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The Caribbean Island of Dominica is a pretty unique place to visit, this is not the type of island you visit if you want to sit on a beach or lie by a pool all day. Dominica is full of adventure, its full of nature, and the activities in Dominica reflect this.
With that being said, Dominica is a very popular stop on Caribbean Cruises. Cruise Boats dock for a day in Dominica from October to April and there can be 2-3 cruise ships at a time.
Dominica has a mountainous landscape, it’s roads are full of bends and they are not particularly practical for buses taking cruise ship day-trippers around Dominica and because of this, there are several places in Dominica that are part of the usual ‘cruise ship day tours’ as they are easier to reach.
If you’re having your vacation in Dominica during October to April you may find that some places such as Trafalgar Falls, Titou Gorge and Champagne Reef get a little busy, and if you’ve already looked on lists of things to do in Dominica you’ll see that activities such as Diving and the Boiling Lake Hike are recommended in all lists.
These are all good places to visit in Dominica but if you’re wanting to avoid the crowds during cruise ship season or wanting to do an activity that’s a bit different and more adventurous, here are 10 unique things to do in Dominica based on my trip to Dominica with Discover Dominica.
If you’d rather SEE Dominica, have a watch of my YouTube video here:
Middleham Fall is located in the middle of the rainforest and to get there you’ll have to hike for one hour. The hike is not particularly hard, there is a lot of up’s and down’s, and a lot of rocks which can be a bit slippy so you need to watch your footing, but once you arrive at the waterfall it is totally worth it!
You can bathe in one of the many pools that have been created from the waterfall and even swim in the pool right underneath the waterfall so make sure you put on your swimwear for the walk!
If you’re self-driving around Dominica you can do the walk yourself as its signposted pretty well, or you can get a local guide who will point out lots of nature along the way and give you information about the island. I can recommend Marvin Philbert as a great hiking guide in Dominica as I did the Middleham Falls walk with him, his email is boboriggy07 @ gmail.com.
I would say Middleham Fall is the best waterfall in Dominica so don’t miss it!
Freshwater Lake is in the Morne Trios Pitons National Park, the largest National Park in Dominica. There’s a trail that goes all the way around the lake so you can go on a nice, leisurely walk and if the weather’s good you can swim in the lake and rent a kayak. When kayaking around Freshwater Lake there are lots of coves to kayak down where you can see birds and lots more nature.
Do be warned that the Lake is pretty high, therefore it can sometimes be covered in cloud and be very windy and cold. It was like this when I visited in July but my guide assured me that somedays it is totally calm and sunny there!
If you want an adrenaline-filled adventure activity in Dominica you have to go Canyoning with Extreme Dominica because Dominica is home to some of the most spectacular canyons in the world.
A canyoning experience lasts 4 hours, you don’t need to have any experience, and if you are a bit nervous (which is to be expected) you don’t need to be as the staff who run Extreme Dominica are friendly and will reassure you!
Travel Insurance for Dominica
Remember that you’ll need travel insurance for Dominica and some policies do not include the Caribbean so if you have annual cover, check you are covered. Secondly, activities such as Canyoning are not included in standard travel insurance so make sure you take out additional adventure cover.
I use Wold Nomads who offer a good range of adventure cover and you can start your cover with them even if you are not in your home country so if you’re in Dominica now and have just realised you’re not covered, you can get a quote from them here!
TripAdvisor will tell you that Mero Beach is the best beach in Dominica but locals will tell you that Batibou Beach is the best beach in Dominica. After seeing both, there’s no doubt about it!
Batibou Bay has to be on your list of places to see in Dominica because this secret beach is a true gem! If you’re wondering how to get to Batibou Bay, it’s located a bit out of the way in the North East of the country close to the airport. To drive to Batibou Bay you have to go down an incredibly bumpy track and it costs $5USD or $13.00 ECD per person to enter, but it’s worth it.
This beach is completely wild and will more than likely be empty too. There’s nothing fancy here, no beach bars, not even a toilet, but there’s palm trees, soft sand and gentle waves making it pure paradise. Batibou Beach shows that Dominica really is the nature island of the Caribbean with some amazing beaches.. you just have to find them!
Related Post: My Full Dominica Travel Guide!
If you’re looking for things to do in Roseau or perhaps the city seems too busy with people, you can walk or drive up to Morne Bruce Viewpoint to see a view over the city and ocean.
The city of Roseau is pretty small and there are not that many tourist attractions in Roseau but that’s why it’s so nice and why it keeps its local charm. However, on a Saturday morning, there is a Saturday Market, the market mainly sells fresh fruits and vegetables and it’s a very local market so it’s nice to walk around for a bit and see local life.
