Dominica (pronounced Dom-in-ee-ka) is situated between Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean, with the rocky Atlantic Ocean on one side and the calming Caribbean on the other. A former colony of the United Kingdom, Dominica is now an independent country, having gained its independence from Britain in 1978. However, the Queen’s picture is still on the Eastern Caribbean (EC) money, because printing and circulating new money would be too costly for the island.
Once you arrive, there is a little bit of a drive to get to Roseau, and I say that playfully. It takes about two hours to drive down the winding, rocky, mountain road through the depths of the rain forest with deep ravines that you will be peering into. Not to worry – the drivers are highly skilled in this area (quite a difference from N.Y.C. cab drivers). Make sure your luggage is tagged properly before checking it in, because they don’t make much of an effort to locate your bags in Antigua (which is probably going to be your layover route). Always pack items, such as your mask, regulator and computer, in your carry-on just in case you happen to be as fortunate as I was to lose your luggage. You can rent the rest of the gear at your lodge if something happens.
Dominica is surrounded by lush, tropical rainforest just begging to be explored and teeming with wildlife of all kinds. The nature hikes are fascinating – there are over 350 rivers and streams winding their way through ravines and gorges to cascade over countless waterfalls. You can easily get to places such as Emerald Pool, Trafalgar Falls, Titou Gorge and the Aerial Tram, or you can be more adventurous and attempt the four to five hour trek through the mud to access Boiling Lake.
Whale watching is also an option. Dominica is known for its frequent sightings of spinner and spotted dolphins, pilot whales, sperm whales and false orcas, and guided tours guarantee a 90% chance of seeing one of these amazing creatures. Day trips to neighboring Martinique, St. Lucia and Guadeloupe are available through ferries and airplane tours. It is helpful to get the ferry schedule from the resort beforehand. And if that is not enough, there is biking and kayaking as well.
But most important for me is the islands’ incredible diving. There is a lot to explore underwater: dramatic reef walls that plunge down to 1,000 feet (300m), pristine coral reefs, pinnacle dives, orange and yellow sponges abound. There is no shortage of tropical fish, including black bar soldier fish, squirrel fish, trumpet fish, porcupine fish and an abundance of Pederson shrimp, arrow crabs, banded shrimp and squid, as well as moray eels, squid, squirrel fish, blue tang and turtles galore. We even spotted a few bat fish and octopi on many shore dives as well.