After winning a flurry of travel awards in 2023, this is for sure: it is time for Dominica‘s moment in the sun as a bonafide travel hotspot in the Caribbean.
Known as the Nature Island, this untouched, mountainous island is one of the few remaining destinations in the Caribbean to enjoy a laid-back, local tranquility, free from the overdevelopment of neighboring islands.
Planning your trip to Dominica? This Dominica itinerary will help you enjoy the very best of this adventure travel hotspot. Mix days at the island’s hidden beaches with swimming through freshwater gorges, encounters with wildlife, and some of the best diving on Earth for an unforgettable trip to Dominica. We’ll show you how.
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Sure, Dominica is a great place to kick back and relax with a drink in hand. However, if you’re looking forward to all the adventurous things to do in Dominica, you’ll need a comprehensive Dominica itinerary.
While the island isn’t huge, its rugged mountains mean that transportation across the island takes a while, so you’ll want to plan your days geographically to make the most of your time. Here’s an outline for a perfect four-day Dominica itinerary:
- Day One: Explore the Island’s Interior
- Day Two: Visit Dominica’s Waterfalls
- Day Three: Scuba / Snorkeling Excursions
- Day Four: Hit the Beaches
Below we outline the specific things to see and do on each day of your Dominica itinerary. Plus, check out our Dominica hotel and resort recommendations and guidance on how to get from place to place.
How Many Days Do I Need for Dominica?
Dominica is an incredibly diverse, rich tropical island with everything from hiking trails and reefs to lakes and gorges. With so many things to see and do in Dominica, you’ll need a few days to explore all the island has to offer.
With at least 4 days in Dominica, you’ll be able to get a good feel for the island. However, you can easily spend at least a week in Dominica without getting bored – consider spending a full week here if your Dominica itinerary allows for it!
Which Month is the Best for Dominica?
Most travelers visit Dominica between December and April, during the drier months that coincide with winter for many North American travelers. May and June compose a lovely shoulder season for travel, while July through November are the wetter months that pose a higher risk of tropical storms.
We traveled to Dominica in May, and it was an ideal time to enjoy the island. The busier tourist season had passed, cruise ships were done taking over Roseau, and the island generally had a laid-back, uncrowded feel. If you can plan a visit for May, I’d recommend it!
4 Days in Dominica
Day One: Island Adventures
Enjoy Sunrise Yoga
There’s no better way to kick off your Dominica itinerary than with sunrise yoga with a view over the lush mountains and the Caribbean Sea from Jungle Bay. Tucked away on a hillside above the fishing village of Soufriere, Jungle Bay is one of the most impressive resorts in Dominica.
Jungle Bay offers sunrise and sunset yoga classes from its two yoga pavilions, as well as a number of different excursions, guided hikes, and activities for guests looking to explore the island. Or, start the morning with coffee overlooking one of the resort’s two pools, both of which boast spectacular mountain views.
Jungle Bay is the perfect mix of luxury, seclusion, and connection to the heart of the Nature Island. Staying at Jungle Bay was a highlight of a trip to Dominica – I couldn’t recommend it more wholeheartedly!
Looking for something more simple? Check out the guest houses located in Soufriere, located just below Jungle Bay. While you won’t find tons of amenities at the guesthouses and rentals in Soufriere, the town is incredibly charming, and it’s the perfect spot from which to explore the south of the island.
Read More: Jungle Bay Dominica: Hotel Review
Swim in Titou Gorge
After starting the morning at Jungle Bay, head directly to Titou Gorge to avoid the crowds later in the day. Well known for being a prominent filming location for the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Titou Gorge is a dramatic slot canyon with a refreshing river running through it.
You’ll start your excursion by venturing into the gorge, where you’ll swim for about 15 minutes before reaching a plunging waterfall at the end of the gorge. Take photos, use goggles to check out the deep underwater walls of the canyon, and enjoy the beauty of this natural wonder. I was much more impressed by Titou Gorge than I expected!
When you arrive you’ll find a number of guides at the entrance waiting to escort visitors through the gorge. While using a guide isn’t mandatory, I’d recommend it for first-time visitors, especially those that aren’t strong swimmers. There aren’t significant currents to speak of running through the gorge, but life jackets are required, and a guide can advise you where to swim.
