THE NATURE ISLE
She’s called the Nature Isle of the Caribbean; an island so lush and pure, she gushes forth hundreds of rivers and spectacular waterfalls from her evergreen, tropical rainforest. Her volcanic terrain, home to some of the largest mountains in the Caribbean, and the second largest boiling spring in the world, is a must conquer for the adventure seeker, and the discerning traveller. Nestled in the eastern Caribbean between the French territories of Guadeloupe and Martinique, just 1,400 miles south of Miami, she is the pristine island nation of Dominica.
Just 751 sq. km in size, this tropical haven – not to be mistaken with her neighbour the Dominican Republic – offers breath-taking views of emerald green mountains punctuated by exotic, tropical flowers, banana trees and coconut palms. With year-round warm temperatures averaging 27°C, she offers the perfect weather for those yearning to hike her rugged interior or dive into her refreshing, turquoise waters.
Regarded as one of the best dive destinations in the world, Dominica’s waters conceal seascapes of colourful corals, sponges, and crinoids that adorn volcanic pinnacles towering from the depths below. These beautiful outcrops interspersed with an eclectic aquatic life, inclusive of 16 species of marine mammals, offer phenomenal experiences to the scuba diver, or casual snorkeler.
Natural beauty aside, a walk through Dominica’s capital city of Roseau reveals a quintessential charm of her colonial yesteryear. Cobbled-stoned pathways, and narrow streets lined by French architectural buildings are a noticeable staple. And the people – 73,000 strong, yet warm and friendly – make the island one of the safest to explore in the region.
In Dominica you’ll find a melting pot of ethnicities; most notably, Africans, Indians, Chinese, and Syrians. Yet for all the intermingling, English remains the official language, with Kweyol – a French dialect – occasionally spoken by villagers. It is the only place in the Caribbean you will still find a remaining settlement of pre-Columbus, native Carib Indians known as Kalinagos. These indigenous people offer a stark glimpse of island life pre-colonialization, and in the process, brand the island’s culture with an authenticity unmatched by most other islands.
Here, life is simple; hassle-free. And time, though rushed elsewhere, seemingly trickles by slowly. In Dominica, the Caribbean life once imagined, is the Caribbean life actually realised.