Things to do in Dominica: Cold Soufriere

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Main feature: Sulfur Pools
Difficulty: Easy
Cost to enter: Free

Cold Soufriere, Dominica

The name Cold Soufriere says all that you need to know about this little-known natural attraction. Imagine the hot springs at the Soufriere Sulfur Springs, only much colder!

Yes, these sulfur springs come with the same smell of rotten egg and bubbling pools of water, but the water (or in some cases, a tan, clay-like substance) is cold to the touch.

Where is Cold Soufriere?

Cold Soufriere is located in the collapsed volcanic crater of Morne Aux Diables (roughly translated as Devil’s Mountain), in the far north of Dominica. It is clearly marked and located along the Northern Link road on the way to Pennville.

The drive from Roseau to Cold Soufriere is no more than 90 minutes long. Simply drive up the West Coast Highway, through Portsmouth and take a right at the roundabout near Purple Turtle Beach. Then follow the main road (which turns into the Northern Link Road) until you get to a wide open clearing and a sign which bears the name Cold Soufriere.

 

Along the way you’ll have an opportunity to see Portsmouth and The Cabrits from a distance. What a beautiful sight! You’ll also be able to see Marie Galante on a clear day. This was our view along the link road:

Cold Soufriere, Dominica
Marie Galante or Guadeloupe…? I can’t tell. Either way, these are our French neighbors to the north. © 2017 Yuri A. Jones

On Location

A short (but steep) drive from this viewpoint, is the crater of Morne Aux Diables and our destination, Cold Soufriere. We descended into an open plain, surrounded by mountains covered in green vegetation, without the faintest idea that we were actually driving through a volcano!

The walk to the site is approximately 15 minutes long. We trekked through woodland vegetation and observed swamp-like vegetation as we got closer to the bubbling pools.

Tidbit: the pools are bubbling but aren’t hot because the magma that usual heats these pools is too far below the Earth’s crust for the heat to carry to the surface. However, sulfur and other gases are escaping through these vents, causing the pools to bubble up!

Cold Soufriere, Dominica
As you can see, this pool is bubbling, but it’s actually cold! © 2016 Yuri A. Jones

Cold Soufriere itself is an area of exposed rock surrounded by a dense forest of Kaklen trees (their roots are above the ground, and reminiscent of Mangrove trees.)

This is what the terrain looks like at Cold Soufriere:

Cold Soufriere, Dominica
The terrain is a mix between sulfur stained rocks and a mat of soggy grass surrounding the pools. © 2016 Yuri A. Jones

Tip: The clay-like substance found in the pools is infused with sulfur and other minerals and is said to be good for the skin. Folks regularly paste in on their faces, like a mask.

Summing Up

When you get there, go ahead and explore a bit. Follow the stream that leads north and you’ll find more bubbling pools and a lot of that healthy clay substance.

Be safe though! The rocks may be lose and the ground is quite soft.

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