Sometimes confused with the nearby country Dominican Republic, Dominica is a nature-rich, lush-green Caribbean island that is perfect for a getaway surrounded by some of Mother Nature’s most spectacular creations. The island is popular among those looking for an adventurous break filled with activities such as hiking, snorkelling and scuba diving. The island’s thick and dense rainforests, mountains, rivers, lakes and waterfalls give visitors plenty to explore and marvel at.
Visiting between December and May will allow you to see the island at its best, as outside of these times, it is hurricane season. Dominica was the last colonised Caribbean island and home to the largest settlement of Indigenous people in the Caribbean; visiting Kalinago Territory will allow you to embrace their culture. There are plenty of things to do in Dominica during your Caribbean vacation. Here are 20 to get you started.
- Dominica, Caribbean
- Top Tours
- 20 Things To Do In Dominica
- 1- Hike to Boiling Lake
- 2- Cool Down At Trafalgar Falls
- 3- Warm Up In A Volcanic Spa
- 4- Hike The Waitukubuli National Trail
- 5- Go Whale Watching
- 6- Explore Cabrits National Park
- 7- Dive Or Snorkel At Soufriere Scotts Head Marine Reserve
- 8- Cruise The Indian River
- 9- Explore Shipwrecks At Champagne Reef
- 10- Explore Kalinago Territory
- 11- Relax On The Beach
- 12- Look For Sisserou Parrots In Morne Diablotin National Park
- 13- Go Turtle Watching At Rosalie Beach
- 14- Hike Along The River To Victoria Falls
- 15- Go On An Adventure In Titou Gorge
- 16- Swim In The Emerald Pool
- 17- Cook Local Dishes
- 18- Go On A Bird-Watching Walk
- 19- Relax In Roseau’s Botanic Gardens
- 20- Explore The City
- Canyon Experience in Dominica – an adrenalin rush!
- Whale Watch and Dolphin Cruise in Dominica – a must for nature lovers.
- Pepper’s Choice : Waterfalls, Sulphur Spa and Volcanic Black Sand Beach – you won’t be disappointed.
20 Things To Do In Dominica
1- Hike to Boiling Lake
To see one of the most unique sights in the world, head out with a guide on a hike to Boiling Lake.
Within the Morne Trois Pitons National Park is Boiling Lake, the second-largest boiling lake in the world.
The lake is in a flooded fumarole in a volcano in the park’s aptly named Valley of Desolation and has temperatures averaging 90°c, making it unsuitable for swimming.
Hikes to the lake often depart from Laudat Village and take about four hours.
As you hike, admire the trail’s geysers and thermal steam vents.
Boiling Lake is at Morne Trois Pitons National Park, 48 Cork Street, Roseau, Dominica.
2- Cool Down At Trafalgar Falls
Dominica has many beautiful waterfalls, but none more breathtaking than the twin falls of Trafalgar Falls.
Uniquely, the falls cascade into one cold and one warm water pool.
The falls flow down a leafy rock face from 125ft (38.1m) and 75ft (22.86m).
The short trail leading up to the falls is lined with warm springs, perfect for taking a dip.
The falls area is easily accessible via a car park pathway leading to a large viewing platform.
As well as a car park, Trafalgar Falls has a visitor centre, small exhibition space, snack bar and bathroom facilities.
Trafalgar Falls is at Paillotte Road, Dominica.
- Dominica Full–Day Tour 6 Waterfalls in 1 Day and Rainforest
- Admission Ticket to Trafalgar Falls (Premium Site)
3- Warm Up In A Volcanic Spa
There are many hot springs across Dominica, however, the most beautiful springs with additional wellbeing therapies and treatments to complement this experience are at Wotten Waven and Trafalgar.
Lush green rainforest plants surround the pools.
The water flows into various natural and manmade pools, including individual outdoor bathtubs.
Additional treatments are available at many volcanic spas, including mud packs and massages.
Volcanic spas are often open late into the evening, allowing you to bathe under the stars.
Recommended tour: Waitukubuli Volcano Snorkeling
4- Hike The Waitukubuli National Trail
Waitukubuli National Trail is a coast-to-coast trail running along the length of Dominica.
