(pirate for Aloha!)
Somewhere over the rainbow lies the magical, emerald island of Dominica, with a new adventure around every corner! For my latest adventure, I set off to the island of Dominic to satisfy my inner pirate, and explore a real life Disneyland!
The island of Dominica, film location of Pirates of the Caribbean 2 & 3, is the most mountainous island in the Caribbean with 365 rivers, countless waterfalls, volcanic hot springs, world class diving – not to mention abundant wild life – whales and dolphin and parrots OH MY!
1. Tia’s Hot Spring
Dominica is one of the only islands in the world with natural hot springs. After a day adventuring to the nearby Trafalgar’s famous twin falls, it was a relaxing and rejuvenating dream! Tia’s Hot springs and Bamboo Cottages is in the village of Wotten Waven and consists of cottages constructed of bamboo set in a lush tropical garden set in the midst of towering rain-forest covered terrain.
2. Dolphin + Whale Watch at Anchorage Hotel
Anchorage Hotel is a laid back family owned and managed property is perched on the edge of the tranquil Caribbean Sea, only one mile south of the Capital city, Roseau. It is an ideal location for travelers of all ages to come for dive excursion or a visit to nearby Champagne Reef. I’ve seen a lot of sunsets in my life, but I must say that standing on the dock, watching the blood red Caribbean sun drop through a pink and turquoise sky was…well…something you MUST experience!
The Anchorage “Signature” Whale Watch Excursions leaves from in front of the hotel and anyone can join Dominica’s dive & whale watch Pioneers on a comfortable 60ft or 75ft catamarans for the best whale watching on island! As the sun set, whales were diving all around us, and a HUGE pod of hundreds of dolphins led us back to shore happily dancing in the wake of the boat.
3. Emerald Pool + Traflgar Falls
Traflgar twin falls in only a short hike to a breath taking view of TWO cascading water falls over 200 feet tall. And are you ready for this? There are natural hot pools beneath the falls that you can luxuriate in while taking in the view.
Emerald Pool is a sparkling green pool at the base of a 40ft waterfall. It is like a little fairy haven out of a Disney film and is only a five minute walk through a lush rain forest.
Take dip and float around for a while and look up for a stunning perspective. If you are feeling extra adventure-y, swim under the fall and carefully feel around with your feet til you find a rock submerged directly under the falls and stand on it and become one with the waterfall. 😉 Fun note: Adventure in behind the falls and see if you can find the heart shaped formation in the cliff.
4. Kalinago Dance
The Kalinago are the indigenous people of Dominica, formerly known as the Caribs. About 3,000 Kalinagos in the north-eastern coast of Dominica. The Kalinago live a simple communal life, carrying on the many traditions of their ancestors.
What fascinated me about visiting the Kalinago territory is how different the Kalinago people have a very south pacific island look and the the rest of the Dominicans look very Caribbean or as I say “Bob Marley-an.”
Since I love connecting with and sharing ancient cultures, it was exciting to meeting the Kalinago people, and learn about their traditions, legends, and beliefs that have been kept alive for thousands of years – and DANCE!
5. Number One Beach
Number One Beach was a true highlight of my Dominica adventure. After a short walk through a magical coconut tree jungle, I came out onto a soft black sand cove, outlined by jagged cliffs, tall coconut trees, and a majestic rock archway jutting out into the sea! If I were a pirate I would totally want to be shipwrecked on this beach, and go figure, Number One Beach was a key location in Pirates of The Caribbean! Some of the small structures used in the filming were still standing and it as a film maker I was in explorer heaven!
6. Titou Gorge
Titou Gorge is a super magical place, located just at the start of the hike to the infamous Boiling Lake. You can actually swim all the way through this deep, narrow gorge that was formed as molten lava that cooled and split apart. While you are swimming to the small waterfall at the back, make sure you look up at the light rays filtering through the canopy above!
7. Wavine Cyrique
This is a true Indiana Jones adventure and not for the faint hearted! After a short hike through coconut groves I had to scale down the cliffside on a set rope ladder using twisted tree roots as safety foot holds where the rope was frayed. If you can make it down, the reward at the bottom is well worth it! An over 100ft waterfall cascades off the cliffs on to a picturesque black sand beach. If the tide and surf allows, you can stand under the waterfall for a natural spa treatment!
8. Champagne Reef
Champagne Reef is a unique diving and snorkeling site and rates among the top five snorkeling sites in the Caribbean and the Bahamas. Warm bubbles spring from the ocean floor due to volcanic activity beneath the island. The guides at Champagne Reef were hilarious and very entertaining. We had a ball swimming through ‘a glass of champagne’ alongside vibrant sea life.
9. Indian River
The Indian River was my absolute favorite experience in Dominica! Even through it is the widest river in Dominica, it looks more like a magical canal on a Disney jungle boat ride. Speaking of Disney, you can actually take a paddle boat ride from Portsmouth up the river a short distance to the REALLY cool ‘witches hut’ where they filmed Pirates of the Caribbean.
There is even a tucked away jungle bar a bit further up the river with a fun authentic Caribbean vibe. Although they say the jungle rum is a must try, I don’t drink and I was still dancing into the moonlight, jolly as can be, with a glass of fresh grapefruit juice. Check out Cobra Tours and tell Cobra the wild surfer girl from Hawaii sent you. 😉
10. Swimming with Horses
Hop on a horse and explore the nature island by in eco style! I have always dreamed of swimming on a horse through clear Caribbean waters and Rainforest Riding in Portsmouth finally made my dream come true! Contrary to popular belief, horses actually LOVE swimming and if you listen carefully to the guides instructions, you can experience a unique ride of a lifetime.
I hope you enjoy my Dominica Bucket list! If not, you can make me walk the plank … or just throw me overboard.
PS: My favorite place to stay on the island was at the Picard Beach Cottages in Portsmouth. Check them out!