Discovering Dominica, the Nature Island

Sierra Club Outings Trip # 14710A, International

Highlights

  • Discover natural and cultural features of this little-visited island
  • Hike segments of the National Trail
  • Explore waterfalls, reefs, and a sulfur spa
  • Meet the descendants of native, pre-Columbian people

Includes

  • On-island guides and transportation
  • Hotel accommodations at the historic Fort Young Hotel
  • All meals except two dinners
  • All park and spa entrance fees

Details

DatesNov 5–15, 2014
Price$2,695 (10–12)
$3,095 (or fewer)
Deposit$200
Capacity12
StaffJohn Doidge

Trip Overview

Dominica,  the "Nature island," is the Caribbean's best kept secret. Experience this beautiful, little-visited, English-speaking island.

Explore the natural wonders of this virtual Garden of Eden as we traverse sections of the national trail, bathe in a geo-thermal-heated sulfur spa, see tropical rivers and waterfalls flowing through virgin forests, and spy special ocean inhabitants (whales, reef creatures, and more). Enjoy the culture of the friendly Kalinago native people in their protected Carib territory.

Now independent, Dominica was at one time French and more recently British. The official language is English, but native islanders speak a French-African-English patois, too. The population of 70,000 people live primarily in the more flat, coastal areas. Our home-base, the  town of Roseau, is home to the national government and is an occasional port-of-call for Caribbean cruise ships.

Some time will be taken to discover Roseau, and our guides will take us to places of interest in other areas of this magical island country.

Itinerary

Each day of our journey, we will experience the natural beauty and rich cultural traditions of this special island and its friendly people.

Day 1: Arrival and transfer to Fort Young Hotel in Roseau. We will meet at 4 p.m. for our island orientation and outing overview, followed by a hotel reception and dinner.

Day 2: We will travel to Cabrits National Park at the north end of the island for a briefing by an expert historian, followed by a walk. We'll enjoy a picnic lunch at Cabrits, and later dinner at Fort Young.

Day 3: After hiking to Middleham Falls in the rain forest of the Morne Trois Piton National Park, we'll stop for a picnic lunch. Our afternoon will include a relaxing soak in the hot sulfur baths of Screws Spa before we return to Roseau for dinner at Fort Young.

Day 4: More water today! We'll get to snorkel at the unique Champagne Reef and Scott's Head where the Atlantic and Caribbean converge. We'll experience the unique Ti Tou Gorge and waterfall, then break for a picnic lunch. Dinner will be at Fort Young.

Day 5: Today we will potentially do a half day of service work with a local environmental organization. The afternoon will be a good time to explore Roseau before dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 6: Those interested can join the optional hike of segment five on the Waitukubuli National Trail (12 km; 5-6 hours), ending at the Emerald Pool within the Mt. Trois Piton rainforest. We'll stop for a picnic lunch on the trail along the way. Dinner will be at Fort Young.

Day 7: Today we will visit botanical gardens in Roseau. After lunch at Fort Young, we'll spend the afternoon whale watching. Dinner will be at a local restaurant.

Day 8: We'll visit an organic farm and Trafalgar Falls, stopping for a picnic lunch. Dinner will be at Fort Young.

Day 9: Today we will have the Kalinago Experience, learning about the life and culture of the Kalinago people, descendants of the Caribbean's pre-Columbian people. We'll take a short hike along a trail used by their ancestors to access the ocean. Lunch will be at the Kalinago model village.

Day 10: This morning we'll have an early departure for the famous Boiling Lake hike (optional), a moderate to strenuous hike that will take 6 to 8 hours. We'll eat our picnic lunch trailside. Tonight will be our last dinner together at Fort Young.

Day 11: Transfer to airport for departure.

We will strive to follow this itinerary, understanding that weather or other unforeseen circumstances may require changes. “Easy” rated hikes are challenging especially for those of us accustomed to living in flat places, so consider all hikes optional.

Photos

Details

Getting There

As of this writing there are no non-stop flights from the continental U.S., but there are good connecting flights via San Juan, Puerto Rico and St. Maarten. Also, there is frequent ferry service from the French island of Guadeloupe. The trip leader will suggest some travel options once you are approved for this outing.

Accommodations and Food

Our hotel of choice is the Fort Young on the waterfront in Roseau. Our comfortable rooms, with two people to a room, are in the historic part of the hotel, near the hotel lobby and lounge and a short walk to the swimming pool.

Most dinners will be local cuisine at the Fort Young. Two dinners will be at participants' expense at local restaurants. Most lunches will be prepared box lunches from the Fort Young. Vegetarians can be accommodated.

Trip Difficulty

Hiking the Waitukubuli National Trail can be challenging! Some trails consist of moss-covered, rounded rocks. Hiking poles are a must. 

Depending upon surf and current conditions, snorkeling is above beginner level, i.e. you should be a good swimmer and experienced at snorkeling.

Safety is always the primary concern, which will determine whether or not you should participate in these optional activities.

Equipment and Clothing

Snorkeling equipment will be provided (or bring your own). You will need broken-in hiking boots with “non-slip” soles and hiking poles.

Conservation

Sierra Club is an environmentally focused entity. We are concerned about conservation and sustainability of resources, both locally and globally. Our work is accomplished by volunteers, aided by a salaried staff, encouraging grassroots involvement. Our outings seek to empower participants toward environmentally understanding parallel, environmental concerns at home and abroad.

Dominica, the Nature Island, faces a number of conservation issues. With most of the population residing near the sea, rising oceans due to climate change are a clear threat. Dominica has been spared over-development until now, but there are persistent efforts by foreign interests to tap into Dominica's natural resources, including geo-thermal energy. We will learn more about these issues during our journey.

Staff

Leader:

John Doidge, leader, has participated in, cooked for, and led trips in island locales, including Culebra, Vieques, St. John, St. Croix, Maui, Royale and Manhattan, and other remote corners of the western U.S. and Italy. Whenever he can, he is exploring: new languages and cultures, hiking, skiing, pedaling, or paddling. He believes that being present in the outdoors is the best way for us to connect our core values with love of the natural world.

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