Known as the ‘Nature Island of the Caribbean’, the wild and untamed island of Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic) is the perfect holiday destination for walkers and naturalists; those looking for a Caribbean walking holiday with a difference. Nestled between the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, Dominica was previously a French, then British, colony. Now an independent nation, English is still the official language and strong Creole influence also remains. Largely unspoilt by tourism, it is said that Dominica is the only Caribbean island Columbus would recognise if he were to return today. On this trekking holiday we head beyond the beautiful beaches to explore, on foot, Dominica’s rugged Caribbean and Atlantic coastlines, where the lush green forests teem with rare bird and animal life, the tree branches bow under the weight of countless exotic fruit and the air is heavy with the scent of wild herbs.
Day 01: Arrive Melville Hall Airport
Meet at the airport and transfer from airport transfer from Melville Hall Airport to hotel, the drive takes around 1hr. On arrival we meet with our guide and enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel, which sits on the sea front; this will be our first taste of the healthy and delicious Caribbean cuisine.
Day 02: Southern coast walk from Soufriere to Scotts Head. Snorkelling at Champagne Reef. Return to Roseau
After breakfast at the hotel we take a short 30 min drive to the village of Soufriere, the start of our walk. As we are adjusting to the temperatures and high humidity, we will have plenty of time to stop, look around and enjoy the views. Our route takes us along the road and through the village of Gallion before joining an old estate track. This is one of the most volcanic and fertile areas of the island, once famous for large scale sugarcane, cocoa and citrus production; it was from these estates that the fruit for Rose’s famous lime cordial originated. Our way is lined with exotic fruit trees as we wind down to the southern community of Scott Head, on the south west tip of the island. Here we can stand on the narrow isthmus that separates the Caribbean from the wild Atlantic Ocean. We have some time to explore characterful Scotts Head before stopping for lunch in a local restaurant, surrounded by colourful gardens filled with fruit trees and butterflies. In the afternoon we head to Champagne Reef where we will have the opportunity to do some guided snorkelling. Snorkelling equipment will be provided. The reef is just meters from the beach, and is teeming with marine life. Bubbling gases from underwater volcanic vents give the reef its name and make this a unique underwater experience! We return to our hotel in Roseau.
Day 03: Caribbean cookery lesson, Trafalgar Waterfalls and Freshwater Lake. Return to Roseau
After breakfast we head into Roseau, where we have some time to look around this small, but colourful, city. We will also visit the local market where we can sample some of the delicious produce. Dominica has the highest percentage of centenarians per capita in the world and it’s not hard to see why with all the healthy, fresh and organic produce available. In the late morning we head to the kitchen for our Caribbean cookery lesson, where we will learn to prepare some of the local cuisine, delicious! Lunch will be a traditional Caribbean buffet, some of which we will have helped prepare. After lunch we head to Fresh Water Lake, stopping off en route to see the imposing twin waterfalls at Trafalgar. Fresh Water Lake is Dominica’s largest. Shrouded by myths and legends it is believed to be the home of a one eyed monster! The walk around the lake takes around an hour and there are some superb views along the way. We return to our hotel near Roseau in time for dinner.
Day 04: Optional Boiling Lake Trek and Titou Gorge or shorter option chosen by our guide. Return to Castle Bruce
Today we have the option of taking the more strenuous hike to Boiling Lake or a shorter alternative hike. Those heading to the Boiling Lake will depart the hotel early to make the most of the cooler morning. Following flood damage in 2015 this trail is now more difficult in parts and involves short sections of scrambling, which you will need to be prepared for. This is a challenging 8hr return walk from Titou Gorge, through the steaming Valley of Desolation to Boiling Lake. It is a short drive to the start of the trail, armed with a packed lunch and plenty of water we begin our trek through lush forest on a series of wooden steps, over sharp green ridges. En route we will encounter volcanic rivers, streams and boiling mud in the aptly named Valley of Desolation. The trail is steep and worn in parts and so there is a reasonable element of scrambling involved. We cross a series of streams, which vary in colour from clear water to milky blue, black, white, yellow and orange. The steam and sulphur fumes give the air a potent aroma. We will reach Boiling Lake around midday; this is the second largest hot spring in the world (after Rotorua, New Zealand), though it is not technically a lake at all but rather a flooded fumerole. The natural basin of the lake collects rainfall from the surrounding hills and from the small streams, which empty into fumerole. The water seeps through the porous bottom to the hot lava below where it is trapped and heated to boiling point. After some time to enjoy the spectacle we will retrace our steps back to Titou Gorge, where we can cool off with a swim before heading to our guesthouse accommodation near Castle Bruce. Those opting for the alternative hike can enjoy a more relaxed day! The ascent/descent figures below refer to the Boiling Lake hike.
