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.
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)
Syndicate Estate in the north of the island is a magnet for those interested in seeing Dominica's unique Sisserou Parrot.
Often overlooked though is a great little waterfall not far off the road on the way to Syndicate: Milton Falls. Get your tour guide to take you - it's a pleasant, short walk from the trail and well worth it.
Emerald Pool was the final stop on our trip, like Trafalgar Falls it is also located in Morne Trois Pitons National Park but the two are not close together as the park is quite huge. By the time we got there it was jammed with other cruise passengers and there was a line to get close enough to the pool so that you could take a quick dip in the cool water. Most of the people standing in line were merely taking pictures, very few of them got into the water. The water is certainly cold but after a long day of being out in the sun, the cool water felt good after your body got used to it.
It's listed in my guidebook as the most visited tourist attraction on the island and that is easy to believe based on the number of people there. There is a $5 fee to access the trail to get to the Emerald Pool, once again not included in the price of our tour. The walk to get there is 15-20 minutes, you can take a different trail back to the car park that goes by a view of the Atlantic Ocean.
If you stop here, you'll want to have a bathing suit (you can probably change at the office as I believe they had restrooms), towel and at least strapped sandals as you are climbing up and down to get to the pool.
Right in the heart of the island, there is a natural pool hidden in the green forest. This pool is called the Emerald Pool, and it's a very nice place to visit during a tour around the island.
When arriving at the parking lot it takes a ten minutes walk to get to the pool. This walk leads you through the fantastic environment in this part of Dominica. The tropical forest has natural surprises every ten metres and even without the Emerald Pool this walk is a great trip already.
But then, at the bottom of the path, you end up at the pool itself. The water here is very, very cold, but still there are lots of people to take a swim here. I tried it too, but really this temperature is nothing for me... :) The view over here is amazing too though.
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
Trafalgar Falls seems to be on every visitors list, fortunately our guide got us there shortly before all of the ship excursions started showing up. The falls, located in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, were just a 10 minute walk from where we parked, there is a $5 fee to enter the park that was not included in the price quoted for our tour. There are two falls here, the 125 foot tall Father and the wider 95 foot tall Mother. Those of us on a non ship excursion could walk down closer to the Falls, the ship passengers had to stop at the viewing platform. I read that you could go in the water but I didn't see anyone doing this and our guide didn't mention it.
The guidebook I was reading suggests you might want a to guide to get you to Trafalgar Falls but really you can just follow the herd of people if it's a cruise ship day. The walk was not terribly strenuous but you should at least have strapped sandals especially if you go past the viewing platform, those people I saw with flip flops were struggling a bit.
The first place you'll probably see after arriving on Dominica, is the capital Roseau. Although it is only a small town, with not more then 20.000 inhabitants, it is a busy city, with a packed centre.
Roseau has no big, famous sights, but it's still a very interesting place to visit. What is most striking are the big amount of old, stone building. These are left behind by the British and they look like they will be there in the streets for at least another 100.000 years. But just as the many wooden buildings that you'll find here, these British buildings are slowly turning into Caribbean buildings. The way they are painted, the sounds that come out of them, the smells that surround them. In the streets of Roseau you really see that the Dominicans are slowly taking over their island after the British left here in 1980.
Some interesting places to see in Roseau are the old Cathedral uptown, the markets, the Botanical Gardens (also uptown) and of course the almost daily cruiseship at the dock. When a cruiseship comes in, this immediately is the biggest and tallest building on the island.
And besides that Roseau has some nice places to go to in the evening to drink a Kubuli, it has some fine restaurants, and it pretty much is the only place on the island where you can find a selection of cheaper places to sleep.
The "Carib Territory" is located on the eastern seacoast, just north of central and south of Marigot. These are the original natives of Dominica and you can see several examples of their homes and art there. The picture shows a tribal home.
In the northeast of Dominica you will find the so called Carib Territory. This is an area where some of the last original inhabitants of the Caribbean islands live: the Caribs. As soon as Christopher Columbus landed on Dominica in 1493, the Caribs where treated brutally as slaves or were just being killed when they had no further value for the colonialists. The Spanish, the British and the French all had this same way of treating these Indians.
This mistreatment was so severe that the Caribs almost reached a state of extinction, and today only 3.000 of them are left, most of them living in the Carib Territory. This is where they can still practise their own culture: the houses are different, the language they speak is different, they have their own handicraft, their own dances, and they look different. In the faces on this part of the island you can clearly see the Indian/Asian roots that you don't see in the black population of the island.
The Carib Territory is mainly interesting because of this culture, but apart from that it's just a wonderful area with beautiful nature, great view over the inland of the island and over the ocean, and with exciting curvy roads that lead you all the way from Castle Bruce to Marigot, straight through the Territory.
Absolutely the most spectacular site I've been to on Dominica are the Trafalgar Falls. At a 40-minutes from Roseau, high in the Dominican mountains, you'll find these twin-falls in a lush, tropical forest. And as if the beautiful sight of the falls is not enough, these are some natural hot springs with wonderfully warm water too!
When you arrive at the visitors centre it is only a short walk to the viewpoint from where you have a nice view of the falls. A satisfying view you would say, but when you go further down from here, past the "at own risk" sign, the beauty opens up even further. After a few minutes of descending you arrive at a small stream where the water is yellow. These are the natural hot springs. Pay attention when getting in (the rocks are slippery) and enjoy the wonderful water of this natural jacuzzi!
And go a little bit further and you'll end up at the river at the base of the waterfalls. Here the water is much, much colder, but the views are fantastic! View of the Falls, and views of the valley down below.
At the visitors station they will offer you a guide for the walk to and around the Falls, but I don't think that is necessary. The path of pretty clear and not too difficult to walk, so you'd better keep that money in your pocket...
You must go to Emerald Pool in Dominica! This place is AWESOME. Go early so you can beat the crowds. Pictures do not do this place justice. It was simply amazing.
The hike down was easy enough for kids too, you should be in good physical condition for the hike down and back up. A few older folks were a little winded, but it is easy enough to do. About a 10 - 15 min walk each way.
With three cruise ships in port the day we visited, I had waited too long to book the most highly recommended tour guide on the Cruisecritic.com boards Bumpiing Tours but I found another recommendation for Reyno Tours. They don't have a website but they are easily reachable by email. They wrote me back very quickly and suggested that we take a group tour instead of a private tour and that they would hit the most popular locations on the island. The cost was $40 per person plus we had to pay the $5 admission to both Emerald Pool and Trafalgar Falls bringing the cost per person to $50. They didn't provide any drinks or a snack but we did stop at Mr. Nice's fruit stand where we could sample some fruit and all of the stops had vendors selling drinks.
Reyno wasn't our guide as he was doing another tour, I can't remember the name of our guide but she was knowledgable about the island, just not very enthusiastic. Our tour was in an air conditioned van with 13 people in total. We started with a visit to Trafalgar Falls, a very brief stop to see a sulfur spring at Wotten Waven, a drive through the Botanic Gardens, a visit to Mr. Nice's fruit stand and the final stop of the day was the Emerald Pool. We were going to continue on to Champagne Reef but our guide didn't seem very enthusiastic about it and quite frankly I had been disappointed in the other stops on the tour so we ended up just heading back to the ship early. When the driver called back to Reyno, he seemed genuinely disappointed that we didn't go to Champagne Reef as did the driver but the guide certainly didn't seem disappointed.
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.
> 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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DEFUNCT Reserve naturelle indienne, Aeroport de melville, Concord Village, , 12975, Caribbean
Good for: Couples
Bobby Frederick is the owner, tour guide, leader, general all around helper and just plain good...more
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