If you’re looking for more adventure, head to Extreme Dominica for canyoning down a lower section of the gorge.
Never heard of canyoning? It involves repelling down a series of waterfalls and trekking through the river! It’s a thrill that adventure seekers will love, and it’s one of the most popular things to do in Dominica. Add canyoning to your Dominica itinerary for an unforgettable adventure.
Hike Around Freshwater Lake
One of the most impressive gems in the interior of the island of Dominica, Freshwater Lake is a. Snuggled among forested mountains that barely peak through the clouds, this stunning lake was an unexpected highlight on our Dominica itinerary.
Freshwater Lake has a popular loop trail around its shores, which is the best way to see the lake and appreciate the mountainous surroundings of this impressive area of the island’s interior. The loop generally takes around 1.5 hours to complete and is generally considered easy to moderately difficult.
After hiking around the lake, stop back at the small rental shop and restaurant for a hibiscus tea or cold Kubuli beer. If you still have energy, take kayaks out onto the lake.
Kayaking around Freshwater Lake was a fantastic way to take in the beauty of the lake, even after enjoying the views along the hiking trail. It’s a top recommendation for your Dominica itinerary.
Visit the Wotten Waven Hot Springs
While the entire island of Dominica is highly volcanic, seven of the island’s nine volcanoes are located in the south of the island.
This means that most of Dominica’s most popular natural hot springs are just a few minutes’ drive from popular spots like Freshwater Lake, Titou Gorge, and the island’s most impressive waterfalls. Visiting at least one hot spring is a must on your Dominica itinerary!
The town of Wotten Waven, just twenty minutes from Freshwater Lake, is the hot springs capital of the island. You’ll find a number of local “spas” that channel the hot springs into pools of different temperatures and offer different treatments like natural mud baths.
We stopped at Screw’s Sulphur Spa at the close of the day and had an incredible experience bathing in the springs. This is a local favorite that visitors will also love.
Make sure to try the natural mineral-rich mud treatment included with your entry. Use the mud to exfoliate and let it dry before rinsing in the river. My skin has never felt so soft after a spa treatment as it did after visiting Screw’s!
Day Two: Dominica’s Waterfalls
Hike to Middleham Falls
Spend the second day of your Dominica itinerary enjoying much of the same area you explored on your first day on the island. The mountainous center of the island is home to so many impressive gems that just one day doesn’t do it justice.
Start the day with the hike to Middleham Falls, one of the island’s most impressive waterfalls. While Middleham Falls aren’t as famous or well-known as Trafalgar Falls, it’s perhaps even more impressive. Middleham Falls is the island’s tallest waterfall and has a stunning swimming hole at the bottom.
The hike to the falls is considered of moderate difficulty, though you shouldn’t have any issues if you’re relatively physically fit. The out-and-back trail is about three miles in total and generally takes a little over an hour each way. There are bathrooms and a small pavilion at the start of this well-defined hiking
Make sure to bring your bathing suit and a towel to reward yourself with a refreshing swim at the end of the hike. Tevas or other water shoes like Chacos are perfect for this hike, as they are at almost every adventurous spot you’ll visit in Dominica. If you have yet to jump on the Tevas train, Dominica will give you the push you need – I didn’t take them off for the duration of my trip.
Eat at River Rock Cafe & Bar
Before heading on to nearby Trafalgar Falls, stop for lunch at River Rock Cafe & Bar. Located just down the river from Trafalgar Falls, you’ll get a sneak peek of this famous destination in Dominica as you arrive. Plus, the river and mountain views from the restaurant’s patio are truly stunning.
As impressive as the views are from the restaurant, the food is even better. Dishes are basic but packed with flavor, with the choice of goat, shrimp, fish, or chicken in delicious local sauce, with sides of rice, lentils, salad, and “provisions,” which consist of cooked plantains, yams, and baked breadfruit.
Pair lunch with a cold Kubuli beer, which is the local Dominican brand, or a peanut rum punch. Be warned that the rum punch is strong here, but it’s a local favorite.
