Caribbean – Anguilla, Antigua, Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Dominica
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Dominica island sits midway along the Eastern Caribbean archipelago, just a few miles from Martinique to the south and Guadeloupe to the north. Its official name is the “Commonwealth of Dominica”, which distinguishes the island from its northerly Caribbean sister, the “Dominican Republic”. Dominica is a truly special Caribbean sailing destination. The island’s unsurpassed natural beauty and the popularity of diving, hiking and eco tours – along with its rich culture and Carib Indian population – makes Dominica an increasingly popular tourist destination.
Landscape, Flora, And Fauna
Known as “The Nature Island,” Dominica’s tropical rainforests cover two thirds of the island, and are home to 1,200 plant species. Rivers, lakes, streams, and waterfalls abound, fed by the island’s high annual rainfall. Its volcanic physique points to extensive geothermal activity – even underwater. Geologically speaking, Dominica is one of the youngest islands in the Caribbean chain. It is a spry 26 million years old, still actively evolving with continuous geothermal activity.
The People and Culture
The island is sparsely populated with 70,000 people inhabiting its 289 square miles. A significant portion of the population lives in and around the capital city of Roseau. About 80% of the population is Roman Catholic. English is the official language, but a large portion of the population speaks Creole. Today approximately 2,000 Carib natives remain on the island, most living in the Carib Territory in northeast Dominica.
Deep Sea Diving
Dominica is one of the top Caribbean diving destinations and provides some of the best diving experiences in the world. If you dive to experience thrill, wonder and beauty, Dominica is for you. With volcanic vents and plunging sea walls. Colorful reefs and soft corals. Sea turtles and sperm whales. Dive their reefs and you’ll encounter seahorses, frogfish, flying gurnards and other species rarely found in other Caribbean diving destinations. Huge stands of coral and sponges are home to golden crinoids with feathery, radiating arms. Batfish, electric rays, Caribbean reef squid, sea snakes and sea urchins add to Dominica’s list of rare undersea inhabitants.
Visit Champagne Reef and swim through warm bubbling waters created by geothermal vents. Underwater volcanoes are the source of Dominica’s dramatic underwater landscape: craters, chasms and sheer walls plunging thousands of feet, and soaring pinnacles formed by lava flow. Here, you can feel the water temperature rise. Shallow enough to be enjoyed by snorkelers and scuba divers alike, the water temperature over the vents can reach 90 degrees, making the sea floor warm to the touch! The constant bubbling of gasses creates a truly unique experience – like being in a hot tub in the middle of the ocean.
Soufriere Scott’s Head Marine Reserve, located in the southwest, is the oldest reserve on the island and offers the most popular volcanic underwater features. With virtually no current and unspoilt coral walls, The Cabrits National Park Marine Section in the north is renowned for a large variety of rare fish. The earmarked Salisbury Marine Reserve in the central west area consists of a dozen sites with some of the healthiest and best reef diving in the Caribbean.
In Dominica, every trail across the island leads you to discover nature’s pristine environment with a touch of adventure. Through gorges and valleys. Into dense mountain rainforest. From rushing streams and rivers to natural springs and bubbling mud baths, to a myriad of cascading waterfalls, and a vast array of flora and fauna.
Dominica is home to the Caribbean’s first long distance trail, the Waitukubuli National Trail, which passes through the Carib (Kalinago) Territory (home to indigenous peoples and the UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the Morne Trois Pitons National Park that encompasses the world’s second largest Boiling Lake. The trail highlights island history, culture and community life, biological diversity, natural beauty, watersheds, and forest conservation, and continues to serve as a ‘living classroom’ for educational purposes and a form of wellness for both residents and visitors to the destination.
Wherever rock meets water, canyoning uses the natural environment as an adventure water park. In Dominica that means venturing into the heart of the rainforest. Climb waterfalls, swim through blue pools, hike across riverbeds, repel down rock faces, and jump over cascades into crystal clear waters. Throughout the year, canyoning in Dominica offers a great way to explore this magical island, while at the same time, enjoying the fun and adventure of this great new water-sport. Dominica’s awesome canyons are located just a short distance from the city of Roseau. Prepare to experience the thrill of a lifetime.
Dominica’s sheer underwater drop-offs create deep sheltered bays along its western coastline–the perfect haven for the Sperm Whale to breed and calve. Dominica is the only country in the world where the Sperm Whale resides all year long, although sightings are most common between November and March. Boaters and fishermen report seeing the Sperm Whale at Scotts Head, Roseau, Layou, and Point Round. On the rare occasion when the whales may be elusive, you’re sure to see the acrobatics of hundreds of Spotted and Spinner Dolphins.
Dining in Dominica is as much about the ambiance as the cuisine. Many restaurants serve up captivating panoramas along with an eclectic menu of continental and West Indian dishes. Dominican chefs are adept at preparing many European and American delicacies, with a West Indian touch. There are several great places to eat in the capital Roseau..MORE. Enjoy your own private beach bar at “The Pirates Bar”
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