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Like a Local

The Island of Dominica: Like A Local

dominica 3Dominica may have the beautiful beaches typical of the Caribbean, but the tiny island nation isn’t the tourist playground we typically associate with Caribbean tourism. Dominica is actually best known for its high mountains, unspoiled landscapes, and indigenous roots. Here are some tips for seeing Dominica—like a local.

Getting to Dominica can be a bit difficult, especially because you can’t catch a nonstop flight from anywhere in the U.S. To get there, you first must pass through San Juan, Barbados, Antigua, or St. Maarten. Make sure to plan your trip wisely to offset the time spent traveling.

When you arrive, start the day by heading to the Cabrits National Park, a destination that provides aesthetic beauty, stunning views, and an opportunity to learn more about the history of Dominica. At the edge of the water, you’ll find Fort Shirley, an 18th century British building that once housed hundreds of soldiers. Visitors can continue their exploration by walking the park’s trails, which lead to small historical gems like ruined buildings.

dominica 2You can go from a bird’s-eye-view of the island scenery to an up close and personal look by taking a boat ride on the Indian River. The Indian River, the largest in Dominica, flows through the country’s second largest town, Portsmouth. Fun fact: The Indian River was the shooting location of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. While you’re there, veer off on a 10-minute hike through the rainforest that will lead you through the Morne Trois Pitons National Park to the Emerald Pool, where you can take a quick dip.

Want more hidden rainforest excursions? Check out the Trafalgar Twin Falls, essentially two staggered waterfalls tucked away among thick foliage. You can also stumble upon hot springs simply walking along the trail.

dominica 4After that, trek up North and visit the model Kalinago village, which offers visitors an opportunity to learn more about the indigenous people who called Dominica home before the European colonization. The Dominican government opened up the model village in 2006 and modeled its construction around a karbet, a traditional large hut usually located in the middle of Kalinago villages. Visitors can watch many of the traditions of the indigenous people that carry on today, such as the baking of cassava root into warm, sweet cakes and traditional basket weaving.




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By Peter Greenberg for