Natural Wonders and Hidden Treasures
Float over the lip of an underwater canyon to take in the big picture, or zero in on the small creatures that seek shelter in the corals. Dominica rewards snorkeling adventures large and small, delivering clear waters, dramatic underwater landscapes and amazing marine life. Discover a submerged volcanic crater now decorated with multi-hued corals and sponges; float in clouds of bubbles that emerge from deep underground fumaroles; look close to find a fish that would rather walk than swim. These underwater wonders and more are found within protected marine preserves that have earned this island the reputation as one of the finest snorkeling destinations in the Caribbean.
- 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
Snorkeling in Dominica Overview
Snorkeling takes place on the island's calm western shore within a trio of marine reserves. Reefs being close to shore and can drop from shallow to impressive depths in short order. The most popular area is the Soufriere-Scotts Head Marine Reserve, where the underwater landscape includes the remains of an ancient volcanic crater.
Snorkeling in Dominica Tips
Champagne Reef is Dominica's must-do snorkel site, but don't just focus on the bubbles. An exploration of the reef will reveal a historic shipwreck with cannons, and a wealth of marine life that includes unusual finds such as frogfish and flying gurnards. Dolphins have also been known to visit the site, so be sure to glance out into open water every so often.
Best Places for Snorkeling in Dominica
At Champagne Reef, gasses escaping from deep volcanic vents filter through the sea floor to envelop snorkelers in streams of effervescent bubbles. More than 200 types of marine life can be found at Coral Gardens South, including stingrays and garden eels. At L’Abym snorkelers can drift above a cliff face that begins close to shore and plunges to depths of 1500 feet. Pointe Guignard is known for attracting unique species of marine life.
What to Pack for Snorkeling in Dominica
Choose slipper-style fins because they are more streamlined and easy to put on when snorkeling from a boat. A rash guard or water shirt to protect a bareback from sunburn. A soft cloth or mesh carry bag for gear and towels. A waterproof case for keys and smartphones.
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).