Dominica Area Map
Dominica is one of the most mountainous islands in the Caribbean, boasting the highest peaks in the Eastern Caribbean. With high precipitation and many rock faces and cliffs, the island also has an abundance of scenic waterfalls that dot the coast.
Most of the island consists of dense forest and small villages, but visitors say the island's capital, Roseau, is a vibrant city on the island's southwest side that can often be noisy, loud and congested. The Roseau River runs through the town into the Caribbean Sea. Roseau's downtown, just south of the river, contains the city's main north-south thoroughfare: Queen Mary Street, which turns into Independence Street. Perpendicular streets and lanes run between the two streets. You should be cautious when walking and driving around the area since many of the streets are one-way.
Roseau's French Quarter is just south of Great George Street in the downtown area and one of the busiest areas on the island. This quarter contains a number of shops, restaurants and bars, as well as some of the city's grandest architecture. Taste the local fare at the Old Market of Roseau, one of the largest outdoor markets in the Caribbean.
On the northwest part of the island is Portsmouth, Dominica's second-largest town, and a recommended spot for boating, diving and whale-watching. North of Portsmouth, experts also recommend Cabrits National Historical and Marine Park, which contains Fort Shirley, an old British stronghold; a large swamp; a handful of extinct volcanoes and coral reefs that are ideal for snorkeling. Cabrits also contains some of the island's few beaches and is located just north of Portsmouth.
Marigot provides visitors with their first glimpse of the island, since most U.S. visitors fly into the Marigot's Douglas–Charles Airport via Puerto Rico. Perched on the northeast coast of the island facing the Atlantic Ocean, the small city of Marigot offers several hotel and restaurant options and provides access to the north coast beaches. Professional and leisure travelers recommend swimming at the Sari-Sari Waterfall, a 150-foot waterfall with a swimming hole at the bottom.
Writers also recommend visiting the Carib Indian Territory, a 3,700-acre portion of the island that is home to many of the island's indigenous Carib population. The most popular part of the territory is Kalinago Barana Autê, a traditional Carib village that offers Carib cultural exhibitions, including bread baking, basket weaving, herbal remedies and traditional canoe-building.
Morne Trois Pitons National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the south-central part of the island that has thick jungles, large mountains and several lakes, including the second-largest hot spring in the world. Past visitors also recommend checking out the spectacular views of Trafalgar Falls. Travelers can hike around the waterfalls and view the cascades from a viewing platform.
Dominica is a safe island in the Caribbean; tourist-targeted crime is rare and residents are more than willing to help you out. Common sense always prevails though, so be sure to keep close track of your valuables and lock your rental car when driving or parked.
Dominicans are faster and more aggressive drivers than most Americans, plus the roads are often twisted and pothole-laden. Add in the fact that driving is on the left and many tourists face a culture shock on their first foray behind the wheel. Unless you have an adventurous spirit, many experts suggest you leave the driving to residents and seasoned visitors. Take a taxi instead, as they're inexpensive and easy to come by in the daylight hours.
Dominica also has a reputation for clean water; those who live on the island often get their supply from roadside springs. We’d recommend steering clear of both roadside springs and tap water (which is heavily chlorinated, but otherwise safe), and asking for bottled water to avoid any health issues.
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