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Nature-oriented visitors appreciate Dominica's small-scale accommodations, ranging from guesthouses to specialized boutique properties. With rich culture and history, this off-the-beaten-path locale has a great deal to offer travelers with a quest for adventure. 

Located between Guadeloupe and Martinique, Dominica (pronounced dom-in-EEK-a) hosts mountains soaring to nearly 5,000 feet, a thriving rainforest, hundreds of rivers cascading in dramatic 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 have the ultimate trail: The Waitukubuli National Trail which encompasses 114 miles of trail spanning and twisting the length of this 29-mile long island. From Scotts Head in the south, right up to Capuchin in the north, the trail winds from one end of Dominica to the other. Along the way it will take you through coastal villages, up woodland hills, into lush rainforest, past waterfalls, down to rivers, back up to the mountains and then down again. 

If that is not enough, there is an array of options that waits. The trek to Victoria Falls leads to a site where white water contrasts with a rust-colored cliff. At Middleham Falls, a narrow plume of water falls 200 feet from a cliff notch. A strenuous excursion to Morne Diablotin (Devil's Mountain), the island's highest peak, reaps glimpses of two endemic parrots, the Jaco and the Sisserou, the National Bird.

Mountain biking, horseback riding, river tubing, kayaking and jeep safaris are other ways of enjoying Dominica's natural gifts.

Offshore Fantasy

The offshore marine environment is equally fascinating, as healthy reefs, extraordinary formations and 100-foot visibility draw scuba divers. Snorkelers head to Champagne Reef, where warm water seeps from underwater volcanic vents and colorful fish swirl on streams of tiny bubbles. Of the 40-plus dive sites, one of the most renowned is Scott's Head Pinnacle, distinguished by its submerged crater, steep walls, seamounts and swim-through arch. 

Dominica's waters host 22 species of whales and dolphins, making it a prime whale-watching destination year round. Other ways to enjoy the water include kayaking, sailing and fishing. Beaches are mostly black sand, with a few golden strands in the northeast. 

For history lovers, the capital, Roseau, features Creole architecture, early slave quarters and the Roseau Museum, highlighting the country's cultural and natural history. Fort Shirley, a British colonial fort, is fun to explore, as is the Carib Territory. At the Kalingo Barana Aute, visitors learn to weave baskets in the traditional Dominica way, and to catch crayfish using ages-old methods. 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. 

For the ultimate cultural immersion, visit during the World Creole Music Festival, for three pulsating nights of rythym in October, during Mas Dominik, the island's carnival, held before Lent, which features calypso and steel pan competitions, a soca music festival, jump-ups and a costume parade, or during Jazz’n’Creole for a week long fusion of music and culture.


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