In 2005, rugged, jungle-filled Dominica became the first nation to be certified by Green Globe 21 for sustainable development. Nature-oriented visitors appreciate Dominica’s rich culture and history, and this locale has a great deal to offer travelers with a quest for adventure. Located between Guadeloupe and Martinique, Dominica’s mountains soar to nearly 5,000 feet, yielding a thriving rainforest, hundreds of rivers and waterfalls, rare orchids and colorful birds. Geothermal activity results in colorful hot springs, bubbling mud pools, small geysers and Boiling Lake, the second largest lake of its kind in the world. The sites are found in Morne Trois Pitons National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hikers can trek to Victoria Falls, and Middleham Falls, a narrow plume of water falling 200 feet from a cliff notch. A strenuous excursion to Morne Diablotin (Devil’s Mountain) reaps glimpses of two endemic parrots, the jaco and the sisserou. Non hikers can ride the Rainforest Aerial Tram, which offers a 70-minute journey through the treetop canopy. Mountain biking, horseback riding, river tubing and jeep safaris are other ways of enjoying Dominica’s natural gifts.
The offshore marine environment is equally fascinating, as healthy reefs, extraordinary formations and 100-foot visibility draw scuba divers. Dominica’s waters host 22 species of whales and dolphins, making it a prime whale-watching destination throughout the winter. Beaches are mostly black sand, with a few golden strands in the northeast.
For history lovers, the capital, Roseau and Fort Shirley are fun to explore. At the Kalingo Barana Aute, visitors can watch as Kalinago Indians carve the trunk of a Gommier tree into a canoe. Cultural performances, storytelling and “spiritual cleansings” are part of the outing. Tours of a rum distillery and the Rosalie slave plantation estate are also popular. Local restaurants serve predominantly native Creole cuisine; mountain chicken (frog legs) is the national dish. The World Creole Music Festival takes place in October, and Mas Dominik, the island’s carnival, features calypso and steel pan competitions, a soca music festival, jump-ups and a costume parade.