Upon arrival in Dominica you will be met and transferred to the Evergreen Hotel a small family owned hotel located at the southern edge of Roseau. The international airport servicing the island is at Melville, though it is also possible to take a ferry from Martinique (south) and Guadeloupe (north), ask us for details on the best way to arrive. Our included transfer will pickup from the airport on day one of the trip. Welcome dinner and overnight at the Fort Young Hotel (or similar).
After breakfast there is a short presentation that will cover an orientation of the island and introduction to this adventure. Following this, a 20- minute transfer will get us to the Soufriere Estate and the starting point of your Dominica adventure. Today’s trek will combine walking in the back country and along the coast line along old estate trails and surfaced roadway for a total walking time of approximately 3 hours. This traverses one of the more volcanic areas of the island, once well known for large scale sugarcane, citrus and cocoa production - today overgrown and wild, with a few cultivated fruit trees. En route this provides glimpses of local fauna and fauna, heritage and village life through the communities of Soufriere, Gallion, and Scotts Head, and spectacular vistas of the Soufriere - Scotts Head Marine Reserve, before ending at the Scotts Head point. The adventure starts at the center of the southern village of Soufriere and continues east along the main road leading to the Sulphur Springs area – going past village life that includes houses, the school and playing field, and an animal farm. Beyond the sulphur springs the road deteriorates into a stony access, providing some insight into conditions in times of estate operations. Throughout fruit and other trees dwarf the access. We continue along an old (circular) estate track through scrub vegetation and farmlands that eventually connects with the main surfaced roadway that leads to the mountain community of Gallion. Gallion is perched over the main highway connecting the south western-most communities of Soufriere and Scotts Head, and this vantage offers excellent views of the Caribbean Sea and the local marine reserve. From here we follow the old local village access that dips down to the main southern roadway along a series of switch backs, and then continue along the coastline to Scotts Head. At Scotts Head we encounter the local fishermen at the narrow isthmus that separates the Caribbean and Atlantic, and visit the view point at Scotts Head. We continue to the local historic Catholic Church at Soufriere and then onto a local village restaurant for lunch. Next we continue to the Champagne Beach for snorkeling - explore a local marine ecosystem dotted with champagne bubbles, swim with colorful fish and an assortment of coral and sponge life. From there we proceed to our accommodation – dinner being the highlight of the evening. This short day provides an excellent opportunity to acclimatize to the expected (average) day time temperature of 25 degrees C, high humidity, and rugged island terrain.
Time – 4.5 hours
Distance – 7.5 km
Cumulative height gain - 250 metres and descent - 300 metres - peaking altitude of 300 m
Today features Segment 3 of the Waitukubuli National Trail and provides the first real glimpse of the Morne Trois Pitons National Park World Heritage Site – flora and fauna and nature in its wild and rugged state! This route is a collection of the old trails that once connected rural folk and served as the highway along which local commerce was conducted. It gs through four villages that are perched high on the hills above Roseau, all of which are well known for their wellness appeal. From the hotel a 20 minute transfer leads to the village of Bellevue Chopin and the start of Segment 3. From there, the trail continues through pristine tropical rainforest and beyond the community of Giraudel showcasing village life, colorful blooms, vegetable gardens, quaint miniature farm homes, and a botanical garden along the way. This 6 km section makes for easy walking – rising and dipping gently along old estate and surfaced (village) main roads and narrow dirt paths, and takes approximately 2 hours to complete. Beyond this, the trail enters a heavily forested area giving way to a narrow path and steep 200 metre descent to the river crossing and challenging climb out of the valley to Morne Prosper – a 4 km (V-shaped) stretch of trail that requires almost 2 hours for completion - trees and roots becoming necessary hand holds at times. From Morne Prosper, the trail opens up to Wotten Waven – a 3 km section that requires just 1 hour of easy walking along the main village road and through vegetable farms. Wotten Waven features therapeutic natural hot springs bath and opportunities for a local spa experience, which is the perfect balm for a full day of hiking. Accommodation will be at the Petite Paradis.
Time – 5 hours
Distance – 13 km
Cumulative height gain of 650m and descent of 800m
The world’s largest boiling lake is actually a flooded fumarole, a crack through which gases escape from the molten lava below, rather than a volcanic crater. The natural basin of the Boiling Lake collects the rainfall from the surrounding hills and from two small streams which empty into the lake. The water seeps through the porous bottom to the hot lava below where it is trapped and heated to boiling point. The lake is about 60 meters across. The trek to the lake is through lush forest, over sharp ridges, and crosses volcanic rivers, streams and boiling mud. The streams vary in colour from normal clear water to milky blue, black, white, yellow and orange. Steam and sulphur fumes increase the closer you get. The trail itself is approximately eight miles long, and is a three-hour walk each way. This amount of time should be allowed for. On our return we stop at the Titou Gorge to cool off. Little Throat is the literal translation for Titou Gorge - a narrow ravine carved into the rocks by the river. This breath-taking upstream swim through this cave-like setting lit by rays of sunlight streaking through the forest is absolutely astounding and refreshing! At the top of the gorge is a small waterfall. This exploration is done with the use of life vests. From here we return to the Petite Paradis for dinner and a quiet evening.