River Rock Cafe & Bar was one of my favorite places to eat on the island by far, so make sure to add it to your Dominica itinerary. Affordable local spots like this had some of the most delicious and authentic Caribbean meals I’ve ever tried. Dominica might even be the next Caribbean island destination for foodies.
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Visit Trafalgar Falls
Just a quick 10-minute walk from the parking lot, Trafalgar Falls is perhaps the most easily-accessible large waterfall in Dominica, making it a must-visit spot on your Dominica itinerary.
These twin waterfalls cut a dramatic path through the rainforest before dropping into a deep riverbed, making them extremely dramatic. After reaching the viewing platform near the falls, you can maneuver among the boulders in the riverbed to reach the base of the falls where you’ll find natural pools for swimming.
Despite the area’s popularity, we didn’t find it too crowded and saw few other visitors while there, even though a ship was in port at Roseau for the day. It was a beautiful spot and one of the highlights of our trip to Dominica.
At the entrance to the falls, you’ll find a small restaurant and pavilion, a number of souvenir vendors, and bathrooms and changing rooms. Make sure to bring your swimsuit if you want to swim under the falls and water shoes like Tevas to navigate among the rocks and water. If you don’t want to swim, sneakers or even sandals are fine for the easy walk to the viewing platform.
Day Three: Dominica Beneath the Waves
Scuba Dive in Soufriere
You can’t visit the island of Dominica without getting in some scuba diving. Dominica is well-known for being one of the best destinations for scuba diving in the world – even the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) says so!
The small fishing village of Soufriere is one of the best spots for diving on the island, offering a number of impressive destinations nearby. Scotts Head Pinnacles sits just across the bay from Soufriere, while the famous miles-long wall known as L’Abym is just around the point from town.
Nature Island Dive in Soufriere is one of the best dive companies on the island offering scuba diving and snorkeling excursions to nearby dive sites. They take into account both the conditions of the water and the experience level of the diver and guide you to the best nearby spots. Guides also participate in coral restoration projects in Dominica.
If you’re not yet certified to scuba dive, consider visiting the island to get your certification. While this is a process that takes a few days of effort, Dominica is one of the more affordable options for travelers looking to get their PADI certifications. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to give diving a try for the first time among such gorgeous reefs.
Read More: 20 Best Things To Do in Dominica
Lunch at Chez Wen
After working up an appetite from your dive, head to Chez Wen near Scotts Head for one of the best meals you’ll enjoy in Dominica. This oceanfront local eatery is simple but has outstanding, authentically Dominican food.
Go for the grilled mahi mahi or the ribs, which are local favorites here, as are sides like baked breadfruit, turmeric rice, and sweet potato pie. However, you really can’t go wrong with anything you order here.
After an extensive and laborious search, Chez Wen also proved to have the most delicious coconut rum punch that we tried in Dominica. Make sure to save space for this – it wasn’t overly strong, and other flavors are available as well.
Visit Bubble Beach Spa and Snorkel Soufriere Pinnacles
After a lazy lunch near Scotts Head, head back to Soufriere to enjoy the resort of the day in this picturesque town. Whether that looks like getting back out on the water or relaxing island-style on the shore, you’ll have plenty of options for how to enjoy your afternoon in Soufriere.
Make sure to visit the Bubble Beach Spa while you’re in town. Located on the northern edge of the bay in front of the old church, this beachfront area has a naturally occurring hot spring to bathe in by the water’s edge.
Be careful – the water gets hot in the springs here! You’ll see streams of bubbles springing through the water from below the sand, showing that the volcanic power of the island is very much alive. Dig your feet in the sand and you’ll see just how hot this water could get.
If you’re looking for more time on the water, take out snorkeling gear and explore the bay from the beach. The Soufriere Pinnacles is a snorkel-accessible spot also popular with divers and is known for having some of the best snorkeling in the entire Caribbean. Alternatively, rent a kayak from Soufriere Outdoor Centre and explore the bay.
