9 Easy-To-Do Activities in Dominica

Easy activities in Dominica

First off, let me say that “easy” does not mean less fun! Dominica is well known as the Nature Island, and to some visitors, thoughts of long, arduous hikes are what come to mind. Well, we do have many of those, but we are also happy to offer numerous easy activities in Dominica for folks who want a low impact vacation.

So if you’re in Dominica for a few days and you’re interested in enjoying a laid back holiday, these nine activities are perfect for you 🙂

1Explore the Roseau Market

This busy, riverfront farmers market is the best place to get fresh produce (vegetables, spices, etc), local meat, traditional meals, hand crafted souvenirs and a host of other items. The Roseau Market also doubles as an open air supermarket and you’ll find all variety of local manufactured items available for sale.

Cost: Access to the Roseau Market is free

When to go: The Market is open throughout the week but comes alive on a Saturday morning

How to get there: Travel North along the Dame Eugenia Charles Blvd, past the ferry terminal and you’ll enter the Roseau Market soon after.

2Swim with the bubbles at Champagne Reef

Champagne Reef is one of Dominica’s premier diving sites and has been rated as one of the best snorkeling locations in the Caribbean. The area was given its name because of the underwater geothermal springs that release gases into the water. These hot gases form thousands of small bubbles which give you the feeling of swimming in a large glass of champagne!

Cost: Varies depending on the tour operators. US $12 to rent snorkel and fins at Champagne Reef

When to go: Year-round, but the best times are between December and May

How to get there: Champagne Beach is 20 minutes south of the capital, Roseau. Just follow the main road through the villages of Newtown, Loubiere and Pointe Michel.

3Stand on the edge of the world at Scotts Head

From the very top of Cachacrou, you’ll have a breathtaking view of the village and the surroundings © 2016 Yuri A. Jones

Scotts Head is a vibrant fishing village to the south of Dominica. It overlooks the Soufriere Bay which is protected as the Soufriere Scotts Head Marine Reserve. To get the best views, you’ll need to walk up the hill, via a worn footpath. The trek is short, but somewhat dangerous, as loose pebbles may cause you to lose your footing. In less than 15 minutes you’ll have a 360 degree view which includes the village, the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

Cost: Access to Scotts Head is free

When to go: Year-round

How to get there: Scotts Head is approximately 1 hour south of the capital, Roseau. Just follow the main road through the villages of Loubiere, Pointe Michel and Soufriere.

4Go Bird-watching along the Syndicate Nature Trail

Top: a bird waiting for his share as we ate at the visitors center; Middle: many farmers along the Syndicate route grow coffee beans like these; Bottom: the Gommier tree are giants of the rain forests and can grow to 120 feet tall © 2016 Yuri A. Jones

Syndicate Nature Trail is a part of the national park known as the Syndicate Preserve and sits at the bottom of Dominica’s tallest mountain, Morne Diablotin. Home to our national bird and its cousin (the Sisserou and Jaco parrots), the one mile loop trail is an easy hike through the rain forest which provides a diverse sample of Dominica’s flora and fauna, including 51 species of birds.

Cost: Non-residents require a site pass (US $5 or US $12 for a week long pass); Free for residents

When to go: Year-round, but be mindful of the weather and the trail gets muddy during and after heavy rainfall

How to get there: Drive north along the West Coast Highway until you get to a Syndicate Nature Trail sign after the village of Dublanc. Take a right onto a narrow farm road and continue driving (approx 5 miles) until you get to the visitor center.

5Surround yourself with history at the Cabrits

Top: this is one of the signs located along the trail at the Cabrits; Middle: remains of the English garrison, this is the Commandant’s Quarters; Bottom left: the main corridor at the Cabrits trails; Bottom right: a half-buried cannon along the East wall at the Cabrits. © 2017 Yuri A. Jones

The Cabrits National Park sits on Dominica’s northern-most peninsula and protects tropical forests, coral reefs and wetlands. The main attraction at that site is the beautifully restored Fort Shirley, which was the headquarters and main defense post of the British army garrison in Dominica. However, if you’d like, you could explore the less-visited trails and structures that surround the main fort.

Cost: Non-residents require a site pass (US $5 or US $12 for a week long pass); Free for residents

When to go: Year-round, but be mindful of the weather and the trails gets muddy during and after heavy rainfall

How to get there: Drive north along the West Coast Highway until you get to the roundabout just beyond the Purple Turtle Beach at Portsmouth. Keep driving North (that means staying left) and you’ll get to a reception area with a parking lot. You’ll then have to walk up a cobblestone roadway to get to Fort Shirley.

