hot springs

Top Things to Do in Dominica

Dominica is the youngest island of the Lesser Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean.  With its lush, mountainous rainforest and variety of a rare flora and fauna, Dominica calls itself the Nature Island of the Caribbean.  Adventure awaits those who visit the 290 square mile island.  Below are some top things to do in Dominica.

History of Dominica

But first, lets it explore its history, because that will explain why the culture leans French, but the driving is English style on the left side of the road!

Dominica was first settled by the Arawak in the 5th century.  They were later displaced by the Kalinago in the 15th century.  Christopher Columbus sailed by the island on a Sunday in 1493, and as a result called it Dominica, latin for Sunday.

The Spanish had little success colonizing Dominica.  Consequently, the French claimed it in 1632, though they did not establish a permanent settlement until 1690 when woodcutters from the neighboring French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe began harvesting trees.

The French ceded Dominica to Great Britain in 1783 under the Treaty of Paris after losing the Seven Years’ War.  For nearly the next 200 years, the British ruled Dominica until it granted the island independence in 1978. 

Despite the more recent and longer reign of the British, the culture is predominately French Creole, though Dominica’s official language is English.

asian chicken dominica

Places to Eat in Dominica

Have you worked up an appetite after hiking to Boiling Lake or SCUBA diving in Dominica.  Fear not, there are many excellent places to eat in Dominica.  The water is drinkable, the food is fresh, and there is quite a variety from local cuisine to fancy French.  Just beware that most places are closed on Sunday and Monday, so plan accordingly.

Below is a list of places to eat in Roseau that we enjoyed while visiting, some popular among the locals and some catering to the tourists.

octopus sighting while diving dominca

Diving Dominica

Dominica is one of the best places to dive in the Caribbean.  Known as the nature island of the Caribbean, Dominica features a variety of dive sites.  Its underwater topography mirrors the dramatic landscape above. Canyons, pinnacles, and steep walls of pristine corals and sponges provide homes to magnificent marine life.  Seahorses, frogfish, electric rays, eels, and turtles are just a few of the special underwater creatures found at the dive sites in Dominica.  There are even underwater hot springs!

The SCUBA diving in Dominica takes place in three marine reserves.  The marine section of Cabrits National Park is located in the north, the Salisbury Marine Reserve is on the west coast, and the Soufriere Scotts Head Marine Reserve is in the south.

boiling lake

Hike to Boiling Lake

Those who know me, know I have logged countless hours hiking from my daily, morning walks along the Northshore of Lake Grapevine, to 486 miles of the Colorado Trail, to numerous “14ers” which are all considered hard due their 14,000 feet in altitude.  The hike to Boiling Lake in Dominica, the second largest in the world, ranks as one of the most unique hikes I’ve ever completed.  It is also harder than you’d expect for a trail topping out at 3,243 feet.

After reading some reviews on AllTrails as well as a few bloggers’ descriptions, I expected to being slogging through ankle deep mud and forging knee-deep rivers like the Crested Butte to Aspen Hike in Colorado, but fortunately the hike to Boiling Lake was not that bad.

That said, with all the ups and downs, the 8.1 hike to Boiling Lake gains a decent amount of elevation along some steep 39% grades similar to hikes in Vail, Colorado.  Also, many times, the hike requires short scrambles with 3 to 4 points of contact.  Additionally hot temperatures and high humidity as well as slick terrain from daily rains can make the trek daunting, relative to most island hikes. Good shoes are a must!


Free Giveaway Just in Time for Summer Travel

I’m pleased to announce a free giveaway in conjunction with GPSMyCity, a travel app that provides offline GPS guided maps for numerous cities.

For a limited time (May 03, 2023 – May 10, 2023), you can get a free, one-year premium membership. The membership provides access to all guides and articles available within the app along with offline GPS guided maps.

Start with one of my recently published articles below or check out thousands of other guides and walking tours in the app.

It only takes a few steps to claim your free, one-year premium membership (an $18.99 value).

  1. Download the GPSMyCity app.
  2. Register for a GPSMyCity user account
  3. Go to the “More” Screen and “Feedback” to send an email with the following claim code: 24390503

Remember, you only have ONE WEEK to claim your premium membership.


Fishing in Tulum

My friend Tina and I slipped down to Tulum, Mexico for a few days to escape the cold.  During our trip, we visited some cenotes, explored the Tulum and Chichen Itza ruins, relaxed at the hotel beach, and went fishing.  Given we are not avid fishermen, we weren’t sure how much we’d like it, but it’s always fun to be on boat. Fishing in Tulum did not disappoint!


Dive Sites in St. Lucia

For my 50th birthday, I went with 8 friends to St. Lucia.  Five of us are divers, and we bought the dive package at Anse Chastenet which includes a room, all-inclusive food, and 14 dives for the week.  We didn’t get in all 14 dives, as American Airlines stranded us for a day, but we did make several.

In general, the diving for my birthday week mid-April featured a significant amount of marine life, but the visibility was mediocre and at times the currents were strong.  I’m certain both the new moon and the erupting volcano in St. Vincent. had something to do with it.


Our Stay at Anse Chastenet

My original plan for my 50th birthday was to visit Fiji in September, six months after I turned 50.  But of course, COVID interfered.  And frankly, I think I’m glad.  I had so much fun with eight friends at Anse Chastenet on St. Lucia.  Everyone meshed so well despite politics, age gaps, and extremely different backgrounds and lives.

And in honor of my celebration, the volcano on St. Vincent blew the day we were leaving! This, however, wrecked havoc on our travels, not because the ash closed the air space.  It didn’t.  But because American Airlines used it as an excuse when they had 17 airplanes called in for maintenance.

On the summit of Gros Piton

Hiking the Gros Piton in St. Lucia

For my 50th birthday, a group of friends and I visited St. Lucia for a week, minus one day, thanks to American Airlines.  While most of our trip was focused around water sports and enjoying the amazing food and accommodations at Anse Chastenet, I really wanted to hike the Gros Piton.

With the COVID outbreak in St. Lucia, the regulations consistently changed.  About a month before our arrival, the rules kept the guests from leaving the resort.  Fortunately, the restrictions lightened up, and we could be escorted from Anse Chastenet to the Gros Piton by an official driver from the property. Of course, I suspect our excursion cost a lot more than if we did it ourselves, but at least we got to take the guided hike up the Gros Piton.

Annie at Estabrook

Postcard Apps for Writing Notes from Afar

Given most of the world is in lockdown due to COVID, this is probably not the best time to write an article about postcard apps that let you mail a note with your own photo from all over the world.  At the same time, they may still be used to cheer someone up during this difficult time and for the holiday season.

When I began traveling internationally for extensive trips, I wanted an easy way to say “hello” to my friends and family back home without having to hunt for a postcard, find a post office, and get the appropriate postage.