Beginning at Titou Gorge and ending at Boiling Lake, the twelve-mile (roundtrip) Boiling Lake hike is nothing short of a beast. Generally considered to be Dominica’s preeminent hike, the trek winds up and down narrow mountain ridges, crosses cold and warm water streams, and passes through a combination of landscapes ranging from lush rainforest to a seemingly barren wasteland of crusted lava, steaming sulfur vents, and inviting hot springs (aptly named the Valley of Desolation). At the end lies the world’s second largest boiling lake, a rather unimpressive crater full of steaming and bubbling boiling gray water. Interestingly, the lake instantly dried up on the exact day the devastating tsunami hit Southeast Asia in 2004, a mystery scientists are still attempting to unravel. Expect the hike, which requires a guide ($40 is the going rate), to take the better part of a day and to include a mixed bag with regard to the weather. Nearly every step is either up or down, with the former being murder on the quads and lungs and the latter being murder on the knees, but it is well worth doing if you have the time and inclination.
I had originally picked to do the four hour bus trip with a walk to the Emerald Pool, but a flyer came out which said that Accessible Dominica which had an optional and shorter walk to a pool at Jaco Falls was available, so I switched. I understand that the authorities in Dominica want to restrict the access to the Emerald Pool in order to keep it from being spoiled by tourism.
On the tour we took, the roads were very steep and twisty, and the bus often sounded as if it was laboring. Eventually got to the waterfall, which was very pretty (and very photogenic) but not spectacularly tall.
There were concrete steps (photo 3) down to the level of the stream, and a boardwalk (photo 4) to walk along the side of the stream.
One of the men was going to swim in the pool, but he said it was only about 18 inches deep - not even enough to float in. They had fruit and drinks for us there and also woven grass baskets and the like for sale.
The Gardens were started by the Crown in 1889 on land which was formerly a sugar cane plantation. The planting of the Gardens began in 1890. The 40 acre gardens are the largest tract of semi-open land in Roseau. It is the setting for cricket matches, national parades and cultural celebrations, religious open air ceremonies and recreational activities. Space was also given to a school
There are two distinct sections: an ornamental section and an economic section. The latter was devoted to research and the propagation of plants of economic importance. The ornamental section was once exquisitely landscaped with ponds, ornate iron gates, a fountain, and up to 500 species of exotic and indigenous trees and shrubs to enhance the beauty of and interest in the site. Subsequently, between 80 and 100 different types of palms were also planted. Hurricane David did a lot of damage to the trees in the garden, but there are still plants of interest. On the first tour we went through the botanical garden and the guide explained about the trees and plants there (which were numbered and she had a list of what they were).which are numbered so that they can be identified. The van driver on the second trip also drove through the gardens.
The Gardens is open every day from 6 am - 7 pm.
The base station is at an altitude of approx. 2,000 feet
The tram car held 8 people (4 seats with two people) plus a guide sitting in the back. They went up to the top of the mountain on the lower track and came back down on the upper track. First, we had someone take a car around the whole system to be sure it was all working. It was kind of wet, and before we got in, two people wiped down and squeeged the water off the seats.
There was a plastic cover over the tram, and I observed that there was less water on the back seats, so that's where I aimed for. We didn't bother to get rain ponchos from the store, and of course an umbrella would be useless. I had a digital camera, and also a film camera in case it really started to rain.
Our guide (who was named Nigel) that rode with us told us many interesting facts about the plants and flowers we were seeing and also identified the bird calls and told us interesting things about the tram and the island. The trunks of Gomier and Chataignier trees are host to a miriad of vines, ferns, anthuriums, bromeliads and other non-vascular epiphytes. The forest floor below is decorated with heliconias, sedges, orchids and a wide variety of ferns, including several species of tree fern. As we approached the top, it started to rain a good bit and I put away the digital camera.
We could have gotten off at the top and walked down and across a suspension bridge and get back on the tram at a lower stop. But since it was raining harder, we decided not to do that. The upper track is 150 feet higher, and we could see across the canopy to Morne Micotrin (4,006ft.), Morne Anglais (3,683ft.) and the Caribbean Sea. The entire ride lasts for approx. 70 minutes
Price: per person........................ US$55.00
per child up to age 12 years..... US$30.00
children under age 2 years.................. Free
Just wander, browse around the stalls (and barter!) turn a few corners to get away from the main streets, shop in the commercial shops ---lots of jewellers and trinket sellers.
Beware: Saturday is early closing ---and so if you are coming off a cruise ship then do check the shopping hours carefully.
Dominica is extremely fortunate to have not just reliable telcommunications infrastructure, but also one that has blossomed due to a recent liberalisation of a long-standing monopoly.
Telecoms services are provided by Cable & Wireless, Marpin Telecommunications, Orange and AT&T/Cingular/Digicel. Internet access ranges from dial-up to always-on DSL, cable modems and dedicated lines such as 256kb up to T1.
Wireless access to the Net is offered by many hotels - view our Accommodation Listings.
There are also a growing number of wi-fi hot-spots around the island. Melville Hall Airport is one example.
CornerhouseCafe (King Geroge V St.) 449-9000
Cyberland (Woodstone SHopping Mall) 440-2605
Business Training Center (Great George St.) 448-0248
Building Service Centre 445-4303
(Also in Picard 445-6448)
Its in the southeast, direction Soufriere- Scotts Head.
Take the new boardwalk to the end of the beach, be carefull of the stones.
There is a rubber mat here to help to go into the water.
The beach is famous for the volcanic underwater hot spring. You actually swim through the tiny bubbles. Enjoy the ocean, some coral and the fishes too.
