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Dominica is a popular stop on cruises around the Caribbean. Due to Dominica’s mountainous landscape (it isn’t called the nature island of the Caribbean for nothing) it can be hard to get around the island in one day and some roads are not practical for big buses. Therefore, there are several cruise ship day excursions in Dominica that are popular and most cruise ship tourists go on. These include Trafalgar Falls, Titou Gorge, Champagne Reef and the Emerald Pool.
These are good day tours in Dominica but only if you don’t mind sharing the experience with a lot of other people as 2-3 cruises can dock in Dominica at once.
If you’re looking for something a bit different and a way to avoid the cruise ship crowds in Dominica, here are 6 Dominica day trips that not as many people will visit or go on based on my experience in Dominica with Discover Dominica.
Related Post: My Full Travel Guide to Dominica!
If you’d rather SEE Dominica, have a watch of my YouTube video here:
Dominica Day Tours!
1. Indian River Boat Tour.
The Indian River is one of 365 rivers in Dominica and it makes for a relaxing but adventurous activity. The Indian River starts up near Portsmouth which is Dominica’s second-biggest city. The drive from Roseau, where the cruise ships dock, and Portsmouth is one hour along the beautiful west coast of the island passing many villages on the way. A taxi driver will be able to drive you from Roseau to Portsmouth where the boats leave from. There were issues along this road after the hurricane but the road is now clear so don’t let that put you off if you hear otherwise.
A small canoe will take you and up to 6 passengers along the palm tree-lined river deep into the island. Nature is abundant in Dominica so look out for fish, birds, crabs and lizards while on the boat.
The halfway point after about 30 minutes of cruising along the river is a bush bar. In here they sell many types of rum for $10.00 ECD each. I can recommend the passionfruit rum, the coconut rum not so much!
After you’ve had a rum, or two, from here you’ll get back on the boat and head back to where you started via a building that was used in the Pirates of the Caribbean film Dead Man’s Chest.
The Indian River Boat Tour is a great way to see a really natural side of Dominica without the crowds!
After being on a cruise ship for so long you might want a bit of adrenaline when you get off at Dominica and you can get this by going Canyoning with Extreme Dominica on what has been rated as the best tour in Dominica!
Be sure to book a place with them in advance, take your swimwear and covered shoes and before you know it you’ll be jumping off of waterfalls and experiencing some of the most impressive canyons in the world!
If that isn’t enough, the Canyoning tours in Dominica end at Titou Gorge which is one of the most popular places to visit in Dominica, this way you can still see Titou Gorge as it is worth seeing and swimming through until you get to the waterfall at the end.
If you like the idea of this Dominica cruise ship excursion but feel a bit nervous, don’t be as the team at Extreme Dominica will make you feel safe and confident!
3. Caribbean Cooking Class.
A popular cruise ship day tour in Dominica is to take part in a cooking class, you can do this with the JTAS Experience Cooking Caribbean. Daria runs the Dominica Cooking School from her home and the best thing is is that the numbers are limited so it can’t be overrun with people and you will have an enjoyable Caribbean cooking experience.
A cooking class in Dominica will teach you how to make things such as plantain, local creole fish, rice and beans and you’ll do some cooking with rum because this is the Caribbean after all!
Daria can be contacted on her Facebook Page here.
4. Diving in Dominica.
Getting into the waters of Dominica is a great cruise ship activity in Dominica because Dominica offers world-class diving!
You’ll need to book a place in advance and although the ocean is pretty calm on the Caribbean side of the island, I’d say that due to time restraints you should be a confident diver and have the relevant qualifications.
There are serval dive shops in Dominica which include Nature Island Dive in the South which is a beautiful part of Dominica. Dive Dominica just outside of the main city Roseau. Salt Dominica which is located at the North of the island, and there’s also a Dive Shop in Fort Young Hotel which is next door to the cruise ship docking point and therefore very handy logistically for cruise ship visitors to Dominica.
If you’re in a group or with a friend or partner, and only one of you wants to dive, the other should be able to go snorkelling off of the dive boat which is what I did.
5. Kalinago Cultural Centre.
If you want to learn more about the history of Dominica and it’s indigenous people, take a visit to the Kalinago cultural centre.
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.
Getting from Roseau to the Kalinago Territory takes about one hour of driving through the island passing some beautiful viewpoints and many different microclimates so you’ll get a good feel of Dominica from the drive alone!
At the cultural centre, you’ll learn about the history of the Kalinago people including how they came to the island and the current situation including learning about the chief who looks after the land and how things work for them in the modern-day.
During the high season which is when the cruise ships dock in Dominica, they have various cultural activities and entertainment on offer such as basket weaving, dance groups performing and walks around the area so you’ll be in for a cultural but enjoyable day.
They also have a cafe and shop.
6. Driving Tour of Dominica.
Finally, the best way to see Dominica on a day tour is to drive yourself around the island! Dominica is stunning with so much to see from beaches, national parks, waterfalls, hot springs and lakes.
If you’re a Pirates of the Caribbean fan you’ll know that Dead Man’s Chest was mostly filmed in Dominica and although some of the filming locations are no longer in good condition due to Hurricane Maria and the lack of upkeep, you can still visit some places and by trying to find them, you’ll see even more of the island!
I would recommend renting a car through Happy Car Rentals as we used them on our trip to Dominica and they offer a range of vehicles perfect for getting around the mountainous island. Just be sure that you are a confident driver because the roads have a lot of bends!
In this post I reveal the best beach in Dominica that you can drive to! 10 Unique Things To Do On The Island of Dominica.
There you have it! The perfect day tours in Dominica to avoid the cruise ships crowds!
If you’d rather SEE Dominica, have a watch of my YouTube video here!
To read more about Dominica see:
My trip to Dominica was with Discover Dominica and Traverse Events however all thoughts and opinions are my own.