Time – 7 hours
Degree of Difficulty – Strenuous
Today is our first opportunity to get off the trail and enjoy the softer side of Dominica. We start with a visit to the majestic Trafalgar Waterfalls and sulphur springs – a perfect opportunity to slow down and enjoy our picturesque landscapes and exotic flora and fauna at your own pace. Next we continue onto the Fresh Water Lake, Dominica's largest, perched approximately 2,500 feet above sea level, and just 30 minutes from the mountain village of Laudat. Historian Lennox Honychurch writes (about the lake)….subject of myths and legends… ....a single-eyed monster was said to reside there...it was also said to be bottomless although it is actually only 55ft deep... If you visit on a grey, misty day when wind-swept vapours swirl across its dragon-green surface, you will forgive the story-tellers for creating their far-fetched legends. This allows the perfect opportunity for enjoying nature at its best, and the pristine nature of the Morne Trois Pitons National Park World Heritage Site. From here we head back to the city and onto our Cooking Caribbean adventure - a unique food experience where you will have a chance to participate in our local cuisine. Learn how to produce and present traditional Caribbean dishes, and to prepare your own kitchen desserts and delicacies utilizing our Caribbean flavors. Then have a finger licking buffet meal, where you will taste your efforts. (If time allows we spend some time discovering our small and quaint city Roseau - a perfect opportunity to get a few souvenir items). Next we head cross island on a 70 minute transfer to the east coast and the Domcans Guest House. Dinner will be the highlight of the evening.
Today we go off the grid to experience a mix of culture and wild nature. First, we head into a deeply rural part of Dominica - rich in culture and tradition, but not normally exposed to receiving visitors and tourism. We will experience the communities and are likely to see tradition at work – cassava processing and bay leaf distilling as we go through the communities of San Sauver and Petite Soufriere. At Soufriere, we begin our 90 minute (Atlantic facing) hike to Rosalie Estate along the old trail used by the Kalinago and slaves, and present day farmers. Spectacular coastal views will add fun to the day. We break for lunch at Rosalie at an old Catholic Church…today operated as a Retreat House. From here, we continue (by bus) onto the village of La Plaine (not as deeply rural) and to the Sari Sari Waterfall. The Sari Sari Waterfall is one of Dominica's most famous and powerful falls. Our short 1- hour hike up river will be over rocks and through open cultivated land and secondary forests and to the crystal clear pool at the base of the Sari Sari falls. From there, we return to our hotel. Tomorrow offers the opportunity to see firsthand the unique Dominican culture as we head into Kalinago heartland. The Kalinago are the original inhabitants of Dominica, and are concentrated in the CaribTerritory, a 3,000- acre settlement where approximately 3,800 of them live. Most are still resident within this location and survive on subsistence farming and fishing. They are also very skilled artisans and make exquisite baskets from local materials.
Today we introduce you to Dominica’s indigenous people, the Kalinago. This easterly-most segment of the Waitukubuli National Trail - best described as being an open living museum, provides deep insight into the culture and lifestyles of the Kalinago people while providing stunning vistas of the rugged Atlantic coastline. At approximately 13 km long, this segment can be completed in about 6.5 hours. Encounters with the locals are continuous - the first in the hamlet of Sineku in the vicinity of the Les Calier Tete Chien attraction, and the others as the trail slithers between forests and the hamlets along old trails and surfaced roadway – first Mahaut River, then onto Gaulette River and then St. Cyr (pronounced Sen si). Some of these trails are perched on thin ledges above the roaring Atlantic. The terrain is undulating, climbing and dipping gently along most of the segment - never climbing higher than 100 metres above sea level, though some of these short ascents can be steep in areas. This segment gs through very little forest vegetation, and this hike can be taxing because of the lack of shade – hikers should use a broad brimmed hat and carry loads of bottled water. Along the hamlets are small craft shops and friendly Kalinago, all waiting to say hello. Highlights include agricultural farms, a local shrine, a community cemetery, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Kalinago Barana Aute - a tourism facility showcasing things-Kalinago. At the Kalinago Barana Aute we offer hikers the option to end the hike, and spend the afternoon experiencing the KBA. For those who may want to continue the hike to the end of the segment, from the hamlet of Bataca there is the 1.5 km-long walk up to Horseback Ridge – a 250 metre altitude climb that comes at the end of a long and possibly hot day. This ascent and steep descent (that follows) into the Pagua Valley is another of the challenging sections of this strenuous hike. This last 1.5 hours stretch over the final 4 km of the segment, ends at the Pagua River and provides an excellent opportunity for a well-earned cooling dip in the refreshing Pagua River. From here we return to our hotel where you spend a quiet night. Dinner is the highlight of the evening.