Day 05: Discover the East Coast Villages of San Sauver, Petite Soufriere and Rosalie Bay
Today we will enjoy a day of walking and culture as we explore a rural part of Dominica as we visit the communities of San Sauver and Petite Soufriere – rich in culture and tradition and not normally exposed to receiving visitors and tourism. We will be sure to have eaten cassava, or arrowroot, and we will visit a cassava processing plant to see how the tuber makes it’s way from the ground to our plates. We will also have the chance to see how the leaves of the aromatic bay trees are distilled to make oil. Arriving at Soufriere, we begin our hike to the Rosalie Estate along an old estate trail, once used by the Kalinago Indians and still used by farmers today. We can expect some fantastic Atlantic views today. We break for lunch at Rosalie at an old Catholic Church, which is today operated as a Retreat House. Returning to the vehicle we head back to our accommodation in Castle Bruce.
Day 06: Walk from Castle Bruce to Hatten Garden. Visit Kalinago Barana Anute. Transfer to Portsmouth
Walking along the most easterly segment of the trail we meet Dominica’s indigenous people, the Kalinago, giving us insight into their culture and lifestyles, whilst providing excellent walking on the rugged Atlantic coastline. The Kalinago name for Dominica is Waitikabuli, which means “tall is her body”. Today’s walk is on undulating terrain, climbing and dipping gently as we past through hamlets and villages, and along the Atlantic cliffs. We will see many lizards and iguana today out basking in the Caribbean sunshine, there is little forest on this section and the sun can be strong, so our sun hats are essential. Many of the villages have small craft shops with friendly Kalinago people eager to say hello to us. We end the day at Kaliago Barana Anute, a traditional village by the sea. Here we can learn about Kalinago history and culture. Afterwards we drive 1.5hrs to the north of the island and our beach side accommodation in Picard Portsmouth, our base for the next 4 nights.
Day 07: Exploring the northern estates. Walk from Colihaut Heights to Ros Castle. Return to Portsmouth
Today we will walk from Colihaut Heights to Ros Castle. After breakfast at our accommodation there will be a short transfer of 35mins on jeep track up hill to the start of the trail. We follow an old estate road that leads us through forest and fertile farmland. In the early years of the 19th century, French coffee planters owned this area. There are some fantastic views down to the valley and the coastline. Fresh exotic fruit grows all around us and we can enjoy some of the wild raspberries, which litter the edge of the path. Our route takes us past Morne Diablotin, Dominica’s highest mountain. From here we have a slow and winding decent through an agricultural belt once known for citrus and coffee, the track is still surrounded by citrus orchards, alongside banana and plantain. We leave the estate track and continue on a narrow footpath that winds down through thick forest; we may see Jaco and Sisserou parrots hiding in the trees. In places the path is steep and tree roots cross the trail. We continue down to Ros Castle where today’s walk will end. From here we drive to Brandy Manor, where we can enjoy some Caribbean afternoon tea and explore the gardens before returning to our accommodation in Portsmouth, where we will have dinner.
