Hi all! My name is Lora. Welcome to my guide on the best things to do in Dominica – the most beautiful island in the Caribbean. I grew up in Newfoundland which is an island on the east coast of Canada. Growing up on a rock sticking out of the Atlantic definitely inspired a love of nature and wildlife, and in turn, a curiosity to discover more of what our planet offers.
I took my first trip abroad to Ireland in 2009 and have been hooked on travel since. Photography came along with travel. It’s a great way to capture and share experiences. There is nothing more rewarding than getting a shot of a wild animal! One amazing place that I had the pleasure of visiting recently was Dominica. Let me tell you about this destination below.
A Wonderful Month in Dominica
I was living in Barbados at the time and looking for other Caribbean islands nearby to visit when Dominica appeared on my radar. A few friends told me about Dominica and it sounded exactly like my type of place, especially when I heard about all the nature-based activities on offer there.
In the end, I visited Dominica and stayed for a month in total. Most of my time was spent exploring the beautiful landscapes, chasing waterfalls, going whale watching, hiking the trails, scuba diving in the sea, trying free diving for the first time and relaxing in hot springs. What a trip it was!
Why Dominica is Truly the Most Beautiful Caribbean Island
Dominica is a nature-lovers paradise. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard more about it after my first day there. It’s easily the most beautiful island in the Caribbean. The scenery is breathtaking. Epic waterfalls, the Caribbean Sea, emerald pools, an abundance of wildlife – you name it, Dominica has it!
Plus, if you are an adventurous or active traveller, there is no better place in the Caribbean to visit than Dominica. You can be doing a different activity every day – whether you choose to go hiking, scuba diving, free diving, snorkelling, swimming or canyoning. No matter what, you won’t get bored.
My Favourite Place in Dominica – Boiling Lake
Dominica is bursting with many beautiful places but one of my favourites is Boiling Lake. I have never seen anything like it before and the hike to get there is just awesome! It takes you through so many different landscapes – starting in a rainforest and ending surrounded by thermal springs.
At the end, you face a massive lake with a center boiling point (the second largest hot lake in the world)! The hike is not easy, though. It took us eight hours round-trip but was worth it as the experience was unforgettable. If there is one place you have to visit in Dominica it’s Boiling Lake.
Top 10 Things To Do in Dominica
Upon arrival (whether from the air or sea), you will be blown away by the natural beauty of this island. As long as you love nature and the outdoors there is never a dull moment to be had in Dominica. From a boiling lake to stunning waterfalls, diving adventures and emerald pools – this place is the very definition of paradise! Below are my top 10 things to do:
1. Hike to Boiling Lake – Second Largest in the World
Boiling Lake in Dominica is the second largest hot water lake in the world – 200 feet wide with an unknown depth. This lake is a flooded fumarole from a nearby volcano on the island and bubbles with greyish-blue water that is super, super hot! Not only is the lake stunning but the views on the hike are outstanding as well. Hire a hiking guide for a more informative experience.
2. See the Stunning Victoria Falls of Dominica
Victoria Falls is a stunning waterfall that pours into a river with a unique milky blue colour. You can access this waterfall from Delices. Like most natural wonders of Dominica, the journey to get there is part of what makes the experience so fantastic. Make your way through rivers, across trails and climb rocks to finally arrive at the beautiful Victoria Falls!
3. Immerse yourself in the Old Market of Roseau
A historic old cobblestone square (going back over 300 years) where the local people shop at the various fresh fruit, vegetable and produce vendors. A great place to pick up some food and see daily life in Dominica. Many cruise ship passengers stop here too to browse through the souvenir stalls.
4. Go Free Diving at the Beautiful Soufriere Bay
Soufriere Bay is one of the best places in the world to try free diving as they have calm water, depth close to shore, good visibility and qualified instructors to teach you! For those who don’t know, free diving is the practice of taking a breath and then swimming below the surface for as long as possible. Certainly a challenge but something that you will love.
