Dominica Non-Diving Activities
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. .
Dominica will amaze and inspire everyone from the casual walker and serious hiker alike, as well as those who aspire to learn more about life in its natural state. We advise you to register before hiking and it’s always a smart idea to take a “Dominica Discover Authority” certified tour guide to get the most out of your Dominica hiking experience.
Dominica is home to three National Parks:
Morne Trois Pitons National Park was established as a national park in July 1975 and named a World Heritage Site in 1997. The Park is named after its highest mountain, Morne Trois Pitons, meaning mountain of three peaks. The park is a significant area of volcanic activity and covers 17,000 acres, which includes the Valley of Desolation, a region of boiling mud ponds and small geysers, the Boiling Lake, Titou Gorge, and Emerald Pool.
Cabrits National Park is located on a peninsula on the north end of the island just beyond the town of Portsmouth. Established in 1986, Cabrits National Park occupies 1,313 acres and protects tropical forests, coral reefs and wetlands. When you’re there, make sure to visit the English garrison called Fort Shirley.
Morne Diablotin National Park is a national park in the northern mountain ranges of the island. The park covers 8,242 acres, and was established in 2000, primarily to protect the habitat of the endangered Sisserou Parrot, the national symbol of Dominica. The park is home to 4,747 foot high Morne Diablotin, the tallest mountain on the island and the second highest mountain in the Lesser Antilles.
NON- DIVING ISLAND ACTIVITIES
Architecture Sightseeing – Experience the architecture of Dominica on a self-guided walking tour of the capital city. The center of town boasts one of the best-preserved collections of 18th century Creole architecture in the Caribbean. Take a day tour to visit the many interesting buildings around the island. They include religious, civic and military structures, as well as old plantation estates and mills. You’ll discover many small, wood-framed residences that are known as ‘Ti Kaz. Don’t forget to visit the dwellings of the country’s indigenous Kalinago Indians at the Carib Reserve. These hut-like structures are built of palm leaves, reeds and other easily found local materials.
Biking – Dominica’s unspoiled landscape and tropical weather set the stage for a memorable cycling experience. Our rugged terrain will get your legs working and heart pumping on the way up and your adrenaline flowing on the way down. Stop along the way for a quick dip at one of the many volcanic beaches or rivers. A variety of small, family-owned lodging provides a cozy home base for exploring the area or as a rest stop on an island-wide expedition. On the road or off, biking in Dominica is sure to provide memories that will last a lifetime.
Bird Watching – The perfect haven for birds is the perfect place for birders. Parrots live mainly in the northern part of the island. Thanks to their protected status, the population is recovering and spreading further south. Dominica has nearly 170 other recorded bird species. To learn more about Dominica’s birds check out the Bird-Watching Tours, offered through many hotels and tour companies.
Botanical Gardens – The largest area of green space within the City of Roseau, this 40-acre oasis is home to over 50 types of indigenous plants and imported trees as well as the Sisserou Parrot, the National Bird of Dominica. Look for David’s “signature” – the twisted remains of a large bus crushed beneath a massive Baobab Tree. “The Gardens” continue to be the idyllic setting for recreation, parades and celebrations, and its beauty and serenity make it one of the true gems of the Caribbean.
Cabrits National Park – Cabrits National Park occupies 1,313 acres and protects tropical forests, coral reefs and wetlands. It is located on a scenic peninsula on the north end of the island, just beyond the town of Portsmouth. While you’re there, make sure to visit Fort Shirley, the British garrison that once housed 600 soldiers.
Champagne Reef – Champagne reef is one of Dominica’s “signature” dive sites. Shallow enough to be enjoyed by snorkelers and scuba divers alike, the water temperature over the vents found throughout the reef 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!
Emerald Pool – This wonderful waterfall grotto is located in Morne Trois Piton National Park. An easy hike takes you through magnificent overhanging trees and lush vegetation to the shimmering pool, which appears green in the tree-filtered sunlight. If you go for a dip, you can swim right up to the waterfall! On your way back there are two view points where you can see the Atlantic Coast and Morne Laurent to your left, rising to an elevation of 2,248 ft. Breathtaking!
Canyoning – 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.
Indian River Tours – Be transported in minutes from the urban environment of the town of Portsmouth to the warm embrace of nature by taking a tour up the scenic Indian River. Experienced boatmen in hand-oared riverboats will take you up slow-moving river at a leisurely pace, so that you can appreciate the many types of wild life and plant life along the swampy river bank. See for yourself where scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean were filmed. Up the river you can visit the renowned ‘Bush Bar’ and try our signature rum drink, smoked fish and a variety of other drinks, juices and tasty local cuisine!
Kalinago Territory – The Carib Indians, Dominica’s indigenous people, live on a 3,700-acre Territory on the east coast of the island. With a visit here, you will experience their ancestral roots through their crafts, canoe building and traditional culinary activities. Besides these warm and friendly people, other attractions in the Carib Territory include its many craft shops, the L’Escalier Tete Chien, Horseback Ridge and Isulukati Falls, and the Karifuna Cultural Group.
