Known as the Nature Island of the Caribbean, Dominica has long enchanted visitors with its stunning natural beauty. Unlike many of its neighboring Caribbean islands, Dominica is incredibly mountainous, lush, and totally untouched. While Dominica is just starting to come into its own as a travel hotspot in the Caribbean, its incredible landscapes, rugged shores, and dramatic scenery are featured heavily in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. These are the corners of Dominica you might recognize from the famous franchise.
Welcome to Dominica
Clear seas and pristine waters surround Dominica on every side. Located in the Lesser Antilles on the far eastern side of the Caribbean Sea, this island is still a hidden gem. Unlike its Caribbean neighbors, Dominica is free from the overdeveloped shores and throngs of crowds that make nearby islands unbearable.
A New Caribbean Travel Hotspot
Dominica is covered with tiny towns and villages along tranquil shores. Clifftop hotels and boutique resorts are in higher demand than ever as American Airlines ramps up its direct flights from the United States to cater to the increasing number of North American travelers clamoring to get to this beautiful destination.
New Caribbean Foodie Destination
Dominica is more than just gorgeous scenery and beautiful views. It’s also home to rich local history and traditions and plenty of delicious Caribbean food. Favorite dishes include saltfish accra, callaloo soup, and of course, fresh-caught seafood.
Jungle Resorts Above Rainforest Canopies
First-time visitors discover boutique resorts hidden among the hillsides of this untouched island paradise. Fan-favorite Jungle Bay is an award-winning eco-resort that uses natural materials and sustainable practices to bring guests close to the heart of the Nature Island.
The views from Jungle Bay are even more impressive than this one-of-a-kind resort – if you can believe it! Tucked between mountains and overlooking Scotts Head and the Caribbean Sea, the resort’s sixty rooms and private villas make the most of the views from every angle.
Morne Trois Pitons National Park
Morne Trois Pitons National Park is Dominica’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, but the treasures it holds are endless. Among numerous peaks and valleys, you’ll find Freshwater Lake and Boeri Lake, which feed many of the natural gems of the island, including the famous Titou Gorge that featured heavily in the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
Dominica’s Mountainous Interior
The soaring mountains of the center of Dominica make for dramatic scenery and gorgeous viewpoints that look like they’re straight out of Jurassic Park. While the nearby island of Antigua is known for having 365 beaches, Dominica is known for its 365 rivers, each more impressive than the last.
Trafalgar Falls is one of the most impressive waterfall destinations in Dominica. The twin falls plunge dramatically into a gorge below. The easy 10-minute walk to the viewing platform from the parking lot makes Trafalgar Falls an easy-to-visit destination. If you’re looking for a bit more adventure, scramble over the rocks to reach the swimming pools at their bases.
Dominica’s Hot Springs
The small town of Wotten Waven just a few minutes from Trafalgar Falls is a popular destination in Dominica for its abundance of naturally occurring hot springs. Local “spas” like Screw’s Sulphur Spa channel these mineral-rich waters into pools of different temperatures for bathers to enjoy.
Mountain Views From Every Angle
Every road cutting through the interior of the island is twistier than the next, cutting through valleys and along hillsides. However, the views on your drive are truly awe-inspiring. While it can take a while to get from one side of the island to another, the drive itself is one of the best things to do in Dominica.
The quaint fishing village of Soufriere on the south end of the island is one of Dominica’s most picturesque spots. With colorful homes and guesthouses nestled between lush mountains, Soufriere is the ultimate spot to enjoy a relaxing vacation on Dominica.
Dominica’s Volcanic Past
Soufriere is located very close to the southern tip of the island of Dominica, known as Scotts Head. This part of the island curls around an ancient volcanic crater, now submerged under the ocean waters and home to some of the most impressive dive and snorkeling sites in the Caribbean.