Sari- Sari- Waterfalls
Near the village of La Plaine you’ll find this waterfalls. But there are no signs to find the way. So you have to take a guide or you ask for the way, maybe you get an answer :)
The 1-2 hour hike takes you through the forest and through the river. You also need shoes to go to the river.
To swim near the falls you have to climb through 3 big stones or find your own way, certainly not suited for everybody. But you can still enjoy a view from a small platform and a swim further down the river, no need to go all the way.
Make this 5- 6- 7- 8 hours hike!
It starts in the village Laudat ( don’t forget to buy an entry-ticket for the park).
After the first easier part of the hike you need power! The way winds up to the summit ( have a short break and enjoy the overview) and then down into the Valley of Desolation ( sulphur springs and boiling water) Keep going, after 20 min you’ll reach the Boiling lake.
When we visited the lake it was still boiling J
Take a refreshing bath in the Titou Gorge after the hike. It works just fine!
Chances are you will meet Moses (dubbed "keeper of the falls" on one web site) or one his family members at the start of this trail. A welcoming host and a pleasure to meet! Ask if they will cook for you and at the end of your hike you can try some authentic Ital food. Victoria Falls is on private property and you will be asked to pay a small parking/user fee.
It is possible to do this hike on your own. Just stay with the river and don't take any paths that lead away from it. You will be required to do several river crossings. At one point you will see a dry (stone) riverbed to the right. Take this instead of the river as it leads back to the water and is a easier path. Stay to the left on your final approach where you will have to do tricky boulder climbing before reaching the falls. I did find it difficult choosing a path over and around the large slippery boulders and gladly joined a french couple and their guide who happened along. The falls are a lovely sight and a nice spot for a swim.
As always, a guide will make this hike a more enjoyable and safer experience. You can hire one at the start of the trail. Victoria Falls rates high among all the hikes I took in Dominica.
My wife & I first came to Dominica on a cruise ship in 2000. We chose Middleham Falls as our shore excursion. A combination of this hike, the islands natural beauty, our tour guide's (Peter Green) genuine friendliness, and the sense that a stay on the island could be an adventure and not just another beach holiday instilled in me a desire to return. Several trails lead to the falls. I believe the one we took started in the village of Cochran. Once on the trail it began to rain off & on, very appropriate, as it is a rain forest. In places gnarled roots cover the trail. A tree spontaneously fell & loudly crashed to the forest floor. I wonder if we weren't there would it have made a noise?! ;-). A cleared opening in the forest provided a great viewing spot of the tall slim falls. Soaking in the pool below was like being in a storm as the heavy spray of the thundering water pelts your body and face. The guide climbed part way up the falls and jumped into the pool. To finish off the trek our tour group stopped at a hotel and sat on the terrace over looking a valley and enjoyed cool refreshments.
I parked on the bay front in Roseau and wandered through the city to reach the gardens. Once there I watched children playing cricket for a moment then continued on to the bird sanctuary. It was closed as it was the birds breeding season. Guess they like privacy ;-) . Next to the sanctuary is Jacks Walk which I took up to Morne Bruce. Great spot for a panoramic picture of Roseau, if you came in by ship you will see it in the port from here. I walked a bit around Morne Bruce, very peaceful. Back in the gardens I saw a school bus crushed beneath a tree during Hurricane David. Just across the road from the bus is an amazing Giant Ficus tree.
Things I liked about Roseau --
- Getting a hair cut by a true gentlemen barber and chatting with the customers. If a young person came into the shop without a giving a proper greeting the barber would sent him out to try again!!
- The breakfast buffet at Fort Young Hotel had a good selection and service. The dining room has a wonderful view of the port and coast all the way to Scotts Head. --
- People were very nice and helpful with directions. --
- Astaphans for quick obligatory gifts to bring home. --
- The library with its warm atmosphere. Make a contribution to its up keep if you can. --
- Botanic Gardens --
Things I did not like about Roseau --
- Even though I had a map I felt lost most of the time. --
- The store & restaurant fronts don't draw you in. I would suggest having specific stores & restaurants in mind and asking for directions to them. --
- Compared to Dominica's natural beauty the city felt old and drab. --
If you go out to Syndicate or Morne Diablotins you might as well stop and take in the short , easy and satisfying trek to Milton Falls. At a brisk pace, it took only 40 - 50 minutes return to complete and I left with a smile on my face. Ask your tour guide to take you there. For the guideless - Along the road to Syndicate look for a shack on the left hand side with a small hand painted (white background) sign that says "Whitnel". A few feet past the shed on the right hand side of the road you will see a dirt road going into farming land . Park there. Although signs warn of 'no trespassing' and made me wary to continue, I asked field workers and a passing motorist and all said it was o.k. to go to the falls. Take the dirt road straight up, do not go right. Passing through the tropical farmers fields was interesting to me as it was so far out of my normal existence. I passed a workers shed close to the road and asked if they had any cold drinks to sell. I bought a Kubuli Beer for $2 US. The river is was only 2 minutes past this shed. Go up stream following the river.
> Toucari Beach - NW coast --
Only stopped for a picture on my way to Capucine, looked like a nice quiet spot for a snorkel.
> Batali Beach - mid west coast --
Stopped here for a river bath and took a stroll on the stone beach.
> Mero Beach - mid west coast --
Visited here on two different trips. The first time I was on the beach in front of Castaways resort, watching the sunset. You can use Castaways facility's for a small fee. It has a very nice setting on the sand beach with a airy bar. The second visit was further down the beach on the opposite side of a river that breaks it. Here the feeling is more of a community beach. Nice spot with at least one beach bar, store and shower. My favorite west coast beach for swimming.
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