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20 Best Things to Do in Dominica & Places to Visit in Dominica

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Before we get started, I’d like to clarify; these are the best things to do on Dominica, the island nation, NOT the Dominican Republic. That’s a common misconception.

This is a stunning tropical island in the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles section. And although you might happily spend a week just lazing in the sunshine, you’d be missing out.

There’s a lot more to Dominica than warm weather and palm trees. Dominica is a mountainous island with a lot of natural hot springs and rainforests.

In fact, one of its most famous sights is the Boiling Lake in Morne Trois Pitons National Park. It is the youngest island in the Lesser Antilles and still has volcanic activity.

The island is home to many different species of animals, including the endangered leatherback turtle. It is also known for its rivers, gorges, lakes, and waterfalls. The twin falls at Trafalgar Falls tumble 125 feet and 75 feet, respectively.

TL;DR

  • Most significant landmark – Old Market Square
  • Best parkMorne Trois Pitons National Park
  • Free activity – Swimming at Mero Beach
  • Activity for kids – Picnic at Devil’s Bridge
  • Activity for adults – Scuba diving at Champagne Reef
  • Place to eat – Callaloo
  • Nightlife – Warners Bar
  • Place to staySecret Bay Resort

Things to Do in Dominica & Places to Visit

1. Hike the Morne Trois Pitons National Park

Scotts Head Dominica

Address: 48 Cork St, Roseau, Dominica

The Morne Trois Pitons National Park, whose name means mountain of three peaks, is a must-see for any nature lover visiting the Caribbean island of Dominica. This 17,000-acre park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site full of lush rainforests, waterfalls, and rivers.

The hike to the summit of Morne Trois Pitons is strenuous but well worth it for the gorgeous vistas. Due to the nature of the multi-hour hike and potential danger, you should bring a guide with you. The park covers nearly one-fifth of the island and is home to an incredible array of plant and animal life.

Among the park’s many highlights are the Boiling Lake, a natural hot spring that is said to be the second-largest in the world, and the Valley of Desolation, an otherworldly landscape of volcanic craters and fumaroles. Hiking is the best way to explore the park; there are trails to suit all fitness levels.

2. Visit the Indian River

Address: Indian River, Portsmouth, Dominica

One of the best things to do in Dominica is to take a boat ride up the Indian River. This river is one of the most pristine and unspoiled rivers in the Caribbean. Plus, it’s just one of the 365 rivers on the island–that’s right, 365! The tour takes you through mangrove forests, where you might see turtles, crabs, and iguanas.

Located in the north of the island, the river winds through lush rainforest and mangroves, providing an ideal habitat for plant and animal life. Some animals you’re bound to see on a river tour are turtles, crabs, and iguanas. The Indian River is also one of the best places on the island to spot the rare red-necked parrot.

See Related: Where To Stay In Dominica

3. Go Scuba Diving

Scuba diver among fish in Dominica Island

With its clear waters and abundant marine life, Dominica is a paradise for scuba diving. There are dive sites suitable for all experience levels, from beginners to experienced divers. The best dive sites include Champagne Reef, Scott’s Head, and Soufriere Bay.

Champagne Reef is home to colorful fish and coral, while Scott’s Head offers the chance to swim through caves and tunnels. Soufriere Bay is one of Dominica’s most popular dive sites, known for its dramatic underwater cliffs and drop-offs.

4. Visit the Emerald Pool

Address: Emerald Pool Trail, Dominica

The Emerald Pool is located in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, and it gets its name from the color of the water. The water is crystal clear and surrounded by lush vegetation. This water is a temperate 70 or so degrees throughout the year, not too hot or cold.

There are several ways to get to the pool, though the favored way is to hike through the rainforest. The hike takes about 45 minutes and is of moderate difficulty. When you reach the pool, you can dip or relax on the rocks and enjoy the scenery.

You might even see turtles swimming in the water if you’re lucky. Just be sure to take caution, as the rocks can be slippery.

5. Visit the Boiling Lake

Ariel view of the boiling lake

Like the Emerald Pool, the Boiling Lake is also in Morne Trois Pitons National Park. The Boiling Lake gets its name because it is constantly bubbling and steaming due to the geothermal activity beneath it.

This lake is approximately two miles long, and it takes around two hours to hike to the lake from the nearest parking lot. While it may appear to some as an oh-so-appealing hot spring, swimming is not advisable with temperatures up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. It isn’t directly prohibited, but you really shouldn’t swim here.

6. Take a hike through the rainforest

Boeri Lake hiking track

One of the best things to do in Dominica is to hike through the rainforest. With its lush vegetation and abundant wildlife, the rainforest is truly magical. There are several hiking trails, ranging from short treks to long excursions.

Some of the best trails include the Syndicate Nature Trail, which leads to Boiling Lake, and the Morne Anglais trail, with stunning rainforest and coastal views. Hiking is a great way to explore Dominica’s natural beauty and a great workout at the same time.