Soufriere Bay, Dominica
Even if you’re not an experienced or certified diver you can enjoy snorkeling directly from the beach in Soufriere. Head north towards the famous Soufriere Pinnacles for an impressive array of corals and sponges, and the dive site known as L’Abym for one of the longest underwater walls and profound dropoffs in Dominica.
Bubble Beach in Soufriere, Dominica
Don’t leave Soufriere without heading to Bubble Beach, which sits at the northern section of the bay just in front of the town’s historic church. Here visitors can spot to volcanic power of Dominica by digging their feet into the sand to feel the heat of the volcano springing forth. You’ll see streams of bubbles bursting through the water, giving the beach its name.
Caribbean Eats With A View
The last stop on your southern Dominica itinerary has to be Chez Wen, a popular local restaurant with stunning ocean views in Scotts Head. This tiny restaurant serves everything from Caribbean barbeque ribs to grilled fish and “provisions” like grilled breadfruit, plantains, and yams. The sweet potato pie is the best on the island.
Resorts in Dominica
What about the resorts in Dominica? You’ll have your pick from rainforest boutique retreats, quaint guesthouses by the sea, and sprawling oceanfront resorts. The InterContinental Dominica Cabrits Resort & Spa is one of the island’s newer resorts. Originally opened as a Kempinski hotel in 2019, it was recently acquired by IHG and is now better than ever.
Dominica’s Favorite Resorts
The InterContinental Dominica Cabrits Resort & Spa is by far one of the most luxurious resorts on the island. With a number of pools, restaurants and bars, a kids club, and an extensive spa, it has everything travelers could ask for, with picture-perfect views of neighboring Cabrits National Park to match.
The coast of Dominica is largely rugged, with few of the long, pristine beaches that draw travelers to its neighboring Caribbean islands. However, there is a fair share of great beaches in Dominica! Batibou Beach on the island’s northern coast is even considered one of the nicest beaches in the Caribbean.
Much of the island of Dominica, even near the most impressive areas of the coastline, is still untouched and wild. This was one of the biggest draws for the directors of the Pirates of the Caribbean when selecting Dominica as one of its main filming locations. It’s a secluded, natural gem that is hard to find in the Caribbean among overdevelopment and ballooning tourism.
From the territory of the Kalinago indigenous peoples of Dominica, you’ll get stunning views of the sea and the richness of the island. Trees bursting with fresh cashews, cinnamon, and tropical fruits meet freshwater rivers that plunge into the sea. Exploring the Kalinago territory with a local guide is one of the best ways to see the island from a new perspective.
Bounty of the Tropics
In the lush center of the island, you’ll find plenty of street-front markets with vendors selling just-picked tropical fruits like pineapples, bananas, passion fruit, coconuts, and more. Medicinal herbs like lemongrass are also prevalent in organic gardens and even growing wild on the island. Lemongrass is used both in cooking and for healing common ailments.
Flora and Fauna
Dominica’s lush foliage is legendary, with flowers, fruit trees, and fragrant rainforest hiding endemic species of birds and other flora and fauna sure to wow you.
A Hidden Waterfall
Dominica’s Emerald Pool is one of the most popular destinations in Dominica for visitors. Hidden in the lush center of this island, this pristine waterfall drops into a crystal-clear pool to make the perfect jungle swimming hole oasis.
Emerald Pool is easily accessible via a gravel path and staircase from the parking lot just above the gorge. Walk for 10-15 minutes before reaching the attraction’s viewing platform. A small path leads to the swimming hole, which is perfectly refreshing after a long, hot day in Dominica.
Views From Every Angle
Even the most remote corners of Dominica have incredible views of the ocean and hillsides that have made this island such an incredible adventure travel destination. Just driving around the island and taking in the views is easily one of the best things to do in Dominica.
The Island of Dominica
Even the take-off from the airport in Dominica upon your departure is an invitation to enjoy the beauty of the island. There’s no better way to take in the stunning mountains of the island of Dominica than from the air.
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.