Time – 4.5 hours
Distance – 7 km
Cumulative height gain of 350 metres and descent of 400 metres
Today is your opportunity to slow down and enjoy the very best of Kalinago hospitality. After a lazy morning we will head to Touna Village, a small picturesque community located 30 minutes from your accommodation. At Touna, you will get to know the secrets of our islands indigenous people. You will be able to try your hand at basket weaving, cassava bread making, sugar cane juicing and do so many other fun traditions. There will also be a visit to the village healer for a chance to discover the secrets of natural healing while having a tour in his family herbal garden. You can also snack on fruit in season, visit the local school, relax in the Pagua River, or just laze around this small picturesque hamlet! Traditional Kalinago lunch follows. From here, we head off to Sand Bay for swimming. Enjoy the brown sanded beach, or just chill out while you soak up some of our Dominican sun. Next you return to your accommodation and then continue along the highway spanning the north east and west coasts, eventually going through Portsmouth and stopping at the Sister Sea Lodge in Picard, our accommodation for the next 3 nights. Dinner is the highlight of the evening.
Today promises to be a challenging day – hiking along a combination of segments 10 and 11 for an approximate distance of 20 km and trekking time of 7 hours under heavy forest cover. Segment 10 is a gentle stroll following an old agricultural road and is generally all flat and at 6.7 km requires just over 2 hours for completion. Segment 11 features sections of the Northern Forest Reserves and is bit bumpy as the trail dips and winds down around the reaches of Morne Aux Diables. From our accommodation there is a 20 minute transfer to the village of Colihaut, followed by an off-road transfer along the rocky farm road to the heights of Colihaut and the trail head of Segment 10. The trek features a mix of old and abandoned farm and estate roads, and opens up sections of the Northern Forest Reserve providing excellent opportunities for sighting the Jaco and Sisserou Parrots and other fauna in their undisturbed habitats. Towering forest species, old estate roads, farm lands and citrus orchards in the Syndicate Valley and Visitor Reception centre, dry river courses, spectacular dry forest stands and choruses of singing birds await the hikers today. The route also cuts through the heart of the commercial area of Portsmouth at the Ros Castle rest area before disappearing into the jungles of the Northern Forest Reserves – breathtaking views and an old railway track being features along the way. The day’s adventure ends a few miles from the Sister Sea Lodge and a local bus transfer returns us to our sea side accommodation. Dinner will be the highlight of the evening.
Time – Whole Day
Distance – 20km
Cumulative height gain of 300m and descent of 700m
The day begins with a 40 minute transfer from the Sister Sea Lodge to the small hamlet of Delaford – the official start of Segment 13. Enroute we pass through the Soufriere area which provides spectacular vistas of the neighboring islands. We are also able to stop at the Cold Soufriere and visit the cold sulphur springs. Today promises to feature a day like no other, and will explore the last 2 segments of the trail - segment 13 by land, and segment 14 by sea, while offering views of the neighboring French islands to the north. Segment 13 is along volcanic terrain and is through dry forest. It is one of the oldest and most frequently used and maintained routes, and though undulating makes for a very easy hike. At 7 km it is one of the shorter segments requiring just about 3 hours for completion. Once the main route connecting the communities of the northern end of Dominica, the overland part of the day follows the volcanic terrain along the narrow shelf through a period of history spanning the Kalinago and French migrants who controlled large estates. En route, spectacular views of the neighbouring islands of Guadeloupe, Marie Galante, and Les Saintes, and the remains of Grand Fond Village tell the tale of a village abandoned – a sign of changing fortunes and economics. Cana Heritage Park the site of an Amerindian village, an early missionary site of the Capuchin Order and a military signal station is the entrance to the village of Capuchin. Buffet home-cooked lunch at Capuchin breaks the routine. From here we continue by car along Segment 14 through the villages of Clifton, Cottage, Tane Tane before ending at the Cabrits National Park and spectacular views of the Prince Rupert and Douglas Bays. Once back in Portsmouth, we return to the Sister Sea Lodge for the night.
Time – 5 hours
Distance – 14 km
Cumulative height gain of 675m and descent of 600m
Your day begins with a short transfer to the pier of the Indian River, up which we will have a guided rowboating tour to explore the mangroves and wild life. For bird watchers or nature-lovers this 90 minute rowing boat-trip up the Indian River is perfect. Glide through the mangroves and wetlands of this brackish river with your personal guide who will tell you everything about the incredible flora and fauna en route. Next we have a short transfer to Fort Shirley, a large 18th-century British garrison which once housed 600 soldiers and located upon the twin hills of the Cabrits (which towers over the town of Portsmouth). This site provides important examples of 18th century defense systems, as well as excellent panoramic viewing of Prince Rupert Bay and the town, and is a perfect location for a picnic lunch. From here a gentle 20 minute walk will take us to the beach, where we spend the rest of the afternoon….the perfect end to our 12- day Dominica adventure! From here a short transfer to hotel accommodation, and celebration dinner.
After breakfast there is a 30 minute transfer to the Melville Hall Airport, where the trip arrangements conclude.