With that being said, I did find that some of the market stall owners didn’t like us taking photos and some were not overly welcoming, which is totally ok and understandable as it is their Saturday market, so if you do go, make sure you’re mindful and respectful of what you’re taking photos of.
If you like Caribbean Food why not get involved and take a Caribbean Cooking Class with Cooking Caribbean? The JTAS Experience takes you to Daria’s house and kitchen not far from Roseau where she’ll teach you to cook local Caribbean foods such as Titiri Fishcakes, Plantain, Rice and Beans. She likes to cook with Rum so you’ll be in for a few Rum tastings too!
The cooking class lasts just a few hours so it’s a great activity to do in Dominica if you’re on a Caribbean Cruise stopping at Dominica for the day! You can contact Daria on her Facebook Page here and you might recognise her as she was on the famous Ainsley’s Cooking in the Caribbean series!
This may not be a unique thing to do in Dominica as Dominica is known for its Whale Watching but the fact that you can see Whales all year round in Dominica is very unique for the Caribbean and the rest of the World!
Whale Watching Tours in Dominica only happen on Sundays in the South through Dive Dominica leaving from Roseau. This is who I went Whale Watching with and I recommend them as they know the Whales well and are respectful of them. If you’re staying further North near Portsmouth there are companies that offer Whale Watching trips in Dominica during the week but I’d say Dive Dominica is the best company to use, and the cheapest.
Of course, you’re never guaranteed to see Whales because they are wild animals, but the crew are experts and the chances of seeing Sperm Whales in Dominica is very high all year round. We saw 3 Sperm Whales- one baby and two adults, plus lots of playful Dolphins.
Related Post: What Whale Watching in Dominica is really like!
The Kalinago people were the first settlers on the island of Dominica and the Kalinago Territory sits along East Dominica made up of 3783 acres of land for the 3500 population of Kalinago people to live on.
The best way to learn more about the heritage of the Kalinago people is to visit the Kalinago cultural centre. The centre is open all year and all week from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm for people to pass by. If you’re self-driving around Dominica it’s easy to get to and only a few miles from the airport.
At the cultural centre, I learned about the history of the Kalinago people including how they came to the island, and also the current situation including learning about the chief who looks after the land and how things work for them in the modern-day.
It was a really interesting experience and in high season they have various cultural activities and entertainment on such as basket weaving, dance groups performing and walks around the area are on offer.
For an even deeper experience, they offer homestays in traditional housing with residents of the Kalinago territory.
Bertrand Jno Baptiste, also known as Dr Birdy is a bit of an institution in Dominica. He’s been guiding tours for over 30 years but he’s been interested in birds and nature since he was a young boy.
I was lucky enough to spend a few hours with Dr Birdy in the Syndicate Nature Trail on the lookout for endemic birds including the Imperial Amazon Parrott which is the rarest Parrott in the world. With Dr Birdies excellent knowledge of these birds and the rainforest, we were able to see not one, but two, through his telescope.
If you’re a keen bird watcher you have to book a tour with Dr Birdy and if you’re not but you want to know more about the nature of this island and do something different, I recommend bird watching in Dominica as I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.
Dr Birdy can tailor tours to your needs based on what you want to see, he said people often come with a bird checklist which he will do his best to find for you and he can often see up to 45 species of birds in a full-day tour, so either way you’re in for a really unique experience!
Dr Birdy can be contacted via email to discuss and book a tour: drbirdy2 @ cwdom.dm.
Dominica offers a weekly site pass which covers entrance fee’s into various sites and national parks. A pass is very reasonable in price costing $12.00 USD / $32.04 ECD. Dominica National Park site passes can be purchased from tour operators and car hire agencies in Dominica, and from official sites around the island such as the Forestry, Wildlife & Parks Division on Valley Road or in the Botanical Gardens in Roseau. These passes will really help you save money on attraction fees in Dominica and encourage you to see more of the island!
To help you plan where to see in Dominica and how to do all of these activities, I’ve noted them all on this map for you:
All that’s left to say is to make sure you’re ready for an adventurous holiday in Dominica!
For more information on Dominica, be sure to check out my Full Dominica Travel Guide!
For Travel Insurance in Dominica, I recommend World Nomads.
If you’d rather SEE Dominica, have a watch of my YouTube video here!
My trip to Dominica was with Discover Dominica and Traverse Events however all thoughts and opinions are my own.
I’m Ellie Quinn!
I’m a travel addict who has been travelling on and off since 2010. In the Summer of 2018 I quit my office job in London, left my flat and I now travel and blog full time! Yes, I’m living that dream!
NOV-DEC: PROBABLY INDONESIA
If you want to join or read more about the details of the group tour.