Papillote Wilderness Retreat is one of those places where the longer you stay, the harder it is to leave. The grounds were like having a botanical garden right out your hotel room door.
At the top of the property was a little open-air bird watcher’s house, where I sat for hours watching the squadrons of hummingbirds vying for position from one vibrantly colored tropical blossom to the next.
In addition to the ambiance brought about by dining while overlooking the Roseau Valley, the food was delicious! I opted for the prix fix offering each night, which always included hot soup such as Pumpkin or Callaloo, a light fresh green salad, a choice of two main courses, and the most delicious vegetables — eggplant au gratin, greens and spinach, mashed potatoes, or fresh green beans…always healthy, but also hearty. And dessert. Always dessert. With all the hiking, I earned it, right?
It was hard to believe that this wilderness retreat was also within a 3 minute walk from Dominica’s most popular tourist attraction, Trafalgar Falls. What makes these falls unique is that there are actually two waterfalls, the “father” falls which drops into a hot sulfur springs, and the “mother” falls from an ice cold river. Down below the platform, the two merge into one river of perfect temperature.
By the time I reached the platform it had started to rain again, so once more, I had the most famous tourist attraction all to myself.
The woman at the ticket booth said to stay out of the cold river because all the rains had caused the river to rise to a level too dangerous to cross. However, she said it was okay to hike below the platform and swim in the hot river. I found a pool about knee deep, just big enough to stretch out and let the warm, healing mineral waters flow over my shoulders, while the cool rain fell softly on my face. This was yet another one of those surreal moments, lying in a warm bath underneath a waterfall with no one else around.
Somebody pinch me, please!