No, I have nothing against the Dominican Republic but so many people are unaware that the beautiful unspoiled small island of Dominica exists. Dominica sits between the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. If you are cruising on one of the smaller ships Dominica is a sweet stop I would highlight recommend. This is not the day to stay on the ship while in port so you can catch up on your reading, or get the special offered by the spa, this is definitely a day you want to get out of your comfort zone and enjoy. The ship will have guided tours to different locations, natural springs, waterfalls, and some different popular destinations. But you will do just as well linking up with one of the local drivers that are posted outside the port waiting for customers.
Yes I know the ship advises against local tours, warns you about safety, and tells you that local drivers are not a guarantee that you will return to the ship on time, but I have never had a local make me miss my time back on the ship on any island. They also give you a real taste of the island, how the people really live, and show you the side of travel that cruise ship tours avoid.
Dominica is very mountainous, the roads are steep and curvy, many times I sat wide eyed and watched as we hit a curve as a pedestrian was also turning a corner of that same curve. The climate is very tropical and lush vegetation surrounds you. Visit the Dominica Botanical Gardens and hear the birds, see the trees, smell the flowers, and as you pass other travelers and citizens everyone waves and smiles. This was the experience everywhere, friendly people, asking where you were from, discussing relatives that lived close, commenting on what they love about the US and simply welcoming you to enjoy their island.
A nature hike at Morne Trois Pitons National Park is a must, and don’t be alarmed if the driver stops at a location that looks isolated, simply get out and follow them, I promise you wherever the final destination is will be breathtaking. Visit Trafalgar Falls, depending on the day it may be very crowded but it is worth the trip. Make sure you have a good poncho, a good paid of non-slick shoes and a change of clothes because you will be soaked. Just roll with it and enjoy the mist kissing your face, don’t worry about your hair or getting the perfect shot, you will miss the beauty of the falls. Ladies, I do recall some very handsome and friendly police officers providing assistance, smile and chat them up but do not give them your phone number, you have been warned. This is a great place to grab lunch, I found a granny cooking fish and rice and peas and enjoyed a quick flavorful plate of food. Don’t be alarmed if you see cats, give them some food or shoo them away, they are harmless.
If you have time I do recommend visiting one of the sulfur spas, your driver may try to take you to a different location but I enjoyed Screws. I myself was hesitant at first because I feared having an allergic reaction to the sulfur. I am famous for catching a rash or a virus while traveling and I did not want to tempt fate, but I survived after being forced to “get in and get some natural healing” and I am so glad I did. Yes sulfur smells like sulfur, but after about 2 minutes you simply forget. Sulfur most definitely has healing properties, and the warmth embraces you. In those moments you feel your muscles loosen up, and your skin tingle in a good way. If I was going to have an allergic reaction it was welcomed after this experience, and to think I almost refused.
I have very few pictures in Dominica, this was one of the few times where I enjoyed the amazement of nature without feeling the need to document it for the world to see. On your way back to the ship make sure you check out some of the handmade treasures being sold. Don’t try to talk a granny down on her handmade goods, pay a little extra and respect her craft. Dominica is an island I plan to visit again so I can spend a few days learning about the rich history of the island while exploring its museums and other natural wonders.
Wishing you all wet faces and sulfur scented skin as you savor the sweetness of the unspoiled Caribbean island of Dominica! Nyri Un~Nerved