An Island Tailor-Made for Walkers
In a landscape dominated by forest green, a network of footpaths follow cliff-rimmed beaches, lead through gorges and rivers valleys to reach postcard-perfect waterfalls, or climb rainforest-clad slopes to reach bubbling mud baths, alpine lakes and mountaintop views. The Caribbean's longest hiking trail winds its way across the island's central spine, passing through six climate zones, the homeland of the indigenous Carib people, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a National Park that encompasses the world’s second largest Boiling Lake. Some routes are challenging, while others deliver a relaxing stroll that leads to a refreshing swim in an emerald-green pool of water.
- Best for: Everyone, watersports and spa enthusiasts & adventurers from soft to rugged
- Best season to visit: Year round, drier January - April
- Weather: Trade winds and forests keep temperatures mild throughout the year. Wintertime lows run in the mid 70s, while summer rarely sees daytime temperatures above the mid 80s
Hiking in Dominica Overview
More than two-thirds of Dominica is covered in forests, and accessible only by footpaths. Waterfalls abound on more than 360 rivers originating in the island's interior mountains, and many trails follow river valleys upward. Other routes cling to ridge tops or skirt beaches. This diversity creates opportunities for all levels of hikers, from those seeking an easy afternoon stroll to adventurers who make multi-day treks across the island.
Hiking in Dominica Tips
Many of Dominica's more popular trails are well-marked and mapped, but others are not. Rather than go it on their own, many hikes take advantage of guide services. Guides can help plan routes based on changing trail conditions and are a wealth of knowledge on the plants, animals and geology of the island.
Best Places to Hike in Dominica
The trek to Middleham Falls leads you into the heart of the rainforest, where a 275-foot cascade awaits. Follow the Sari-Sari River into pristine forests on the island's Atlantic coast. The Waitukubuli National Trail is the Caribbean's first long-distance hike, winding more than 115 miles along the island's mountainous spine. The route to Boiling Lake wanders through rainforests before climbing to a spectacular mountaintop viewpoint that takes in a crater containing a lake so hot that it is literally boiling.
What to Pack for Hiking in Dominica
For anything more than a short stroll to a scenic overlook, you'll want self-wicking socks and sturdy, moisture-resistant walking shoes, preferably with enough tread to grip in mud. Fill a backpack with a couple of water bottles and some snacks, including the fresh fruits that can be picked up at market stalls all around the island.
Passport and/or Visa Requirements
A valid passport is required with at least 1 blank page for entry stamp. No visa is required for stays of less than 6 months with proof of onward or return ticket. See the entry/exit requirements here.
Vaccinations are not required for entering the Caribbean if you’re coming from the U.S. Before traveling check the CDC here.
Culture and Customs
Dominica is known as "the Nature Island" for good reason. It is a land of unspoiled rainforests, volcanic hot springs, wild rivers and waterfalls. More than 60 percent of the island is covered in lush tropical vegetation and protected within three national parks, including the Morne Trois Piton National Park, which has been named a World Heritage Site. The mountainous landscape rises to almost 5,000 feet above sea level to harvest moisture from passing trade winds. Water is one of the island's most abundant natural resources, and more than 350 rivers gush out of the mountains to create dramatic gorges and spectacular waterfalls that spill into emerald pools. Among the most popular are Middleham, Victoria, Trafalgar and Sari Sari Falls. This landscape creates a mecca for the adventure traveler. Tours and activities range from kayaking, bird watching and hiking to jeep/ATV safaris and mountain bike treks. For the rugged hiker, there is the cross-island Waitukubuli Trail, or the climb to Boiling Lake, one of the world’s largest volcanically-active bodies of fresh water. With a glimpse of pre-Colombian culture, a visit to Carib Indian Territory provides a chance to interact with the largest remaining population of indigenous people in the Caribbean. For a take on the island's current culture, plan a visit during Carnival season, when calypso crooners and dance troops take to the streets. Dominica has earned a reputation as the whale watching capital of the Caribbean. Sperm whales can be seen in the waters of Dominica through the year, but prime viewing months are between November to March, when mothers arrive to nurse their calves. Other marine mammals often seen in the same area include pilot, pygmy, and false killer whales, plus spinner, spotted and bottlenose dolphin.
Electricity, Phone and Internet Access
The island operates on 220/240 volts - 50 cycles, so both adapters and transformers are necessary for U.S. made appliances. However, many hotels have dual 220/110 voltage, with 110V US style outlets in the room, along with 110 outlets available in the dive shops for camera equipment. Approximately 70% of Dominica’s electric power supply is hydro generated. Diesel generators provide the remainder.
The island area code for Dominica is 767. There are 3 mobile service providers on the island, check with your local provider to see what plans are available or roaming charges will apply. Many hotels offer WiFi.
Tap water is safe to drink, if you prefer bottled water, it is available for purchase.
Language & Currency
English is the official language though much of the local population speaks Creole (French based Patois). The Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$ or XCD) is the currency used locally. Check the current exchange rate here. United States Dollars, British Pounds and the Euro are accepted. ATMs are available and dispense EC Dollars. Most vendors will accept foreign currency and give your change in local currency. Credit cards are widely accepted.
Dominica is on Atlantic Standard Time and does not observe Daylight Savings Time. Dominica is 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-4 GMT).
Location, Size and Population
Dominica is a sovereign island country that is part of the Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. It is located SSE of Guadeloupe Islands and Northwest of Martinique. Dominica is 289 square miles, roughly 29 miles long and 16 miles wide at it's widest point.
Dominica's population is 73,016 (2016).