Day 08: Walk along the north coast from Penville to Capuchin. Boat journey back to Portsmouth
Our last day on the trail. We start with a short transfer to the start of today’s walk. We stop en route at Cold Soufriere, the world’s only cold sulphur spring. Our walk begins on volcanic terrain and through the dry forest. The trees roots here are dotting with holes, home to Dominica’s army of land crabs, usually only seen after dark. Grapefruit, mango, and soursop hang in the trees aside the path, we may have a chance to sample some of these delicious fruits along the way. As we walk we have spectacular views of the neighbouring French islands of Guadeloupe, Marie Galante and Les Saintes. Our path is undulating, but straight forward and there is plenty of time enjoy the views. We end at the village of Capuchin, the most northerly village in Dominica. Here we will be treated to a Caribbean home cooked buffet in the home of one of the villagers. After a leisurely lunch we board boats for the exciting journey around the coast and back to Portsmouth. The seas around Dominica are a haven for dolphin, turtles, flying fish and whale and we should be on the look out. If the seas are rough it may be necessary to continue on foot. Back on dry land we head back to our beach accommodation where we will enjoy a delicious meal.
Day 09: Guided tour of Indian River. Visit Fort Shirley. Afternoon on beach. Return to Portsmouth
After breakfast we have a short transfer to the pier of the Indian River, boarding our rowing boats we will have a guided tour whilst exploring the mangroves looking for wildlife. This is a real treat for bird watchers and nature lovers. As we glide through the mangroves and wetlands of this brackish river our guide will explain the history of the area and tell us all about the incredible flora and fauna lining the waterway. This atmospheric back drop was the fitting location for various scenes in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean film series. Back on dry land, we make the short drive to Fort Shirley. Located upon the twin hills of the Cabrits, which tower over Portsmouth, this large 18th century British garrison once housed 600 soldiers. From up on the hill there is an excellent panoramic view of Prince Rupert Bay and back to Portsmouth. This is the perfect location for a picnic lunch. From here a gentle walk takes us down to the beach where we can spend the rest of the afternoon swimming and relaxing. We return to our accommodation in time to freshen up for our final dinner. Watching the sun sink into the Caribbean Sea whilst enjoying some delicious Dominican dishes is just the perfect way to celebrate our last night on the island.
Day 10: Departure Day. A single timed transfer to Melville Hall Airport is provided
We end our holiday on this idyllic Caribbean island with a single timed transfer to the airport where KE Land Only package services end.
|Roseau||03||AmericInn by Wyndham Roseau|
|Castle Bruce||02||Hibiscus Valley Inn|
|Portsmouth||04||Portsmouth Beach Hotel|
– Meeting and assistance by our representative.
– Welcome with fresh flower garlands.
– 09 Nights accommodation hotel.
– Daily Breakfast, Lunch and Dinners.
– Local English-speaking guide
– All transfers, sightseeing, excursions as per the program by private vehicle.
– Entrance fees to monuments.
– Transport, Parking, Gasoline & Toll ways.
– All present government taxes.
– International Airfare.
– Tips, gratuities, Portage, laundry, telephone calls, table drinks, camera/ video camera charges, or any other expenses of a personal nature.
– Visa fees, personal insurance.
– Any item not specified under cost includes.
– Accommodation in good hotels.
– Check-in / out time is 12 noon at most of the hotels.
– Extension to other places is also possible with a minimal extra cost.
– Additional nights are available at each place with minimal supplement.
– A visa is required and must be obtained prior to your departure from your Country.
– If quoted hotel is not available, we will provide one of a similar category and standard.
– Small deviations in the tour program are sometimes necessary, depending on weather, road conditions, flight schedules and room availability.
– In case the government changes presently applicable taxes, increase in airlines prices, fuel surcharge our rates will need to be adjusted accordingly.
– Sometimes, there is no relevance between the distance and time of travelling, as it depends upon the condition of the roads and congestion of the traffic.
– While every effort will be made to maintain the itinerary, in view of local strikes etc that are beyond our control all schedule and itineraries are subject to last moment changes.
– Clients must be fully insured, as the company cannot accept liability for loss or damage to client’s property, medical emergencies or any other loss suffered by them whilst on tour.
– In Case of issuing Domestic or International air tickets, SGV is not responsible for any refund if the flight is delayed or cancelled, as it is the responsibility of airline.