While visitors could spend a week just on the south end of the island of Dominica and still have more to see, if you only have 4 days in Dominica you’ll want to move to another resort on the north side of the island for easier access to all this rugged section of the island has to offer.
Grab your bags and head to InterContinental Dominica Cabrits Resort & Spa to enjoy your next few nights in Dominica. The InterContinental is the largest resort in Dominica and feels much more like a classic Caribbean resort than the rest of the accommodations you’ll find on the island, with expansive swimming pools, a kids club, and an impressive spa all just steps from the ocean.
If you’d prefer to stay somewhere with a bit more of a local feel, consider heading to the beach town of Calibishie, where you’ll find plenty of friendly guesthouses and smaller hotels near the sand and in the hills. Jacoway Inn is a simple but lovely option, one of the best in Calibishie.
Read More: 10 Best Hotels in Dominica
Day Four: Dominica’s Northern Gems
Hit the Beaches
The northern coast of Dominica is home to some of the best beaches in Dominica. While Dominica isn’t a beach destination in the way that Caribbean islands like Antigua and The Bahamas are, it has its fair share of beaches with golden or even enchanting black sand. Beaches tend to be hidden or little-visited coves, which adds to their appeal.
One of the must-visit beaches on Dominica is Batibou Beach, by far the island’s nicest beach. A long stretch of pristine sand in a protected bay makes this one of the most popular beaches on the island, and a local restaurant on the beachfront also draws visitors. Baitbou Beach is one of the most unique beaches to be considered among the best beaches in the Caribbean.
Other favorite beaches in the area include Pointe Baptiste with its stunning red rocks, the beachfront in the village of Calibishie, and the black sand Number One Beach. Also known as Hampstead Beach, this beach was featured in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
Read More: 10 Best Beaches in Dominica
Stop at the Farmacy
On your way to your next stop at the Emerald Pool, make sure to stop off at The Farmacy. This roadside fruit stand and bush bar sells the island’s freshest fruits as well as Dominica’s classic “bush rum.” Choose from a number of flavors including vanilla and peanut to mix with juice or drink straight.
The owner of the Farmacy also roasts his own coffee and has a small organic garden behind the store where he grows everything from limes and coconuts to medicinal herbs.
Swim at the Emerald Pool
Head a few miles south from the beaches on Dominica’s northern coasts to visit the island’s Emerald Pool. If you’ve ever dreamed of swimming under a waterfall in the jungle, this is the place you’ve been dreaming of.
Hidden away among the island’s lush rainforest, this plunging waterfall and tranquil pool are perfect for a cooling swim after a hot afternoon under the Caribbean sun. This is a favorite destination in Dominica, however, it never seems to be crowded. We enjoyed the Emerald Pool all to ourselves for the majority of our visit.
Emerald Pool is quite easily accessible, another reason for its popularity. Though you’ll need to walk downhill for about 15 minutes from the parking area and welcome center, the path is well-defined with gravel, steps, and handrails. You’ll find a large viewing platform at the base of the waterfall, so while most visitors choose to swim, you can enjoy the scenery from here if you’d prefer.
Visiting Emerald Pool was one of my favorite things to do in Dominica. The lush rainforest surrounding this tranquil swimming hole makes this special destination feel like the ultimate forest oasis.
Dinner at Keepin’ It Real
Head to Toucari Beach in Portsmouth for dinner at Keepin’ It Real, yet another of the incredible local restaurants that we experienced on our trip to Dominica. We arrived too late to see the sunset, though with the oceanfront view, I imagine this must be one of the most impressive spots on the island for a happy hour drink.
Order local favorites like octopus or grilled fish and shrimp. These delicious plates come with all the fixings, including rice, lentils, salad, and local “provisions” of fried plantains, yams, and breadfruit. Keepin’ It Real also has delicious lime and passion fruit rum punch, but be warned – they’re strong!
Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual New York-based travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Explorers Away and Home to Havana. Carley is an expert on all things Latin America, the Caribbean, and Cuba, having lived and worked in four different countries in the region. Her writing has appeared on the Associated Press wires and in Travel + Leisure, Yahoo, MSN, Euronews, The Weather Channel, and more. When she's not writing about her travels, find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.