Nicknamed the “nature island” of the Caribbean, Dominica dazzles in all the right ways. Double rainbows, lush greenery, and exciting eco-adventures are just some of the many things to do in Dominica.
This small but mighty island is a playground for outdoorsy types seeking their next adrenaline rush or jaunt through nature. The island is rich in culture, too, and learning about the Kalinago, an indigenous group that has lived on the island for millennia, is fascinating.
Here are the best Dominica attractions to seek out.
Get Cultured at the Dominica Museum
For a quick insight into Dominica’s history, head straight to the Dominica Museum in downtown Roseau, the island’s capital. The museum is housed in a former post office built in 1810, and offers a self-guided immersion into the Kalingo and Creole culture, as well as the history of the area’s slave trade.
In fact, the museum is located right in front of the Old Market of Roseau, which is the exact site where slave trading took place during colonial times. You’ll leave with a deeper appreciation for this small island in the Caribbean Lesser Antilles and for the many people who fought for its freedom.
Shop for Souvenirs at Roseau Market Plaza
Located behind the Dominica Museum, this bustling cobblestone market dates back more than 300 years. There’s a little bit of everything sold here, from fresh fruits and cooking spices to handmade knick-knacks. You’ll also find coffee, leather goods, and woven baskets.
For the most authentic of handicrafts, go to the craft store opposite Ruins Rock Cafe. Otherwise, just stroll through the market at your own pace, snap some photos and get a true sense of what everyday life in Roseau is like.
Wander Through the Botanic Gardens
Spanning 40 acres, the Botanic Gardens is the largest area of green space within Roseau. It’s home to more than 50 types of plants native to the Southern Caribbean island as well as imported trees.
The mature banyan trees and a mighty African baobab are particularly imperssive. The garden opened back in 1889, when Dominica was still part of the British Empire, and while much has changed since that time, it’s still a peaceful place to sit back, relax and breathe it all in.
Climb to New Heights at Morne Bruce
This small mountain located on the southwest edge of Roseau offers arguably the best viewpoint in all of Dominica. From the top, you’re greeted with a panoramic view of Roseau, as well as steep slopes the island is known for.
The walk to Morne Bruce isn’t too tough, but it is a fairly steep climb, so bring some water with you and wear comfortable shoes. Of course, if you can’t make the trek up, the viewpoint is accessible by car, too.
Swim in the Emerald Pool
While it’s not allowed to swim in the Boiling Lake (and really, you wouldn’t want to), you can take a dip in a different part of Morne Trois Pitons National Park, called the Emerald Pool.
Having served as a backdrop for movies and even weddings, the Emerald Pool has a mystical feel to it, with waters from Emerald Falls descending 50 feet into the basin.
The clear mountain water cascades down to form a turquoise-colored pool below. In the humidity of the rainforest, it’s hard to pass up a dip in this safe and scenic watering hole.
Of all the trails in Morne Trois Piton National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), this is the most accessible and an easy add-on to other excursions.
Admire Trafalgar Falls
Trafalgar Falls is located on the west side of the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, around six miles from downtown Roseau. Experiencing them for yourself is one of the best things to do in Dominica.
There are two waterfalls that make up Trafalgar: the higher one that is called “father” and the lower waterfall, called “mother.” Whereas the “father” empties into hot sulfur springs, the “mother” flows into a natural swimming pool.
For added comfort, there are restrooms and facilities at the falls, as well as a parking lot. Getting to the falls is easy; just follow the well-maintained path and you’re there.
Take a Dip in Titou Gorge
With all that adventure, you’ve more than earned a lazy day at Titou Gorge. The gorge is located in Wotton Waven, a small village surrounded by tropical forest and best known for its natural, hot suppler springs and mud pools.
The mineral-rich rock pool will do wonders for your skin, and the hot springs are helpful in soothing sore muscles or just calming your nerves. During the day, feast your eyes on the lush greenery and sunshine shining through the trees.
Snorkel at Champagne Reef
As its name suggests, Soufrière Scotts Head Marine Reserve’s world-famous Champagne Reef is named for the bubbling waters that rise from the volcanic thermal springs on the ocean floor.
