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Roseau, Dominica
Roseau, Dominica

Roseau, Dominica - The Commonwealth of Dominica is an island nation in the Lesser Antilles south-southeast of Guadeloupe and northwest of Martinique.  Its name is pronounced with an accent on the second “i” unlike the pronunciation in the name “Dominican Republic” which is accented on the first “i”.  Dominica was named by Christopher Colombus, after the day of the week he discoverd it - Sunday.  The island is volcanic and still has minor activity in the form of hot springs and heated gases that bubble up from the seabed.  It has the world's second largest boiling lake, which is a 3 hour hike one way to view.  Dominica is the youngest island in the Lesser Antilles and is dominated by rainforest. Though the French and United Kingdom controlled Dominica in the past, it is an independent nation today.  English is the official language but French Creole is also spoken.  Dominica is 29 miles long and 16 miles wide.  The capital and cruise port is Roseau and the island has a permanent population of about 70,000.

Caribbean Princess, Roseau, Dominica

Caribbean Princess, Roseau, Dominica

Attractions in Dominica:

Things to see and do:

  • Morne Trois Pitons National Park – 17,000 acre Morne Trois Pitons National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has several crater lakes and waterfalls. One of Dominica’s scenic assets is its collection of beautiful waterfalls, including Trafalgar Falls, Hibiscus Falls and Ladudat Sulfur springs in the park.

  • Aerial Tram & Trafalgar Falls - one of the most popular attractions on Dominica

  • Emerald Pool – Just a short walk into the rainforest in the center of the island is Emerald Pool, a chilly grotto featured in several movies.

  • Titou Gorge – Titou Gorge (“little throat” in Creole) is a small waterfall deep in a water-filled gorge, flanked by rock walls that provide an intricate and breathtaking setting

  • Layou River – Surrounded by cliffs and rainforests on both sides, Layou is the longest river in Dominica.

  • Botanical Gardens – More like a large park, this 40 acre garden is located on the site of a former sugarcane field, housing endangered Sisserou and Jaco parrots in protective cages, along with many large trees, exotic flowers and tropical plants.

  • Soufriere/Scotts Head Marine Reserves – A vast submerged volcanic crater, Sourfriere/Scotts Head features popular dive sites, steep drop-offs, active underwater fumaroles and expansive coral reefs, including the Champagne Reef

Look for registered taxi drivers at the wharf who will take you to Morne Trois Pitons National Park and Trafalgar Falls or the Emerald Pool  for 20 – 25 $US per person in 2011, which compares favorably with the cruise ship pricing in excess of $60 per person. This would be my first recommendation, though I myself ended up at the Champagne Reef instead.  Meanwhile Carolina loved the aerial tram and Trafalgar Falls.  It was one of her all time favorite excursions.

Dominica Tours:

Hotels in Dominica:

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Roseau, Dominica

Roseau, Dominica

Champagne Reef Excursion
by Tim Anderson

Dominica coast line south of Roseau

Dominica coast line south of Roseau

We chose to do the Champagne Reef Snorkel, which was inexpensive.  I personally wasn’t that impressed with the excursion.  There was extensive paperwork to complete before the excursion and they seemed proud to state that they would keep the documentation for 5 years.  This was a marked contrast to our Aruba 4x4 excursion where we weren't asked to sign any paperwork or even prove we had a driver's license.  What a contrast.  During the excursion, senior guides scolded subordinates in front of clients and the whole process seemed too structured and unfriendly.  The snorkel site is less than 20 minutes by catamaran from the ship and you can still see the town of Roseau when you arrive.  The snorkel starts in deep water out from the champagne reef and I’m never that impressed with trying to view parrotfish and exotic tropicals from above, especially at more than 15 feet.  We did have an unexpected sighting of an eagle ray though. T he guides had never seen one here and it was magnificent.  It dwarfed the Southern Rays we had seen the day before and its bright spots were beautiful.  The “champagne reef” was also worthwhile.  Lots of bubbles were being released from the seabed in a pattern resembling champagne bubbles.  You could feel the heat where the bubbles were releasing.  The eagle ray and the “champagne” made the trip worthwhile, but it’s definitely not a trip I’d be excited enough about to go again.

Champagne Reef, Dominica

Champagne Reef, Dominica

Champagne Reef, Dominica

Champagne Reef - heated volcanic gases, Dominica

Aerial Tram & Trafalgar Falls Excursion
by Carolina Ashe

The port at Dominica is Roseau and it's not much of a tourist town.  However, the shore excursion (Aerial Tram & Trafalgar Falls) was one of our best.  We spent the full day in Dominica, which is very mountainous and rainy. They get 400 inches of rain per year, and I think we got about 20 inches today! The rain would pour buckets for 10 minutes, then dry out, and later another downpour. We went up in the mountains and walked up to see a couple of waterfalls and a fumerole, then took an aerial tram up 2,500 feet through the rain forest canopy. It is so lush and green, it’s hard to describe. As one woman said, you could plant a rock and it would grow into a boulder. There were banana trees growing by the side of the road. And their fresh bananas are delicious.

Trafalgar Falls, Dominica

Trafalgar Falls

Caribbean Princess, Fumerole on Dominica

Fumerole steam vents and rainforest on Dominica

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