The trail itself is old and was once used by runaway slaves who fled to the mountains to escape life on the plantations.
The trail spans 115 miles (185.07 kilometres) of forest trails, coastal views and mountainous paths.
The trail can be completed in full or broken up into smaller stages for those only wanting to experience part of it.
Along the trail, keep your eyes peeled for various native species of animals and birds including land crabs and hummingbirds.
Waitukubuli National Trail runs from Scott’s Head to Cabrits National Park.
5- Go Whale Watching
Taking to the water on a whale-watching tour is one of the best things to do in the Caribbean.
Dominica is a particularly popular destination for those looking to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitats.
The waters surrounding the island have steep underwater drop-offs, which are the perfect habitat for sperm whales.
The whales live in these waters year round however the best time to see them is between November and March.
There are many whale-watching tours available on the island, taking visitors on a short boat ride out from Scotts Head, Roseau Layou and Point Round.
Recommended tour: Waitukubuli Dolphin and Whale Watch in Dominica
6- Explore Cabrits National Park
Cabrits National Park was established in 1986 as a protected area on the island’s northern edge.
The national park spans 1313 acres of tropical forests, coral reefs and wetlands.
Cabrits sits between two extinct volcanoes with excellent views over the beaches and the coastline.
Within the national park, there are many hiking trails and plenty of opportunities for scuba diving and snorkelling in its protected waters.
Keep your eyes peeled for land crabs, lizards, iguanas and brightly coloured tropical birds.
Cabrits National Park is in Portsmouth, Dominica.
Recommended tour: Advanced Canyon Experience
7- Dive Or Snorkel At Soufriere Scotts Head Marine Reserve
For one of the best opportunities to see the wildlife beneath the waves and for world-renowned scuba diving opportunities, spend a day at Soufriere Scotts Head Marine Reserve.
The reserve began in 1998 and covers the area from Soufriere Village to Scotts Head.
This southwestern point of the island is formed from a very picturesque bay set inside an extinct volcano with a very deep lava chute, creating its unique underwater landscape.
Under the water, there are very steep drop-offs under the water, which are perfect for diving and seeing tropical fish, sea horses and colourful coral reefs.
Soufriere Scotts Head Marine Reserve is between the two villages of Soufriere and Scotts Head, Dominica.
8- Cruise The Indian River
Relax and unwind as you admire the natural beauty of Dominica on a cruise along the Indian River.
The river’s name comes from the Carib Indians or Kalinago peoples who lived along the river banks.
The river was an important route for them to access the sea and trade routes for their livelihoods.
The Indian River is a coastal wetland habitat lined with Bwa Mang trees and thick green forest floors, creating the perfect habitat for many native animals.
There are many tours of the river, which is one of 365 rivers on the island, all of which are in hand-oared river boats.
Many tours stop at Bush Bar, a famous bar on the island well known for its rum-based drinks and delicious smoked fish dishes.
Tours of the Indian River typically start at Michael Douglas Boulevard, Portsmouth, Dominica.
Recommended tour: Dominica Shore Excursion: River Tubing Safari
9- Explore Shipwrecks At Champagne Reef
Named after its famous bubbly waters, Champagne Reef is a spectacular coral reef set above a volcanic thermal spring.
The reef is a very popular diving location that attracts people from all over the world.
Under the waves are plummeting cliffs covered in coral reefs, vibrantly coloured sponges with unique names such as yellow tube and purple vase, and of course, a myriad of tropical fish.
During your dives on the Champagne Reef, you may also see octopus, rays, hawksbill turtles, and frogfish.
Look out for the 17th-century shipwreck of a Spanish ship as you explore.
Champagne Reef is at Pointe Michel, Dominica.
Recommended tour: Champagne Reef, Bubble Beach and Scotts Head Snorkeling tour by boat.
10- Explore Kalinago Territory
Kalinago Territory stretches from the village of Bataca in the north of the island to the southern village of Sineku.
This area of Dominica is home to 3,000 Kalinago people who are members of the ancient tribe that lived on the island before it was colonised.
