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13 Top Dominica Tourist Attractions

Trafalgar Falls is the most popular waterfall in Dominica. Credit: Creative Commons license
Trafalgar Falls is the most popular waterfall in Dominica. Credit: Creative Commons license

Dominica tourist attractions have a focus on ecotourism and with good reason. It is one of the better hiking experiences in the Caribbean because of rainforests, mountains and waterfalls.

The rainforests and waterfalls are largely the result of heavy rains that drench the island throughout the year, especially during the annual Caribbean hurricane season.

The natural attractions had great appeal for some of us on our eastern Caribbean cruise visit. For others, the natural choice was the Roseau tourist district. It came down to high energy versus low energy and and Mother Nature versus T-shirt shopping.

Waterfall hikes are among the most popular attractions on the island. Waterfalls include Trafalgar Falls, Titou Gorge, Emerald Pool, Victoria Falls, Sari Sari Falls, Middleham Falls. Trafalgar Falls is especially popular because of its easy access.

Another interesting hike is a six-hour round trip to Boiling Lake, the world’s largest boiling lake formed by heated gases that escape from molten lava underneath the lake.

The best Dominica attractions include the following list.

1) Roseau

Roseau is an interesting experience for someone visiting by cruise. A short walk off the dock goes to a small shopping district that appeals to cruise visitors. The tourism district has the usual options of restaurants and shops with duty-free shopping. Shops feature both local and imported arts, crafts and souvenirs.

A few blocks away is the real Roseau, which is capital of the island and its largest city.

Visitors will find a walk through Rouseau more about looking around and absorbing a community that is largely untouched by tourism compared to other Caribbean destinations.

It’s a refreshing change of pace from the commercialism that dominates the cruise ports of the major Caribbean islands.

2) Fort Shirley

Fort Shirley in Cabrits National Park is the most important historical place on the island and a UNESCO National Heritage site. The 1,300-acre park, which also has hiking trails, is on the north end of the island.

The English fort was a deterrent to French invasions and the site of a famous slave soldier rebellion in 1802, according to UNESCO.

Dominica waterfall
© Discover Dominica Authority

3) Easy Hike Waterfalls

Trafalgar Falls near the village of Trafalgar is an easy 10-minute hike from the road. One falls drops 125 feet and the other about 75 feet. Titou Gorge requires swimming from the base of a waterfall through a group of natural “rooms and ponds” formed by high cliff walls. It is located a half-mile beyond Ladat by a utility station.

Emerald Pool is a five-minute, one-kilometer hike from the Roseau-Castle Bruce Road. The 40-foot waterfall has crystal clear water at the base.

4) Medium Hike Waterfalls

Victoria Falls is a 45-minute hike one way and can be combined with Sari Sari Falls. It is located near the village of Delices.

The remote Sari Sari Falls can be found by the East Road and is a one-mile hike each way. Syndicate-Portsmouth is a four-hour hike one way. Start at the Syndicate visitor center in Morne Diablotin National Park.

Middleham Falls in Morne Trois Piton National Park is noteworthy because of its 200-foot height. It is at least a 45-minute hike one way. Access is near the Roseau-Laudat road at the National Park Reception Centre.

5) Difficult Hike Waterfalls

Boiling Lake is both a highlight of Dominica and one of the most difficult attractions to reach. The total hiking trip is more than six hours over demanding terrain.

However, the trip to reach the world’s largest boiling lake takes hikers through extensive rainforests and mountain forests.

6) Mero Beach

Mero Beach Dominica
Mero Beach. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

Mero Beach is 12 miles north of the Roseau cruise port. Only a few shore excursion operators offer a chance to visit Mero because the island is not known for great beaches. Otherwise, take a taxi. This gray sand beach is a good option for families with young children because of calm waters. Mero has restrooms, public showers and concession stands.

7) Scotts Head Pinnacle

Scotts Head Pinnacle is one of the most famous dive sites on the island, according to the Dominica Tourism Authority. It is known for the views, water clarity and many sea creatures.

8) Rainforest Adventures

This excursion company has an aerial tram that takes visitors over waterfalls, and it also offers ziplining tours over the Breakfast River Gorge.

9) Cycling Tours

Another way of taking advantage of Dominica’s unspoiled rainforests is via cycling tours. The tours include staying at small, family-owned inns and cottages.

10) Sea Turtles

Endangered sea turtles crawl onto Rosalie Beach every year between March and August to lay eggs. Many of the turtles are Leatherbacks, which can grow up to 1,500 pounds in size.

Visitors can watch the nighttime ritual while following strict standards of the Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organisation. Trained guides will provide guidance on when to touch and photograph the turtles at appropriate times.

11) Whale Watching

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, according to the Dominica tourism office.

Excursion operators are available and claim sightings for 22 species with a 95 percent success rate.

12) Snorkeling and Diving

Marine reserves include Soufriere Scotts Head Bay located in the south and the Cabrits Marine Reserve in the north.

The volcanic island is known for diving and snorkeling in warm sea vents, which are bubbles that float from the sea bed to the top of the water.

13) Ti’tou Gorge

Visitors take a short swim from the base of a waterfall through a series of natural rooms and ponds formed by high cliff walls. Trees create a canopy overhead.

A hot spring cascades down a short wall just outside the entrance of the gorge.

An excursion to Ti’tou Gorge and Middleham Falls will cost from $65 to $115 per person depending on amenities.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
November 08, 2023

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