7. Go whale watching

Calibishie Dominica

Fun fact: Dominica is the only country in the world where sperm whales hang out all year. That means this island has primo whale watching. The island is located in the Atlantic Ocean, which is home to other different types of whales too, including humpback and pilot whales.

Whale-watching tours depart from numerous locations around the island, typically lasting for two to three hours. During the tour, you’ll have the chance to see these majestic creatures up close and personal. You might even get the opportunity to see a whale breaching or tail slapping.

See Related: Best Whale Watching Destinations

8. Relax on the beach

Scotts Head Dominica coastline and volcanic cliffs.
Postdlf / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

No trip to Dominica would be complete without relaxing on the beach. Good thing Dominica is a beach lover’s paradise with its sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. Some of the most popular beaches on the island include Champagne Beach, known for its sparkling waters, and Sandy Point Beach, a great place to relax and soak up the sun.

You also need to check out Rosalie Bay Beach, one of the few black sand beaches in the Caribbean. If you’re looking for a more adventurous beach experience, you can try your hand at windsurfing or kitesurfing. Dominica’s trade winds make it ideal for learning how to windsurf or kitesurf.

9. Take a scenic drive

Scenic Drive in Dominica

The best way to explore Dominica is by taking a scenic drive. The whole island is only 29 miles long and 15 miles wide, so it only takes about two hours to drive all the way around it.

The island has different landscapes, from lush rainforests to rugged mountains. And with its winding roads and dramatic cliffs, Dominica is definitely a driver’s paradise.

One of the most popular routes is the Atlantic Coast Drive. This drive takes you along the island’s northern coast, offering stunning views of the coast and the rainforest.

Another favorite scenic drive is the Cross Island Drive, which takes you through the middle of the island. This drive is a bit more challenging but deserves your time for the incredible views.

10. Visit the capital city of Roseau

City of Roseau Dominica cityscape waterfront view.
DFID – UK Department for International Development / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0

One of the most important things to do in Dominica is check out the capital city of Roseau, especially if you’re visiting for the first time. This historic city is dotted with incredible 18th-century Creole architecture and dreamy cobblestone streets. Here is also where you’ll find the tropical Dominica Botanic Gardens and their resident Sisserou parrots–the oldest species of Amazon parrot.

Some of the most popular things to do in Roseau include visiting the Dominica Museum, which offers an insightful look into the island’s history, and staying at the Fort Young Hotel, a historic hotel on the waterfront. The city also has several bars and clubs to enjoy live music and dancing.

11. Go Birdwatching

Pluvialis Dominica, a bird specie from Dominica Island

The island is home to various species of birds, including the endangered Imperial parrot (also known as the Sisserou, which we mentioned previously). One of the best ways to enjoy birdwatching on the incredible nature island is through a hiking tour. A good guide will be able to point out the different flora and fauna you come across, including some of the Dominica-specific birds.

There are several places to go birdwatching on the island, but one of the best is the Morne Diablotin National Park or the Syndicate Nature Trail. Morne Diablotin is home to other bird species, like the Jaco Red-necked parrot, and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

12. See the Trafalgar Falls

Dominica Carnival Victory

Address: Paillotte Road, Dominica

One of the most iconic spots on the island is definitely the dual Trafalgar Falls. Fascinatingly, there are both hot and cold pools here to swim in if you’re up for the hike.

The best (and safest) way to see Trafalgar Falls is by taking a guided tour. These tours typically last about an hour, and they include a short hike to the falls as well as a swim in the pools at the base of the falls. If you’re looking for a more challenging hike, you can also hike to the top of the falls for some incredible views.

13. Explore the Cabrits National Park

Row of Cannons at Fort Shirley near Portsmouth, Dominica
KevinClarkArt / Adobe Stock

Address: HGPG+G8F, Portsmouth, Dominica

Cabrits National Park, on a northern peninsula of Dominica, is a 1300+ acre national park with forests, coral reefs, and wetlands to see. The park’s name, which means “goat,” was bestowed upon it because of the sailors who introduced the mammals to the island.

This park is also home to an assortment of different attractions, including the Fort Shirley historical site, the Cabrits Dive Centre, and the Caroni Bird Sanctuary. There are also other hiking trails, which range from easy to challenging.

14. Visit Fort Young Hotel & Museum

Fort Young Hotel Museum in Dominica, historic site and museum in Roseau
Fort Young Hotel & Museum / Booking.com

Address: Victoria Street, Roseau, Dominica

The Fort Young Hotel & Museum allows travelers to learn about the island’s history and culture while enjoying the beautiful surroundings. Fort Young is situated on the site of a former British fort, and the museum houses a collection of artifacts from the island’s colonial past.

Visitors can also take guided tours of the fort and its grounds. The hotel also offers rooms with ocean views and self-catering apartments. Plus, from this hotel, you’re in a prime location to enjoy everything the city of Roseau has to offer.

See Related: Cheapest Islands To Visit For Vacation

15. Kayak down the Roseau River

Kayaks in Portsmouth, Dominica
Devon Greenaway / Viator

The Roseau River is one of Dominica Island’s most popular kayaking destinations. The river winds through the jungle, and the kayak trip takes about two hours. Travelers can also spot iconic Caribbean flora and fauna, including monkeys, sloths, and turtles.