Tours are available of the territory, typically from the village of Salybia and are led by a guide from the tribe.
Salybia is home to a model village, exhibits on the tribe’s history, wood and leaf ajoupas and a souvenir shop that consists of handmade items made by members of the tribe.
Salybia is at St David Parish, Dominica.
11- Relax On The Beach
While Dominica is primarily known for its dramatic natural landscapes, there are still plenty of picturesque beaches to relax and enjoy the warm Caribbean sun on.
Batibou Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island as it has large stretches of soft golden sands, coconut trees lining the beach and of course, great opportunities to snorkel and scuba dive.
If you still want plenty of opportunities to see the island’s natural inhabitants when relaxing, spend an afternoon on Purple Turtle Beach, where you can expect to see rich black-speckled sands with nesting turtles emerging after hatching.
12- Look For Sisserou Parrots In Morne Diablotin National Park
Another spectacular national park in Dominica to visit is Morne Diablotin National Park, northwest of Dominica.
The park centres around Morne Diablotin, the tallest mountain in Dominica, standing 4747ft (1447m) high above the trees.
The landscape within the national park is rainforest, with mountain palm trees and ferns covering most of the mountain.
On hikes through the national park, expect to see fewer animals and birds than elsewhere, however, those who are particularly lucky may spot the sisserou parrot, a parrot that is critically endangered.
The sisserou parrot is the national bird of Dominica and can be seen on the country’s flag.
Morne Diablotin National Park is at St Andrew Parish and St Joseph Parish, Dominica.
13- Go Turtle Watching At Rosalie Beach
Rosalie Beach is one of the best beaches in Dominica for turtle-watching.
This pristine black and golden sanded beach is overlooked by towering mountains and lined with coconut trees.
Close to the beach is the Rosalie Bay Resort, which does have a private section to the beach, however, the main beach is open to the public.
In late March to early October, turtles, including leatherback and hawksbill, lay their eggs in the sands at Rosalie Beach before returning to the Atlantic Ocean’s wild waters.
The sands are protected to ensure the turtles have the best opportunities of survival.
Rosalie Beach is at Unnamed Road, Rosalie, Dominica.
14- Hike Along The River To Victoria Falls
There are many breathtaking waterfalls in Dominica, including the dramatic Victoria Falls.
The waterfall cascades over 165ft (50.29m) over a steep cliff and into a pool below before joining the White River.
There are many hiking trails leading both to and from the falls of varying difficulty, however due to the nature of flash flooding in the area, hiking to the falls with a guide is recommended.
As you hike over large rocks, wade through the waters to cross the river and meander through the surrounding rainforest, the sound of the waterfall crashing down can be heard.
The hike to the falls is relatively short, at approximately 45 minutes each way.
Victoria Falls is near Delices, Dominica.
Recommended tour: Pepper’s 4-Hour Special
15- Go On An Adventure In Titou Gorge
Explore the island’s hidden side and uncover Titou Gorge.
Rather than hiking to the gorge, visitors have to swim through the base of a waterfall and through several small ponds to reach it.
The gorge was formed when large volumes of molten lava cooled quickly and split, creating a crack which is now canopied by tropical plants and trees.
After a short swim, visitors emerge into the gorge, which, when timed correctly, is lit with sunlight as it filters through the thick canopies above.
Inside the gorge is a hot spring that runs down the side of a wall.
Titou Gorge is at Laudat, Dominica.
Recommended tour: Middleham Falls and Ti’tou Gorge Half-Day Excursion
16- Swim In The Emerald Pool
A must-visit destination in Dominica is to spend some time swimming in the Emerald Pool.
The pool is inside the Morne Trois Piton National Park and is completely surrounded by thick green rainforest.
The pool takes its name from the vibrant green-blue hued water.
Cascading into the pool is a small 40ft (12.19m) waterfall of cooling mountain water.
Emerald Pool is a popular destination as unlike some of the island’s other natural pools, it is easily accessible along a short and undemanding hiking trail.
Emerald Pool is at Emerald Pool Trail, Dominica. Skip the Line: Admission Ticket to Emerald Pool Nature Trail
17- Cook Local Dishes
Caribbean cuisine is some of the mot popular in the world, so why not book onto a cookery course to try local dishes during your stay.
