Dominica, (pronounced Dom-uh–NEE-kuh,) not to be confused with the Dominican Republic, this island is much further down south near St. Lucia. Actually a Commonwealth which gained independence from Britian in 1978, this volcanic, mountainous island nicknamed “The Nature Isle” is a part of the Lesser Antilles chain.
I have wanted to visit this island covered in lush rain forest, waterfalls, and volcanic mineral pools since my brother Don and his wife Kathey were there back in 1999. They reported back on the pristine natural beauty, affordability, and lack of commercialism typically associated with the Caribbean. When I read the entry line from the Lonely Planet website, “Dominica is the place to go for those who prefer hiking boots over high heels and are content with a nightlife where the only music is the murmur of the jungle,” I knew I had found my place!
Would I still find this a pristine, unspoiled paradise? Please read on to find out…
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I slowed way down once I got to my third and final stop, the beautiful Jungle Bay Eco Lodge, noted as much for its “adventure” packages as for its pampering at the Spa du Soliel, where all the treatment rooms are open to the sounds of the ocean crashing on the rocks below. I was in it much more for the pampering, as every day in Dominica had offered some type of “adventure” since I arrived. Continue reading
Beautiful gardens of Papillote
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. Continue reading
One of the most unique attractions on the island of Dominica is the Boiling Lake, believed to be a flooded fumarole, a crack through which gases escape from the molten lava below producing a bluish gray boiling lake, accessible only by an eight mile, six and a half hour round trip hike. Continue reading
I planned my visit to Dominica to cover three different areas so as to experience the varied scenery and atmosphere of the coastal towns as well as the rain forest. By this time, I was feeling much more comfortable with Dominican driving, but still wanted to get an early start to allow plenty of time to cross over the island, as road signs are practically non-existent. Continue reading
Red sky at morning, sailor's warning!
I woke up to more pouring rain, thunder, and lightening again at 6:00am this morning so I went back to sleep thinking “well, at least I brought some good books to read!!” I woke up around 8:30am to find that the rain had miraculously stopped, and the sun was peeking out!! I hadn’t heard from Prim the previous day due to the heavy rains, so I didn’t know if I would hear from him again. Continue reading
The advantage of visiting Dominica in the off season is avoiding all the cruise ship traffic. The disadvantage is risking the rainy season – both a high risk of “storms,” it’s just a matter of which type of storm annoys you the most, crowds or clouds. Give me the rain any day! Continue reading
Whenever I ask any of the locals to recommend the best sights to see in the area, they are always quick to come up with a “best” list – best beach, best waterfall, best hike….but it is always amended with, “…..but don’t go there alone!” When I ask them what’s the worst that could happen, I don’t get many specifics beyond, “it’s just not a good idea.” After about the third such warning, I decided to acquiesce, stimulate the local economy and hire a guide. Continue reading
View from San Juan to Dominica
I had two noteworthy experiences during my connection through the San Juan Airport – the first was the wacky TSA woman who said to me after I had passed through their big “Beam me up, Scotty” scanner, “I need to massage your hair piece.” I asked her three times to repeat what she had said before she finally explained in broken English that she needed me to remove the clip from my hair while she ran her latex-covered fingers through my hair — I kid you not! Continue reading