The trip ends at a waterfall, where kayakers can cool off with a swim. Despite its popularity, the Roseau River is relatively unknown outside Dominica Island. That’s because it’s located in a remote corner of the Caribbean, and getting it is not easy.

An experienced guide is not necessary but is recommended for first-time kayakers. With its beautiful scenery and variety of wildlife, the Roseau River is a must-see for any traveler to Dominica Island. Check prices on Viator for a private kayaking tour and book in advance to secure your journey.

16. Visit Portsmouth

Boats parked at Portsmouth harbor in Dominica Islanders

Portsmouth is a small town located on the northern coast of Dominica Island. The town is home to several shops and restaurants, as well as a few historical landmarks. One of the most popular attractions in Portsmouth is the Fort Shirley historical site.

This is also where you’ll find the aforementioned Cabrits National Park, where the Waitukubuli National Trail ends. If you make a day trip out of a visit, it’s about an hour outside of Roseau.

17. Zipline through the rainforest canopy

man on a zip line on top of trees

For an adventurous visitor, look no further than a Canopy Zipline Tour on Dominica. This tour takes travelers on a zipline through the rainforest canopy, providing them with striking scenes of the jungle below. Honestly, a rainforest zipline tour may be one of the most exhilarating and breathtaking things you ever do–especially if you’re generally risk averse as I am.

This tour includes ten zip lines, a suspension bridge, and a rappelling platform. The Canopy Zipline Tour is located in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park.

18. Relax at Secret Bay

An aerial view of SecretBay

Address: GGWG+6X5, Ross Blvd, Portsmouth, Dominica

Secret Bay is an incredible, secluded beach resort on Dominica Island’s northern coast. This hotel celebrates everything the island represents, plus allows access to a stunning bay.

Villas at Secret Bay allow for even more privacy for folks who truly want to disconnect from the world. There’s a good reason this hotel has frequently been ranked one of the best in the Caribbean.

When you aren’t ready to say goodbye to nearby Tibay Beach yet, views from the resort’s Zing Zing restaurant are what you’ll need. The restaurant serves a more simple Island Harvest menu for lunch and a four-course menu for dinner.

19. Dominica Botanic Gardens

Palm Tree at Dominica Botanic Gardens
Studio f20 / Adobe Stock

Address: 8J29+F6W, Bath Rd, Roseau, Dominica

Dominica Botanic Garden is one of the Caribbean’s oldest and most biodiverse gardens. It was established in 1825 by British physician and botanist John Crowder, who was curious about the region’s plants. Today, the garden covers more than 30 acres and contains more than 5,000 species of plants.

Visitors can stroll along winding paths and enjoy the sights and smells of tropical flowers, fruits, and trees. The botanical gardens are also home to multiple endangered species, including the red-necked parrot and the blue-tailed skink.

20. Titou Gorge

People Swimming Through Titou Gorge

Address: 8MHG+M8J, Laudat, Dominica

Titou Gorge is a hike to another of Dominica’s waterfalls. To be fair, the hike is more of a swim than a proper hike. From here, you can see the gorge’s various “rooms” that are actually naturally carved cliff walls.

The gorge features a series of waterfalls and natural pools that are perfect for swimming and relaxing. There are also hot springs to enjoy while you’re here.

Visitors can also hike to the top of the waterfall for an outstanding view of the surrounding jungle. Titou Gorge is accessible by car, and multiple tour companies offer guided tours of the area.

How to Get to Dominica Island

The Town of Roseau, Dominica
napa74 / Adobe Stock

Dominica is a small island in the Caribbean Sea known for its dramatic landscape and unspoiled natural beauty. While it can be challenging to get to Dominica, the effort is well worth it. There are two main ways to get to the island: by plane or boat ride.

To get great deals on flights directly to your inbox, we recommend using Going. It’s the largest cheap flight alert website out there. Use our promo code VIA20 for 20% off a premium membership. Otherwise, you can claim your free trial to test the alerts out.

The nearest major airport is in Martinique, about a 45-minute flight from Dominica. Alternatively, there are several ferry services that operate between Dominica and nearby islands, such as Guadeloupe and Antigua.

Travelers should note that some ferries only operate on certain days of the week, so it is important to check schedules in advance. Regardless of how you travel, Dominica is an unforgettable destination that should not be missed.

Best Time to Visit Dominica Island

Rosseau, Dominica
dbvirago / Adobe Stock

Dominica features a tropical climate, so the best time to visit is during the dry season, from January to April. Remember that prices and crowds will be higher during this time.

The wet season runs from May to December, and while there are some advantages – such as lower prices and smaller crowds – this is also the hurricane season. Travelers should take care of visiting Dominica during this time and consider purchasing travel insurance.

We recommend SafetyWing for affordable insurance or using TravelInsurance.com if you’d like to compare rates from multiple insurance providers.

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