This suggested itinerary will show you some of the natural wonders of this beautiful island at a leisurely pace, whilst staying in very comfortable and unique small hotels. The holiday can be extended in Dominica, or alternatively we would recommend combining this tour with another island such as Antigua, Barbados or St Lucia.
On this tour you will explore gardens full of rare and beautiful plants, swim in sparkling cold rivers, snorkel in the warm Caribbean Sea and soak in volcano-fed hot mineral pools. You will also visit the last remaining settlement of the indigenous people of the Caribbean, the Kalinago. Dominica is the only island where they have survived the centuries and still live in their own community known as the Carib Territory.
You will also have the opportunity to hike jungle trails that invariably seem to end in cascading waterfalls and superb views, to look for the endangered Imperial and Red-necked Parrots that are only found here, to spot whales and dolphins, which unusually remain in these waters all year round and to just relax while you soak up the atmosphere.
Day 1 – Arrival in Dominica and transfer to Calibishie Cove
Arrive in Dominica, the ‘Nature Island of the Caribbean’ and transfer to Calibishie Cove, your small comfortable hotel situated on a cliff top peninsula on the north coast of the island, commanding spectacular ocean, beach and wilderness views. Calibishie Cove will be your home for the first three nights of your holiday.
Day 2 – Explore Calibishie
A relaxing first day to acclimatise and explore the north coast area surrounding your hotel. The Calibishie Coast is one of the few areas in the world where you can travel from the seashore to rain forest in little more than a mile and is also home to Dominica’s best beaches. You could visit the amazing red rocks and perhaps stroll to the beautiful deserted beach at Pointe Baptiste or you could visit the village of Calibishie, where the local population are very friendly and some small shops and restaurants can be found.
Day 3 – La Chaudiere Falls, Fort Shirley and Cabrits National Park
The adventure begins with a relatively easy combination of hikes and nature experiences with a visit to La Chaudiere Falls & Pool in the morning before travelling down to Portsmouth, Dominica’s second largest town, to visit Fort Shirley and Cabrits National Park. There are well-marked wildlife trails around the grounds and ruins of this 18th century garrison, which is gradually being restored and beautiful views southeast across Prince Rupert’s Bay towards Morne Diablotin, Dominica’s highest peak. After lunch, you will take a boat trip on the famous Indian River, which has recently been used as a location for Pirates of the Caribbean. Rowboats go through the mangroves where you are likely to see herons, kingfishers and sometimes iguanas, to an area where the river narrows and you can then take a walk or go to the bush bar for a drink.
Day 4 – Syndicate Forest and transfer to Cocoa Cottages
You will be collected from the hotel very early in the morning to travel into the rainforest at Syndicate, located at the foothills of Morne Diablotin, to look for the island’s national bird the Sisserou (the Imperial Parrott) and the Jaco (the Red Necked Parrott) both endemics to Dominica, as well as the other nine regional endemics. The Syndicate rainforest has well maintained trails, which pass through some of Dominica’s most easily accessible oceanic rainforest, and is abundant with trees like the giant Gommier (Dacryodes Excelsa), the incredibly buttressed chataignier (Sloanea Carabea) and numerous epiphytes and stranglers. Continue on to Cocoa Cottages, perched high in the rainforest in the heart of the Roseau Valley and less than 15 minutes to the starting points of many of Dominica’s major trails and sights, such as Trafalgar falls, Middleham Falls, Freshwater Lake, Boeri Lake, Titou Gorge, the sulphur springs and Boiling Lake. This delightful guest house will be your home for the next four nights.
Day 5 – Whale Watching
Today you could visit the charming capital, Roseau, with plenty of time to explore, shop and to visit the Botanical Gardens before lunch. Then the afternoon could be spent on a Whale and Dolphin Safari. Dominica is blessed with an abundance of resident and visiting cetaceans, pods of Spinner and Spotted Dolphins, Pilot Whales, Sperm Whales, False Orcas and at least a dozen other species. Whales and Dolphins are sighted so frequently in these waters that Dominica is widely considered to be one of the best areas in the Caribbean for encounters with these fascinating creatures. Watch as they break the surface of the water and listen to the rhythmic sounds of their clicking communication as you relax on the fast, hydrophone-equipped catamarans. Fish, seabirds, and a magnificent view of the island’s rugged beauty make this trip an excellent way to spend an afternoon.
Day 6 – Scotts Head and Snorkelling at Champagne
Today you will discover two unique Dominica experiences. First of all, your guide will take you to nearby Soufriere, a small fishing village that is both beautiful and unspoiled. After Soufriere the road continues on to Scotts Head, which is a narrow isthmus separating the Atlantic Ocean from the Caribbean Sea. After this, you will continue on to Champagne Reef, which is Dominica’s premier diving and snorkelling site and rates among the top five snorkelling sites in the whole Caribbean area. Underwater geothermal springs vent gasses in the form of thousands of warm bubbles giving you the feeling of swimming through a giant glass of Champagne. And that’s not all, as the reef here is quite spectacular and you can expect to see a myriad of sea life including sponges, lobster, parrot fish and a resident population of Hawksbill turtles.
Day 7 – Explore the surrounding area and the Trois Pitons National Park
This morning, you could take a walk from your hotel, stopping to admire the magnificent Trafalgar Falls and perhaps to have a dip in the Sulphur Springs at Wotten Waven. Or you might like to have a guided tour of the wonderful tropical gardens at nearby Papillote, landscaped by the owner Anne Jno Baptiste and inhabited by over 30 species of birds and 19 species of butterflies. Alternatively, you may like to visit Freshwater Lake, Dominica’s largest lake and the source of the Roseau River. Though it is only 55ft deep, the lake is widely believed to be bottomless and legend tells of a one-eyed monster of the deep that resides in the lake. Here you can kayak or take an hour-long Cloud Forest trail around the shore and admire the views and the eerie scenery.
Day 8 – Transfer To Beau Rive via the Emerald Pool
Leaving Cocoa Cottages after breakfast, your driver will take you to Beau Rive, your hotel for the next three nights. On the way you will visit one of the wonderful waterfalls, for which Dominica is deservedly famous – the Emerald Pool, located in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park. Follow trails past overhanging trees and lush vegetation to the waterfalls and shimmering pools, where it is possible to have a refreshing swim
Day 9 – Explore the area around Beau Rive
A day of leisure to enjoy Beau Rive, which is nestled into the hillside amid 3 acres of tropical gardens and forest. You can walk down through the forest and along the Richmond River to the beach, which is wild and rocky. There is a natural rock pool nearby where it is possible to swim when conditions allow. There is a black sand beach at the village of Castle Bruce, one and a half miles to the south. Alternatively, if you are feeling particularly energetic you can walk along the easterly-most segment of the Waitukubuli National Trail, which provides stunning vistas of the rugged Atlantic coastline.
Day 10 – Kalinango Territory
Today a visit to the Carib Territory. This is the only indigenous peoples’ reserve in the Caribbean, offering a unique perspective to the island and its heritage. The Kalinago Barana Aute Carib Cultural Village by the Sea has an excellent interpretation centre of the heritage of the Kalinago people. Here you can sample local food, witness craft and dance demonstrations, learn about the traditions of agriculture and fishing and purchase authentic handicrafts for which the territory is renowned.
Day 11 – Final day of relaxation
A last morning at leisure before leaving for the airport and your afternoon departure to Antigua or another island, with onward connections on BA or Virgin to London Gatwick.
Day 12 – Arrive home
Arrive back to the UK.