There are a range of cooking classes across Dominica including those with locals who will introduce you to a range of fruits and vegetables that grow in abundance on the island, before teaching you how to use them to prepare a range of fresh and delicious dishes, to small-group courses led by chefs.
Regardless of what type of cookery course you book, expect to make a range of Caribbean or Creole dishes, including delicacies such as Lionfish, fried plantains and rice and beans.
Recommended tour: Caribbean Cooking Class with Daria
18- Go On A Bird-Watching Walk
As the Caribbean’s ultimate nature destination, spending some time outdoors is great during your Dominica vacation.
One of the best trails in Dominica for bird watching is following the Syndicate Nature Trail.
Along this trail, you can expect to see native birds such as Red-necked parrots and the Imperial parrot.
You may also see the brightly coloured blue-headed hummingbird, purple-throated caribs and Antillean euphoria.
There are many guided tours across Dominica to help you find the best spots for bird watching, led by dedicated and knowledgeable local guides.
19- Relax In Roseau’s Botanic Gardens
Experience the beauty of Dominica in pristine and carefully preserved surroundings at Roseau’s Botanic Gardens.
The botanical gardens cover 40 acres and are at the foot of Morne Bruce Hill.
Inside the gardens and parkland are mature banyan trees, a baobab tree and many magnificent palm trees,
Dotted among the trees are pretty and colourful flowering plants and shrubs.
The gardens are the perfect place for a relaxing stroll, picnic, or to learn more about the plants native to Dominica and other Caribbean islands.
Ruseau’s Botanic Gardens is at Bath Road, Roseau, Dominica.
Recommended tour: Roseau City Tour with Botanical Gardens & Trafalgar Falls
20- Explore The City
Take a break from nature and spend time in Dominica’s capital city, Roseau.
Roseau is a small city and is easily explored on foot.
It overlooks the Caribbean Sea and the Roseau River and is close to the base of Morne Burce, a mountain.
When exploring Roseau, take some time to admire its architecture, much of which dates from the French colonisation of the island in the 18th century.
Visit the Old Market to admire arts and crafts made by locals for interesting and meaningful souvenirs to take home.
Spend an hour in the Dominica Museum to learn more about the island’s culture, its history and its ancient archeology.
Looking for a Caribbean vacation? Read:
- 20 Things To Do In San Juan
- 20 Puerto Rico Cities and Towns
- National Parks in Puerto Rico
- Best Time To Visit Puerto Rico
- 20 Landmarks in Puerto Rico
- 20 Things To Do In Jamaica
- 20 Jamaican Drinks
- 10 Villas in Jamaica
- My Jamaica Vacation
- Best Time To Visit Cuba
- 20 Landmarks in Cuba
- Carnaval de Santiago de Cuba
- 10 Things To Do In Cuba
- 20 Things To Do In The Bahamas
- 20 Things To Do In Aruba
- Where To Stay in Jamaica
- Where To Stay in the Bahamas
- 20 Things To Do In Dominica
- 20 Things To Do In Antigua
- 20 Things To Do In St Lucia
- 20 Things To Do In Grand Cayman
- 20 Beaches in Curacao
- 20 Beaches in Trinidad and Tobago
- 20 Beaches in Anguilla
- 20 Beaches in Grenada
- 20 Beaches in Aruba
- 20 Beaches in Cayman Islands
- 20 Beaches in Haiti
- 20 Beaches in Barbados
- 20 Beaches in Turks and Caicos
- 20 Beaches in Jamaica
- 20 Beaches in Dominican Republic
- 20 Beaches in Cuba
- 20 Things To Do In St Thomas (US Virgin Islands)
- 20 Things To Do In Trinidad and Tobago
- 20 US Virgin Islands Resorts
- 20 Things To Do In Grenada
- 20 Types of Caribbean Food
- 20 Things To Do In Turks And Caicos
- 20 Things To Do In Haiti
- 20 Things To Do In Dominican Republic
- Where To Spend Christmas In The Caribbean