The island of Dominica has a special place in the heart of us here at Hike Caribbean. So much so that one of our owner’s, Rob Davies, chose it as the middle name for his four-year old daughter Lily. He hopes to take her there one day. For now, Dominica is closed for tourism whilst it rebuilds from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria. As soon as the infrastructure can support visitors we will add Dominica to our list of islands, but we thought we should tell you a little bit about it anyway.
Unlike all the other islands we feature, Dominica wasn’t part of the sugar trade and there is no history of slavery on the island. The coast of Dominica rises steeply from the ocean on all sides and sugar cane production wasn’t feasible. In fact, the islands original Carib inhabitants name for the island is ‘Waitukubuli’ which means as ‘tall is her body’. There is still a native Carib community on the island, even though it has been established as a British colony since 1805, and they have a settlement in the east of the island.
The geography of Dominica has created a natural paradise of rivers, rainforest, waterfalls and ocean. It is said there are 365 rivers in Dominica one for each day of the year and it is also known as the ‘Nature Isle’. The bio-diversity on Dominica is staggering for a relatively small island and its lush and varied flora and fauna are protected by an extensive natural park system. Visitors can witness four types of hummingbird and two types of parrot which can be seen nowhere else in the world. It is also thought that Dominica has the densest reptile population in the World, comprising numerous lizard species and four snake species including a boa constrictor.
The hiking opportunities on the island are rich and varied. Whereas on most other Caribbean islands two or three days is sufficient to trek a significant part of the island, Dominica has a 14-day hiking trail from North to South. In the North, the Waitukubuli National Trail (http://www.waitukubulitrail.com/) traverses through the highest point on the island Morne Diabolotin which at 4,747 feet is the highest second highest peak in the Leeward islands after La Soufriere in Guadeloupe. Here you may be able to see the endemic Jaco and Sisserou parrots whose image adorns the national flag. In the southern part of the island, the trial goes through the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, a renowned World Heritage Site. The park includes the second largest boiling lake in the World which sits beneath an active volcano as well as the Titou Gorge where you can bath in pools and waterfalls within a steep river gorge. Indeed, the gorge, as well as other parts of the islands, were used extensively in the shooting of the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Unfortunately, though, the trial is currently closed though we will add hiking routes on it into our itineraries as soon as it is repaired.