As a result, bubbles—like the small, fizzing ones you get after popping a bottle of champagne—surround you in every direction.
Even if you’re an avid snorkeler or scuba diver, this is a pretty unique experience and not one to miss. Bubbles aside, the reef itself is vibrant and varied.
As one of the best snorkeling spots in the world, you’ll spot schools of fish of all colors of the rainbow, underwater critters like octopi, rays, parrotfish, trumpet fish, seahorses, eels, and hawksbill turtles. You can also explore what remains of a 17th-century Spanish shipwreck.
Take a Chocolate Tour at Bois Cotlette Estate
As one of the world’s oldest surviving estates in Dominica, Bois Cotlette has a 290-year history of producing cocoa, coffee, and sugar cane. During an interactive, two-hour chocolate tour, guests learn the art of chocolate-making and set the record straight on some common misconceptions.
After hearing about the estate’s history and the benefits chocolate can have on the body, you’ll get to process a cocoa pod into chocolate using all of your senses. Best of all, you’ll have a chance to temper, mold, and pour special dark chocolate to make the estate’s signature sweet-tasting candy.
Go Whale Watching off the Coast of Roseau
When it comes to whale watching destinations, Dominica is pretty high on the list. There are several areas where whale watching excursions are offered, with Roseau being the most accessible.
Most cruises last for around two and a half hours, giving plenty of time to spot whales, dolphins and other marine life in their natural habitat.
Dominica is known as the “Whale Watching Capital of the Caribbean”, so you’re highly likely to see some activity. Sperm whales live here year-round, and other common sightings include spotted and spinner dolphins.
Travel Back in Time in Cabrits National Park
Sitting on a small peninsula just off Dominica’s rocky coastline, Cabrits National Park protects coral reefs, forests, wetlands and a former military outpost named Fort Shirley. Today, the park is situated between two extinct volcanoes that make it one of the best hikes in the Caribbean.
While many snorkelers come here to explore the coral reefs off the shoreline, the main draw ashore is touring the ruins of Fort Shirley. Still in great condition, the fort features what were once barracks, and other living areas.
There are two fortified walls: one side had five canons aimed and ready, and the other had a total of six, two of which were angled separately. The fort housed more than 600 men and consisted of more than 50 buildings.
After renovations, the Officer’s Quarters is now a venue for weddings, converts and other social events such as Dominica’s Jazz n’Creole Festival. However, it’s important to remember the historical significance of Fort Shirley, the most famous being the revolt of Africa slave soldiers in 1802 which led to freedom in 1807.
Soak up the Sun at Mero Beach
Located just a short 30-minute drive from Roseau, Mero Beach is both popular and scenically interesting. Unlike many beaches in the Caribbean that boast white sand, Mero has gray volcanic sand, sometimes dark, sometimes silvery-gray.
The weather is warm, the waters calm, and come Sunday, you’ll see lots of locals barbecuing on the black sand beach.
When you’ve worked up an appetite, head for a table at nearby InDee’s Beach Bar and Restaurant. Since it’s right on the beach, there is often a little bit of a line, but their authentic creole fish more than makes up for it.
For a decadent dinner, go all out with their lobster and plantains and finish it off with freshly made cheesecake.
Go River Tubing at Hibiscus Eco-Village
Of all the things to do in Dominica, river tubing is one of the most popular. Make the journey to Hibiscus Eco-Village, where you’ll embark on a river tubing adventure, and spend time at one of Dominica’s breathtaking waterfalls.
Embarking on a river tubing adventure at Hibiscus Eco-Village is one of the best things to do in the Caribbean. The village is the last remaining Kalinago Territory in the world, and their stories are a big part of Dominica’s history.
The indigenous Kalinago people lived on several Caribbean islands before colonization, Dominica being one of them. As you slowly drift along the river, you’ll spot birds, vegetation and stunning scenery. While most of the ride is fairly calm, there will be some thrilling rapids, too.
Discover the extraordinary history and culture of “Nature Island” on a cruise to Dominica. Browse cruise itineraries online and start planning your next unforgettable vacation.