Dominica, the Nature Island, is becoming increasingly popular with cruise holidaymakers, with the Discover Dominica Authority reporting a record growth in numbers of cruise passengers for the period 2008-2009.
Dominica saw an impressive 37.2% year-on-year increase in cruise visitors, from 386,000 in 2008 to well over 530,000 in 2009. Overall, the cruise sector generated more than $33 million (£23 million) for the local economy, reinforcing that it is one of the key areas of development for the Caribbean island’s tourism.
Dominica’s authorities also presented the results of the latest Economic Contribution of Cruise Tourism to the Destination Economies report, according to which ‘Guided Tour’ and ‘Taxis/Local Transportation’ have been the two categories ranking consistently high in terms of passenger satisfaction.
Thanks to the abundance of activities and adventures, a visit to Dominica - even if it is just for a day - promises to be unique. Most cruise companies suggest a range of island excursions, but if you are unaware of what to expect, here are some of the best day-trip options that will allow you to experience Dominica’s attractions, landscapes and culture:
- Take a scenic boat ride along the Indian River in Portsmouth and enjoy a refreshing rum punch at the Indian River bush bar, surrounded by tropical plants and wildlife. The Indian River was one of the locations used during the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest
- Get a closer look at Dominica’s lush rainforest on The Rain Forest Aerial Tram in Laudat: passengers take a mile-long journey by gondola through the protected tropical montane rainforest, while knowledgeable guides explain more about the ecosystem.
- Discover your inner thrill seeker with Wacky Rollers Adventure Park at the Layou River, where river tubing, jeep safaris, a 200-foot zip wire course and kayaking are all on offer.
- Uncover the island’s heritage on the Touna Heritage Village Tour where visitors will learn more about Dominica’s indigenous population of Kalinago (Carib Indians) at a living community within the Carib Territory.
- Cookery fans will enjoy one of the Creole cooking tours available. Learn more about local produce and Dominica’s agricultural history before a demonstration of Creole cookery and a delicious meal at the home of your hosts.
- Dominica is renowned for its excellent coral reefs and divers and snorkellers can explore one of the island’s most famous marine sites at Champagne, a spot where warm bubbles rise to the surface of the water from an underground hot spring!
- Nature lovers and hikers alike should take a walk on the Syndicate Nature Trail in the north of the island. This is an ideal opportunity to explore one of Dominica’s forests and possibly even spot the island’s two endemic parrot species, Sisserou and Jaco. The well-maintained paths are suitable for walkers of any ability.
- Dominica has over 300 rivers and many scenic waterfalls. At Trafalgar Falls, twin waterfalls known as the ‘Mamma’ and the ‘Papa’ flow side by side, while Emerald Pool is another easy-to-reach waterfall and a popular swimming spot.
- Dominica’s volcanic origins means it is home to a number of hot sulphur springs where visitors can relax surrounded by the natural sights and sounds of the rainforest.
- Dominica is the only country in the world where sperm whales reside all year round. Whale watching excursions run several days a week during cruise ship season with 80% chances of spotting whales and dolphins.
All of these excursions – plus many more – can be organised upon arrival at the cruise ship terminals in Dominica.
Visitors are reminded only to take tours with certified taxi drivers and tour operators, who can be identified by the gold or blue circular discs on their vehicle’s windscreen. All of Dominica’s certified taxi drivers are trained tour guides and highly knowledgeable about the Nature Island.
Dominica (pronounced Dom-in-ee-ka) is a spectacular green island of rugged mountains, lush rainforests and rushing rivers in the Eastern Caribbean, lying south of Guadeloupe and north of Martinique.