). The Kalinago Territory is inhabited by Dominica’s native people, the Carib Indians, who used to rule the island but can now be found on this tourist-friendly, 3,700 acre territory on the east coast.
A visit here will let you experience a day in the life of the Kalinago people with canoe-building, craft-making, and culinary delights like Cassava Bread.
Besides getting a chance to meet these warm and friendly people, you’ll get to see some neat attractions in the Kalinago Territory such as its many craft shops, waterfalls and a natural staircase that rises out of the Atlantic.
A Hot Spot for a Hike
There are plenty of hiking sites on Dominica, but the Boiling Lake hike is an absolute must if you call yourself a serious hiker. It’s a six-hour hike round-trip, but we promise you it's well worth the effort.
You’ll trek past the Trois Pitons River, then head up to a high point of almost 3,000 ft. There you’ll see panoramic views of Mont Trois Pitons Park and pass by valleys covered in moss and tropical flowers.
The climax of your hike will come when you reach the world’s largest boiling lake. It’s not really a lake, but more of a crack in the earth’s surface where volcanic gases rise and heat water collected from rainfall. The bubbling, grayish blue cauldron of water hidden beneath a cloud of vapor is a sight you’ll keep for a lifetime.
Dominica Quick Facts
The official language is English.
The official currency is the Easter Caribbean Dollar, but US dollars are widely accepted.
All U.S. citizens must have a valid passport when traveling to and from Dominica.
The water is safe to drink in Dominica.
Eastern Standard Time (UTC/GMT -4 hours)
The peak travel season extends from mid-December through mid-April.