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Cruise Diva Goes Ashore in the Caribbean
Sights to see & things to do


The largest of the windward islands of the Caribbean, Dominica is also one of the most unspoiled. The very real pleasures here are simple: swimming, hiking, biking, bird watching, diving, and taking in the spectacle of the tropical rainforest and waterfalls. Aside from its natural beauty, Dominica is an interesting blend of British, French and West Indian cultures and is called home by the largest Carib Indian community in the eastern Caribbean. 


The Cruise Ship Berth is located on the bay front of the capital city Roseau, within close proximity of the Roseau Museum and its interesting displays on the island’s discovery, slave trade, and Creole and Carib Indian culture. Before leaving the area, the Botanical Gardens are a fascinating stop with the 'crushed bus' standing in mute testimony to the force of Hurricane David in1979 and the unyielding power of Mother Nature—the tree is still alive and growing on top of the bus. Watch for the 'bamboo house' and a small aviary nearby that houses some of Dominica's rare parrots. From a path near the east gate, a climb to the vantage point of Morne Bruce provides a splendid view of Roseau and beyond.

Bus service around the island is inexpensive, but roads are generally good and rental cars are available for independent exploration. Of the numerous National parks or reserves on the island, the 17,000 acre Morne Trois Pitons National Park contains many of Dominica's famous sights, including several crater lakes, waterfalls, and the lovely Emerald Pool, at the base of a 50-foot cascading fall. Most of the park consists of primordial rainforest, from thick jungle vegetation and trees to the stunted cloud forest cover on the upper slopes of Morne Trois Pitons that rise 4550 feet from the valley below.

North of Dominica’s second largest town, Portsmouth, and the partially restored Fort Shirley, the Northern Forest Reserve is another fine example of oceanic rainforest and is the home of Dominica's national bird, the rare Sisserou Parrot. 


Some of the finest handicrafts in the Caribbean are found in Roseau’s Old Market stalls and handicrafts shops. Dominica produces high-quality baskets utilizing native fibers and traditional Carib designs, as well as woven placemats, hats, pocketbooks, and Creole dolls. Other locally made items to be on the look out for include floor mats of verti-vert (a straw-like native grass), pottery, and coconut oil soap. Cafe Dominique is the island's answer to Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee and Dominican rum is highly regarded. One rum variety is steeped with Bois Bandée, a reputedly aphrodisiacal tree bark.


Because most of the island’s sand is black, Dominica doesn't have the sparkling palm-fringed beaches usually associated with the Caribbean. The best beaches are in the northwestern Portsmouth area. Champagne, a sub-aquatic hot spring off Pointe Guignard where bubbles rise from underwater vents, is a haven of calm waters suitable for swimming, snorkeling, and less experienced divers.

Much of Dominica’s appeal lies underwater where the scenery is exciting and varied. Dominica is a superb diving spot with sheer drop-offs, volcanic arches, pinnacles and caves. Many of the top dive sites are off the southwestern coast in the Soufrière Bay area, where stingray, snapper, barracuda, parrotfish, huge tube sponge, and soft coral are abundant along the walls and caves. Castaways Reef, Grande Savane, Rodney's Rock, Toucari Bay, and the wrecks of a barge and tug off Canefield are all good dive sites along the northern coast.

Fodor's Caribbean Ports of Call 2013
is all you need to plan your days ashore, PLUS a cruise primer section and cruise line profiles by Cruise Diva, Linda Coffman

Back to Caribbean Ports of Call

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