Dominica is recognised for many things, including its year-round sunshine, friendly inhabitants and delicious cuisine. But the small Caribbean island is undoubtedly best-known for something else: its incredible natural beauty. In fact, Dominica is so well-regarded for this that it’s even been dubbed the “Nature Island of the Caribbean”. Why exactly does the country have this title?
What’s in a nickname?
Some of the world’s most famous countries boast flattering nicknames that encapsulate notable things about them. Take South Africa, for instance, which was called “The Rainbow Nation” by Desmond Tutu as he dreamt of a post-apartheid country where everyone could live together peacefully. Meanwhile, Ireland has been labelled “The Emerald Isle”, that, like Dominica, is a nod to the country’s natural beauty, and Finland “the Land of a Thousand Lakes” due to its plethora of lakes.
Dominica is no different, and its “Nature Island of the Caribbean” nickname is a reflection of the nation’s immense natural splendour. This title is often used interchangeably with Dominica’s actual name, showing just how much it’s been embraced by those inside and outside of the country.
What about Dominica is so naturally beautiful?
This nickname is no exaggeration. Dominica certainly lives up to the title of being Caribbean’s nature island. With wondrous waterfalls. magnificent mountains, beautiful beaches and so much more, there’s something for all nature lovers to enjoy here.
1. The Waterfalls
Dominica is home to dozens of waterfalls, with the pick of the bunch being the side-by-side Trafalgar Falls. Just a 20 minute drive from the capital of Roseau, the larger of the two is called “Daddy” and is roughly 200 foot tall, while the smaller waterfall is called “Mommy” and has a height of around 100 feet. The waterfalls are truly remarkable sights, with a light mist rising from the pools that surround them and rocks either side of both that are perfect for climbing.</p>
Another highlight is the Emerald Pool. Located within Dominica’s Morne Trois Pitons National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-visit in its own right, the 40 foot waterfall leads to an undisturbed emerald-green pool that’s ideal for a quick dip. Surrounded by lush ferns and rugged rocks, the scene is so beautiful that it was even featured in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. As well as the waterfalls mentioned, the likes of Middleham Falls (also within the national park), Hibiscus Falls and Sari Sari Falls off the Sari Sari river are all extraordinary too.
2. The Mountains and Volcanoes
The Nature Island is characterised by its rugged, mountainous terrain, meaning there’s naturally an abundance of peaks to ascend. And intriguingly, some of these are volcanic (nine out of the Caribbean’s 16 volcanoes are located in Dominica), including the imperious Morne Diablotins. This is also the country’s highest mountain and the second highest in the Lesser Antilles after La Grande Soufrière in Guadeloupe. Standing at 1,447 m (4,747 feet), explorers can climb up and down the Diablotins in around six hours, all the while taking in stunning views of the island. Fortunately for Dominicans, the volcano hasn’t erupted in 30,000 years.
Morne Trois Pitons is another mountain that proves Dominica is worthy of its nickname. A colossal 1,386 m (4,550 feet) tall, it is located in the national park it shares its name with, and is typically climbed from the north of the mountain. Although Morne Trois Piton is also technically a volcano, it doesn’t have the typical conical appearance, though the breathtaking views you get of Dominica while climbing it more than make up for this. A more challenging trek than Morne Diablotins, it’s certainly worth the effort. Meanwhile, other notable mountains in Dominica include Watt Mountain, Morne Macaque and Morne Los Resources.
3. The Hot Springs
Another unique thing about Dominica is the number of hot springs it has, which is unsurprising considering its volcanic landscape. Easily the most renowned is the Boiling Lake, which is actually the world’s second largest hot spring after the Frying Pan Lake in New Zealand. Located at the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, you can get to the spectacular, 200 foot wide spring after a three to four hour hike. Field with bubbling greyish blue water, the lake is usually enveloped in a cloud of vapour that really adds to the surreal feel of things.
For more easily accessible hot springs, you’ll want to head to the tiny village of Wotten Waven in the south of the island. Here you’ll find a number of smaller spas to relax in. One of the best places to visit is Ti Kwen Glo Cho, which is literally Creole for ‘little corner of water’ — an apt name indeed. The spa features both communal and personal pools and bathtubs filled with hot, sulfurous water from the springs.
4. The Rainforests
Roughly half of Dominica is covered in rainforest, and there’s plenty to explore within. Take the Papillote Wilderness Retreat, for example, which is situated just outside the village of Trafalgar. This ten-acre nature garden is home to various types of fauna, including 27 kinds of bird (the yellow-striped bananaquit and green hummingbirds among them) and 19 species of butterfly, making it ideal for those wanting to spot some wildlife on the island.
Another top destination within Dominica’s rainforests is the Syndicate walking trail, which is located in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park. Again perfect for bird watching , the area features indeginous species such as the Sisserou (Dominica’s National Bird) and the Jaco. It’s also filled with an array of fascinating flora too, including multiple fruit trees, orchids and flowers like lantanas, heliconias, blue wax flowers and the Bwa Kwai, Dominica’s national bloom.
5. The Beaches
Although Dominica isn’t particularly known for its beaches, it certainly has more than enough to satisfy those who love to be beside the seaside. Probably the best to visit is the wonderfully named Champagne Beach, just south of the town of Point Michele. The spot is best known for its bubbling waters (hence the name) as it sits above hot springs, making the water incredibly warm too. As well as being a great place to kick your feet back in, Champagne Beach also boasts great snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities, with the chance to see marine life such as seahorses, frogfish and sea snakes.
Point Baptiste is another brilliant beach on the island. Situated on the north coast of Dominica, it provides awesome views out to the sea of the surrounding red rocks and other nearby Caribbean islands like Guadeloupe and Les Saintes. Unlike other places on the island, there are also plenty of coconut trees around the beach, giving you some respite from the sun when you want it. Meanwhile, other popular sandy spots include Mero Beach, Batibou Beach and Douglas Bay.
Live in Dominica yourself via its CBI Programme
With Dominica’s abundance of natural charm, it’s no wonder that hundreds of thousands of people descend on the country each year. But not only is Nature Island a great place to visit, but it’s also a great place to live. And with the country’s citizenship by investment scheme, it’s easier than ever for non-nationals to gain Dominican citizenship and start a new life there.
All individuals need to do is apply to the programme and make a contribution to the country through one of the scheme’s two investment routes: The Economic Diversification Fund or in real estate. Once they have done so, it’s just a matter of waiting for due diligence checks on the applicant to be completed, with almost all successful ones receiving Dominican citizenship within three months. This has benefits beyond being able to live on this beautiful Caribbean island too, including greater travel mobility and fiscal advantages for entrepreneurs.
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So, if you think that living in Dominica could be your next step, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today to discuss things.