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This Island is the Caribbean's Best Kept Secret

"The Nature Island" is Waiting

By: Leigh Maneri + Save to a List

I've just returned from two unbelievable weeks in Dominica. Not the Dominican Republic. Daw-min-ee-ka; the Nature Island of the Caribbean. The purpose of this trip was to experience, and gather content for, two of my clients on the island, both of which depend on tourism to succeed. But herein lies the problem: one of the most beautiful traits of this island, due north of St. Lucia and south of the U.S. Virgin Islands, is the lack of tourism that exists here. 

Frankly, there's a part of me that would rather keep this little boat to myself.

At the end of the day, I know this country is headed for the spotlight regardless of my words. It is a truly special world site that you need to see for yourself, and one that is particularly well-suited to The Outbound Collective: people like you who will appreciate its rawness and protect its beauty. 

Why You'll Love Dominica

Dominica is ideal for nature lovers. It's said if Christopher Columbus sailed the Caribbean once again, this would be among the few islands he still recognized. It is undeveloped to say the least; no stop lights, no movie theaters. What this volcanic and lush rainforest-blanketed island does have, though, is 365 rivers, 12 waterfalls, the second largest hot lake in the world, an abundance of hot springs and the Caribbean's longest hiking trail, the Waitukubuli National Trail, which is said to take about 10 days to complete. 

An average day in Dominica consists of scrambling over 8-foot boulders to the pool of a 125-foot waterfall, floating down the ominous mangrove-flanked river featured in Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and belaying down a dark canyon with beams of warm sunlight cutting through the rainforest far above—adventure like you have never known.

Getting There

There are no direct flights from major U.S. or European cities to Dominica. The easiest way to connect is via San Juan, Puerto Rico or Barbados. JetBlue just introduced flights that connect through to Dominica and I'm certain more will follow suit as the world gets wind of the Nature Island. 

You'll arrive via propeller plane to the teeny tiny Douglas-Charles airport, which consists of a modest single room for arrival, customs and baggage claim. Some cruise lines also stop in Dominica, porting in its capital city, Roseau.

The People

Dominicans are among some of the most authentically beautiful people you will ever meet. In some countries I see a large divide—there are those who work in hospitality who are over-the-top exuberant, welcoming and happy to see you, while the locals beyond the hotel seem truly bothered by your presence. In Dominica, however, the reaction you get is consistent. Hospitality is "real" enough to avoid the discomfort of feeling like you're among a different class and locals carry about their business.

Dominica's capital city Roseau has a vibrant Saturday Farmer's Market that is perfect for checking out the local culture. If you try and strike up a conversation, most will be happy to oblige. 

The Food

Girls, listen up. If you want clear skin, shiny hair and a break from sugar, book your flight. It's not that you won't find "junk food" here, but there is simply no reason to eat it. Not when you have unlimited access to fresh local fish, fruit, nuts, vegetables, coffee, soaps, lotions and more. I ate fish for five consecutive meals and each morning I woke up feeling how I think I should feel every day.

Dominica's version of fried food is lightly-fried plantains and they are simply delicious.

Get There Fast

You heard it here first; Dominica is on the cusp of fame and, while I know the country will remain stunningly beautiful, sustainable and welcoming, now is the time to visit. Calling all hikers, divers, adventure-seekers and all who want to get closer to their most true selves: the Nature Island is waiting. 

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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