Middleham Falls – An hour and half hike will lead you into the heart of the rainforest of the Morne Trois Piton National Park. There you will find a fascinating variety of trees, plants and shrubs. With a view of the falls in the distance, you will feel a cool spray of water. The falls are striking, with a narrow stream dropping about 200 ft. from a keyhole notch in the lip of the cliff. The pool beneath the falls is swimmable, though a bit chilly!
Thermal Springs – Due to its volcanic origins, Dominica is home to many thermal springs. These contain mineral deposits, which many believe to be therapeutic and healing. Visitors can soak in multiple pools, ranging in temperature from cool to very hot, which will undoubtedly result in a wonderful feeling of relaxation. Popular spots are Tia’s, Screws’s Spa and Ti Kwen Glo Cho.
Titou Gorge – The hike through Titou Gorge, is actually a short swim from the base of a waterfall through a series of natural “rooms and ponds” formed by high cliff walls canopied by interlaced trees. The undulating sides of this deep, narrow gorge were formed as molten lava cooled and split apart. The swim is short, only about five minutes, and the canopied light filtering down the mountainside within the gorge is spectacular. A hot spring tumbles down a short wall just outside the entrance of the gorge, which feels wonderful after the cool waters of the falls!
Trafalgar Falls – These famous twin waterfalls are a 20-minute drive from Roseau. It’s a short 10 to 15 minute walk along a well-maintained path to the visitor reception area, where you can photograph both falls from a viewing platform. As you walk the path, be sure to stop at the warm spring that flows across the trail. The more daring can continue on to swim in the refreshing waters of the smaller waterfall or find the hot springs of the tallest fall.
Whale Watching – 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. Just a short boat ride brings you into contact with the world’s largest toothed animal in the calm turquoise Caribbean Sea. Boaters and fishermen report seeing the Sperm Whale at Scotts Head, Roseau, Layou, and Point Round. Whale watching operators follow strict codes of conduct, minimizing any disturbance, and never “luring” the whales. On the rare occasion when the whales may be elusive, you’re sure to see the acrobatics of hundreds of Spotted and Spinner Dolphins.
DOMINICA: WHALE WATCHING CAPITAL OF THE CARIBBEAN.
Zip-lining – Get up close and personal with the rainforest on a tree-high adventure. Immersing yourself in Dominica’s unique canopy adventure experience is like landing a TV cameo on “Survivor.”
Fully equipped with safety gear and accompanied by trained guides, you’ll travel through the canopy on ropes, footbridges, and seven zip lines. The final zip line takes you across Dominica’s longest river, the Layou. Challenges, stunning vistas, and one rush after another make this one of the most popular outings on the island.
Dominica’s Dining – 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.
Health & Wellness – Abounding with physical activities, healing therapies and natural products, Dominica embodies the true essence of health and wellness. From hiking the rugged terrain, to soaking in the countless numbers of natural sulphur hot pools, the island truly lives up to its name as the Nature Island. Imagine yoga in the rainforest. Relax with a soothing massage or revitalize with nutritious tropical juices and herbal teas. Experience aromatherapy and holistic medicine. Discover why Dominica boasts over twenty centenarians, a true fountain of youth! Breathe in the island of Dominica, and feel the stresses of these modern times blow away in the island breeze.
Horseback Riding – There may be no better way to experience the Nature Island than on horseback. On your ride, you’ll encounter an endless array of wild and cultivated tropical flowers, ornamental plants and exotic fruit trees. Dominica’s mountain trails weave through one of the world’s last remaining oceanic rain forests where nature truly comes alive. Horseback riding can also take you along the beach, through the countryside, or to cultural and historical sites across the island.
Kayaking – Dominica’s pristine fresh waterways and the tranquil Caribbean Sea make kayaking an ideal way to explore Dominica. The placid Soufrière Bay is a great route for beginners. The rich diversity of marine life and the serenity of the coves at the Soufrière/Scott’s Head Marine Reserve will amaze and delight you. Experience the thrill of kayaking at high altitude on Freshwater Lake in the Morne Trois Pitons World Heritage Site. Dominica’s longest river, the Layou, will take you past cooing birds, through light rapids, matted buttress roots, and diverse habitat.
River Tubing – Experience the wet and wild side of the Caribbean on a spinning, whirling adventure down some of Dominica’s rivers. Gentle rapids, clear swirling water and changing exotic scenery await you on the ride down. . Safety gear and experienced guides make your float safe and fun, and at journey’s end there is always an opportunity for delicious Dominican food and drinks. Some tours include a visit to the beautiful Emerald Pool and waterfall in the heart of Morne Trois Pitons National Park.
Sea Turtle Viewing – Four of the seven species of sea turtles visit Dominica’s shores – Loggerheads, Hawksbills, Green Sea Turtles, and the huge Leatherbacks. Visit Rosalie Beach between March and October and you just may catch a glimpse of one of the most fascinating rituals in the animal kingdom. After mating in the waters, the female sea turtle will come ashore to dig her nest, lay her eggs and smooth them over with sand to avoid detection. In a few months the hatchlings will emerge and try to make it back to the sea. The odds are not in their favor –about 1,000 to one–as hungry predators and dehydration take their toll. Great care must be taken to keep lights away from these areas. They can scare the female turtles and disorient the hatchlings. To witness this ritual is a privilege and the experience of a lifetime.
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