Dominica - Rugged Island Beauty

Dominica is an outdoor adventurers’ paradise. This tiny island offers a once in a lifetime experience, found nowhere else in the Caribbean, but it’s not for the faint of heart!

Protruding from the Caribbean sea, Dominica is a mountainous, volcanic island nestled between the French Antilles of Guadeloupe and Martinique. This untouched, rugged landscape is known as “the nature isle of the Caribbean” and aptly was the set for Pirates of the Caribbean 2 & 3! (you can even do a tour of the various set locations around the island)

Nuts & Bolts:

  • English is the official language

  • Currency is Eastern Caribbean Dollar

  • Driving is on the left and a local permit is required to rent a car (car is necessary)

  • Two airports and two ferry terminals, one each in the north and south, serve for easy travel in and out of the island from any neighboring island. If you’re not coming from a nearby island, you’ll likely have to fly through San Juan or Barbados.

Island Highlights:

  • Waterfalls!

  • Rugged Vistas- mountains, landscapes, beaches, islands

  • Champagne Bubbles! Underwater volcanic activity

  • Incredible snorkeling and scuba diving

  • Untouched by tourism (by comparison, Dominica gets half as many visitors as Haiti)

  • Adventure!

If you’re thinking about going, please contact us (fun@legittrips.com) for a free 15 minute phone consultation on building a great itinerary for your trip. We don’t currently offer any trips here but think it’s super special and would love to help anyone who wants to explore Dominica!

Here are my top 3 picks:

  1. Wavine Cyrique- 80’ waterfall pouring into the ocean at a black sand beach

    Everything about this place screams adventure. Any directions you get to this waterfall will sound something like “after the crooked tree turn left and look for the man with a stick sitting on a rock”. Once you find “the man” he’ll try to talk you out of making the climb because it’s very difficult, and he’s not exaggerating. But if you’re in good physical condition and have a pretty high risk tolerance, DO THIS!! You’ll descend a steep cliff with the assistance of some tree roots and an old rope, it’s pretty much a straight vertical. Once to the black sand beach you can shower under the beautiful freshwater waterfall while standing in the ocean, and enjoy the secluded beach. The climb out is just as tough, and requires some upper body strength, so take a good long break at the beach :) Despite fearing for my life, this was the highlight of my whole trip!

  2. Scott’s Head & Champagne Reef - Spectacular snorkeling & underwater bubbles!

    These two locations are close enough together to make a single trip out of the two of them. Snorkeling in the Bay at Scott’s Head was absolutely breathtaking scenery above water (lush, green mountains ALL around), and under water it was high density and high diversity small fish snorkeling. I’ve snorkeled a lot of places and this one is still near the top of my lifetime list! Champagne Reef is an area of underwater volcanic activity, the water is warm and there are constant bubbles coming up from the ocean floor, giving you the feeling of swimming in Champagne bubbles! Such a cool experience, and some good snorkeling too! They say there are often sea turtles at this location, but I didn’t see any.

  3. Trafalgar Falls- twin falls 275 feet!

    As part of the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, this location is well marked, has a well developed walking trail, and it generally much easier to find and access that my top 2 choices. These falls are stunning and a trip to Dominica would not be complete without visiting the falls. I did hear that Hurricane Irma changed the landscape quite a bit, but I’m sure it’s still beautiful. (and the rest of the island has done well to rebuild since Irma)

Honorable Mentions- (easy to find/access!)

Red Rocks at Turtle Beach

Batibou Beach

Emerald Pool

I stayed at a villa called Villa Vista in the Northern town of Calibishie and would highly recommend it! http://www.villavistadominica.com/

And I’ve since been connected with Tom & Sharie at Wanderlust Caribbean, which is also in Calibishie and I can recommend their knowledge, kindness and hospitality. They’ve been on the island for 10 years! www.wanderlustcaribbean.com

To get your rental car, give Marve a call at Happy Car Rental (767) 276-4594 and tell her Tom sent you.

And I’ll leave you with these parting thoughts- the driving is at least half the adventure on Dominica. Do yourself a favor and rent a 4wheel drive. Go slow. Beep your horn around every corner. Get a good map and a copilot. And try not to drive at night. Enjoy the adventure!!