The Commonwealth of DOMINICA is nestled between the French Islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean’s eastern Antilles. It is one of the Windward Isles, having gained full independence from the United Kingdom in 1978. Dominica is a mere 29 miles long x 16 miles wide, though it feels much larger. The currency is the East Caribbean Dollar. It is tied to the United States dollar at EC$2.70 = US$1.00. The principal language is English, though Creole is also spoken widely. Lush vegetation and indigenous forest cloak the island’s mountainous terrain, several peaks of which exceed 4,000 ft. in height, whilst 365 rivers and streams wind their way through ravines and gorges to cascade over countless waterfalls, providing the island’s cooling system and many opportunities to take a refreshing bathe in crystal clear waters. Tree ferns, orchids, heliconia and anthurium lilies decorate the forest floor whilst 175 species of birds, green iguanas, geckoes, tree lizards, aguti, manicou, beautiful butterflies and a multitude of colourful flora can be enjoyed throughout an island where nature trails abound.
The Morne Trois Pitons National Park enjoys the status of World Heritage Site and contains nature trails to many of the island’s popular attractions, such as the Emerald Pool & waterfall, the twin Trafalgar Falls, Sari Sari Falls and Victoria Falls on the White River, flowing south eastwards from the Boiling Lake. Take an all day guided hike via Titou Gorge, Breakfast River and through the Valley of Desolation to the Boiling Lake, one of the world’s largest. Visit Freshwater Lake at 2,500ft, Boerie Lake at 3,000ft, the picturesque 300ft Middleham Falls, accessed from both Laudat and Cochrane, or climb to the summit of Morne Trois Pitons (4,550ft). The forested slopes of our highest mountain, Morne Diablotin (4,747ft), protected within the Morne Diablotin National Park and the Northern Forest Reserve, provide habitat for the Sisserou and Jacquot parrots, native only to Dominica.
The Cabrits National Park is a peninsular a little north of Portsmouth, containing the well preserved remains of Fort Shirley and nature trails through ‘dry’ forest to two hilltop lookout points. For just EC$20, a guide will row you up the tranquil Indian River to a bush bar in the forest, where you may stop for refreshments before returning. Take an afternoon whale watch boat trip, go snorkelling or scuba diving – Dominica is rated among the top five dive sites in the whole of the Caribbean and is well catered for by Dive Centres scattered along the sheltered west coast, where 2 marine reserves may be found – at Scotts Head/ Soufriere Bay in the south, a sunken volcano where, in places, streams of tiny bubbles betray undersea hot springs – and Prince Edwards Bay in the north, partly bordering the Cabrits peninsular.
Our National dish is Callaloo. It is a combination of leafy vegetables such as spinach or dasheen leaves mixed with seasonings, ground provisions, smoked meat and coconut milk.
Our National flower is a wild xerophitic plant known botanically as Sabinea Carinalis commonly known as Carib Wood or Bwa Kwaibe.
Our National bird is the Sisserou Parrot (Amazona Imperalis)