5. Scuba Dive at the Volcanic Champagne Beach
Another unique activity in Dominica where you can see volcanic springs rise up from the ocean floor. Along with your instructors, you will come across bubbles rising from the seabed. Combine this with the colourful marine life at Champagne Reef and you have yourself an epic experience.
6. Relax at the Natural Hot Spring of Bubble Beach
How does relaxing in a natural hot spring at the beach sound?! Surely this is the perfect activity after a few days of adventure! At Bubble Beach, a fumarole heats up the waters and creates a bubble effect. Not only can you relax in the waters but you can also book a massage with a therapist.
7. Swim at the Gorgeous Emerald Pool of Dominica
Emerald Pool is an absolute must-do in Dominica! Here you will find a gorgeous coloured pool with a small waterfall pouring into it where you can go swimming. These waters look emerald because they pour down from a mountain and are transformed due to nature and sunlight.
8. Wade through the Waters of Titou Gorge
Titou Gorge is a canyon that you can go swimming through. You actually have to wade/swim through a series of ponds formed by high cliff walls to explore the gorge. This experience is amazing because light shines down the mountain into the gorge. You can even relax at a hot spring!
9. Discover the Trafalgar Falls of Morne Trois Pitons
Trafalgar Falls are located in Morne Trois Pitons National Park. They are twin falls only 20 minutes drive from Roseau. Enjoy a leisurely hike to the viewing platform and take photos to your heart’s content! Again, along the way you have the opportunity to soak in a warm spring that flows across the walking trail. Have I sold you on visiting Dominica yet?!
10. Enjoy a Boat Ride through the Wild Indian River
This wild and staggeringly beautiful river boat ride will be one of the highlights of your trip to Dominica. You will have endless opportunities for birdwatching and taking photos of the unique Bwa Mang tree roots. This coastal wetland is a surreal place and the best river to visit in Dominica.
Local Culture and Food of Dominica
All the people of Dominica that I met were very kind. It does take a while to get to know them (like any place) but by the end of my trip I had a few local friends who went out of their way to make sure I had an amazing time. One even sent a search party out for me when I got lost in the jungle!
One unique thing about Dominica is that there is still a local tribe of descendants of the island’s original people. You can go and visit them in the Kalinago Territory to learn about their culture. I would add that as a bonus experience to my top 10 recommendations mentioned above.
In terms of local food, there aren’t a lot of Western restaurants in Dominica outside of the hotels. Most of the food is locally inspired which I loved! Many restaurants don’t even have menus – you just choose if you want fish or chicken and they will prepare something for you with a variety of sides.
Where to Stay in Dominica
I wrote a whole blog post on where to stay in Dominica on my travel website explorewithlora.com. Soufriere Guesthouse in the south of the island is a great place to stay if you want to try out free diving. They have a dive school on-site and you will meet a lot of other free divers there. It’s also just a beautiful and relaxing place to stay, near hot springs and hiking trails.
Pagua Bay House on the east coast of the island is a great option if you are looking for luxury. They have a gorgeous pool that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, six oceanfront cabanas and they offer free river-tubing for guests!
Need to Know Before you Go
The first thing you need to know before making plans to visit Dominica is that there is no international airport. You will have to fly into one of the other Caribbean islands such as Antigua or Barbados and then catch a regional flight from there. The plane rides to Dominica are so scenic!
I recommend renting an AWD vehicle if you want to explore on your own without a guide. Many of the main attractions are remote and while there are local buses, you will spend ages waiting for them to get between places. Having your own car gives you so much more freedom to explore.
I would like to leave you with my favourite experience of Dominica. I went whale watching on the island which was pretty incredible. It’s never guaranteed to see the whales but we were lucky enough to see a dozen or so sperm whales during our afternoon just outside of Roseau. What made it even more special was that two of the whales were a mother and her calf!