6Float Up the Indian River

The Indian River is Dominica’s mini-Amazon. It is our widest river, teeming with life and lies in a coastal wetland dominated by the spectacular buttressed Bwa Mang trees. Boatmen in hand-oared river boats will take you up slow-moving river at a leisurely pace, so that you can appreciate the the many types of flora and fauna along the swampy river bank. This river ride and the local bar found upstream were featured in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and the round trip can last anywhere from 1 1/2 to 5 hours.

Cost: Non-residents require a site pass as the river is part of a national park; both residents and non-residents must hire a boatman or tour guide in an oared boat. Their prices range from US $20-$40 per head. KHATTS offers a Cabrits National Park and Indian River tour for US $65 per person.

When to go: Year-round

How to get there: Drive north along the West Coast Highway to the town of Portsmouth. You’ll find the river mouth in between the settlement of Glanvillia and downtown Portsmouth.

7Look up at twin waterfalls at Trafalgar

Trafalgar Falls is one of Dominica’s most visited sites and is located at the edge of the village of Trafalgar. A pleasant, 10 minute walk takes one from the visitors center to a view platform with a panoramic view of the twin falls. Affectionately known as “Father Falls” (on the left) and “Mother Falls” (on the right), they plunge approximately 125 ft and 75 ft respectively.

Cost: Non-residents require a site pass (US $5 or US $12 for a week long pass); Free for residents

When to go: Year-round

How to get there: The drive from Roseau to Trafalgar last approximately 20 minutes. Leave Roseau via Valley Road (going East) and drive through the neighborhoods of Bath Estate and Silver Lake. At the first fork in the road, keep to your left and drive past the village of Fond Canie. At the next fork in the road, simply follow the signs, keep right and drive through the neighborhood of Shawford. From then on, stick to the main road and you’ll drive through Trafalgar and eventually get to the falls.

8Walk through a 4-acre garden at Papillote

Top left: this White Bat Flower is one of only two in Dominica, the other one live at Papillote as well; Top right: a bed of Anthuriums adorns the path in the garden; Middle left: this concrete path leads to the lower section of the garden and L’iviere Seyo; Middle right: Damsel Falls is usually just a trickle and got its name for the couple who lived below it and died in a rock slide; Bottom left: this is one of three pools at Papillote. Don’t let its color fool you though, it is not sulfur, but it is warm; Bottom right: Ginger Lilies are found throughout the Papillote gardens

Papillote Wilderness Retreat is Dominica’s first eco-inn and was established in 1969. The hotel is well known for its 4-acre botanic gardens, curated by proprietor Anne Jno Baptiste. Over the last 45 years, Anne has traveled the world in search of unique plants to replant and nurture at Papillote. As a result, she now has dozens of species on display and takes visitors on tours of the property. Surrounded by such beauty and strolling along at your own pace, one could easily spend hours exploring Papillote.

Cost: There’s no charge to enter Papillote, but the cost of each service varies. A guided tour of the gardens costs US $10. Or you could take advantage of their Interlude for a Day, which includes a guided tour, lunch and access to the pools and waterfall all for the charge of US $65.

When to go: The eco-inn closes its doors for about month at the end of the Summer, to complete renovations and prepare for the high tourist season in October

How to get there: Follow the same directions as given for Trafalgar Falls above and you’ll get to Papillote (near the hydro power station) just before you climb the hill to enter the Trafalgar Falls visitors center.

9Fall asleep in a sulfur pool at Tia’s

After three days of fun but slow-paced activities, the best thing you can do is soak in a sulfur pool. Entrepreneurs in the village of Wotten Waven offer this amenity in various ways, and we’ve highlighted Tia’s Hot Spa in this article. He offers bar and restaurant services, public and private sulfur pools, and he even rents bamboo cottages on the property. A sulfur bath will cleanse your skin and soothe your soul. It’s one of those “must do” activities in Dominica.

Cost: EC $10 gets you a bath in a public pool for as long as you like. There are two private pools available and a bath in one of these costs EC $10 per half hour.

When to go: Tia usually closes the spa during the summer for a month or so. He uses the time to do repairs and upgrades on the property.

How to get there: Leave Roseau via Valley Road, heading east into the Roseau Valley. Drive through the neighborhoods of Bath Estate and Silver Lake. When you get to the first fork in the road, take a right and head down into the neighborhood of Copthall. Drive through Copthall, keep on the main road and you will eventually get to Wotten Waven. Tia’s Hot Spa is the first group of structures in the village proper, and many signs will tell you so.

9 Easy Activities in DominicaSumming Up

These nine things-to-do aren’t the only easy activities in Dominica. I’m sure I can find nine more, so look out for a future blog post with a similar title! However, this article is a good place to start if you’d like to book a relaxing, low impact vacation.

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