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Destination inspiration: Dominica

Why go?

Dominica lives life in technicolour. Jewel-hued parrots flit through deep green rainforest canopy, while rainbows dance in the spray of waterfalls. Its dramatic shorelines see towering volcanoes plunge down to black sand beaches and the vivid turquoise sea. Little wonder this is known as ‘the Nature Island’.

Not to be confused with the Dominican Republic, the tiny isle of Dominica (pronounced ‘Dom-in-EE-ka’) was one of the last in the Caribbean to be settled by Europeans. Today its remote Kalinago Territory is the last remaining home of the indigenous Carib people, who gave this region its name.

Hikers flock to Dominica’s mountainous interior, where steep, winding trails lead through lush valleys and steamy tropical forests. The 184-km Waitukubuli National Trail cuts across the island from south to north, taking in historical sites, native culture, and dense unspoilt jungle brimming with iguanas, hummingbirds and orchids.

It’s not just Dominica’s forests that are bursting with life. The island itself simmers with geothermal energy, from bubbling mud pools to the vast Boiling Lake. At Champagne Beach, snorkellers immerse themselves in effervescent waves warmed by volcanic springs, while at Ti Kwen Glo Cho (‘Little Corner of Hot Water’ in the local Creole language), bamboo pipes ferry thermal waters to private tubs – ideal for long, leisurely soaks beneath the stars.

When to go?

Most visitors head to Dominica between December and April for guaranteed high temperatures and sunshine. If price is a priority, you’ll find bargains during the rainy months of June to November. August, September and October are best avoided though – this is peak hurricane season and many local businesses are closed. For a good compromise, May has reliable weather and reasonable prices.

Where to stay?

Fort Young – Roseau, Dominica

Fort Young was built on the site of an 18th-century fortress, looking out across the Caribbean. Its original stone walls and cannons give a historic touch, while the bright, modern rooms include convenient free WiFi and air conditioning. Guests rave about the spectacular sea views and the helpful, welcoming staff.

Manicou River – Portsmouth, Dominica

Manicou River’s treehouse-like bungalows open out onto private balconies, complete with hammocks and jaw-dropping views of the rainforest and sea. This rustic lodge is also highly rated for its location, surrounded by tropical vegetation and just a few minutes’ drive from Tantane Beach and Portsmouth town.

Pagua Bay House ~ Oceanfront Cabana's – Marigot, Dominica

Situated on scenic Pagua Bay, this luxurious property has an infinity pool with dramatic views over the Atlantic Ocean. Polished wood floors and bold red and green walls bring a touch of Caribbean flair to its high-end suites, while the stylish on-site restaurant serves Creole fusion cuisine made with fresh local produce.