Dominica – The Nature Isle

Dominica has long been described as the nature island of the Caribbean. There is even a joke in the Caribbean, which says its the only country Christopher Columbus would recognised now, as it still looks the same, unspoilt. If you are a nature lover like me, a hiker or want to unplug from the fast paced world, Dominica is the place to be.

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I needed a break from the crazy world, so I took a trip to the Nature Isle for a few days. This wasn’t meant to be my usual adventure expedition; I was most looking forward to the waterfalls, the scenic photographic opportunities, and of course the abundance of fresh fruits along the chance to unplug from the business world. Even though it seems I was a few weeks too early for the fruits, as most of the trees were laden but not ripe, Dominica delivered.

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I was lucky enough to have a semi-local guide for a few days, who drove me to some of the most remote parts of the island. One of the things I found most unique about Dominica was that regardless of how remote an area was, you are certain to find people living there. Which meant you can never get lost in Dominica, as a friendly folk is always there to help you find your way.

 

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Driving through Dominica

Driving through Dominica is no easy feat for non-residents. Coming from Barbados, where land is generally flat, it’s always an excursion when I visit some the other Caribbean countries who are more mountainous. Not only do you have to navigate the steepness of the roads, but the narrowness and the winding nature. Many times you look over a crazy steep road and see a row of houses nesting right below.

The Airport Journey

I didn’t do any driving, but had a chauffeur ferry me around. As the airport is situated in the north of the island, and the capital Roseau is in the south, the journey from the airport takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes, but boring it will not be.  There are two (2) main roads, with a third one now being built. We took the road through the Carib Territory. This area has been reserved for the descendants of the original Carib people. I was hoping to spend some time in that area to see how they live, but only ended up driving through on the way from the airport, but was very glad we chose this route as opposed to the Portsmouth route.

Dominica Driving through the Carib Territory
Dominica
Driving through the Carib Territory

 

Finding Capuchin

Capuchin is the furthest village in the north of Dominica, and my driver was determined to find it as they had never been. On a good day you can look out and see the near by islands. Even though it was not clear enough that day, the trip was very eventful. On the way, we encountered a donkey, who was probably expecting company, we pass a village called Cocoyer with a population of 25 and plenty laden mango trees and mangoes rolling on the side of the road . (I don’t like to see fruit wasted)

 

Dominica - Cocoyer
Dominica – Cocoyer
Donkey waiting for his company
Donkey waiting for his company

 Gallion/Bellevue

The fascinating thing about driving through Dominica is the hidden villages. In the most remote of areas, you will find a village, laid back atmosphere, and with friendly residents always willing to give directions.  One Saturday afternoon, after leaving Scott’s Head, we ended up in Gallion, a very remote village with an amazing view of Soufriere. We had a way too friendly welcome from some male residents who had already had one too many bottles of rum, but was trying to convince us we should help them get more. Needless to say, our visit was short.

Dominica - Gallion
Dominica – Gallion

Further up, in the village close to Bellevue, there were quite a few residents having an evening lime. One of them told me, he lived about an hour away but prefer to lime in that village. He then told me I should take his photo and put it up in my bedroom to remember him by, better yet, I took a photo with him, “put up this one instead”, he said. It took 4 takes before before I got one where he was looking at the camera. He offered me some of his basil and plantains too. The best part of travel are the encounters like these.

Dominica - Bellevue
Dominica – Bellevue

 

 

 

 

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