Dominica is all about exploration. Many of the 360 rivers, rainforests and mountains are still unexplored. Sightseeing, trekking, hiking, diving are among the best in the Caribbean. But the true nature of Dominica is gentle peace; Quiet in a land of soaring mountains and cascading rivers. When you step back in time, you are miles away from the modern world and its fast pace, time passes slowly in Dominica and that’s how Dominicans love it.
Dominicans are generous and very hospitable. They respect the land that gave them so much and quickly point out that in Dominica you can get by on very little; grow your own vegetables, keep your own chickens and fish off the coast. Vegetables and fruits grow everywhere. Two large avocados cost me less than a US dollar.
Nonprofit Dominicans are creative; they experiment and do things just for pleasure. This small population of 70,000 on 290 square miles made its own beer, rum and coffee, Dominica was famous for its straw mats, and exported grapefruit and bananas to the world. Sugarcane is grown in the valleys, crushed and processed into a high-quality Dominican rum.
Dominica’s unique quality of life attracts people. Gilles, a French entrepreneur, escaped to heaven, as he called it, and opened Sea Lounge with “The Best French cuisine in the Caribbean.” “I got to the point where I fulfilled my responsibilities, got my daughter to think about her education, and now was my time. Dominika objected because I wanted to get away from the rat race and do something worthwhile that could be important. I love the spirit of the people and the place”. Dinner at Sea lounge was a highlight. The food was excellent and at the end of the meal Gilles served complementary spiced rum. He says he likes to exceed your expectations!
I came to Dominica to meet with the tourism authorities and see how we can work with the tourism authority and supply technology and marketing services to the island. The first night we met Etta Deschamps by chance – she was sitting next to us at La Maison while we ate blackened fish and shrimp Creole. She and her husband founded their film company ZoomFilmCompany.com in Dominica. “Alternative and authentic,” he said of Dominica. She has clearly inspired the work of she.
Travel writer Paul Crask also fell in love with her. American executives are discovering this for the right reasons and escaping to their chalets, “It won’t be overdone,” says Colin Piper, Director of the Dominica Tourism Board, “we prefer to keep things simple and preserve Dominica’s unique experience”.
Hopefully Dominica is another Antigua, Barbados and St. Not Lucia. Not your typical Caribbean beach resort. There are a few white sand beaches in the north but the land is private and contractors don’t flock because there is no international airport and no one wants to tear down a mountain to build one.
The roads are narrow and often steep and there are many turns. It takes an hour and a half to get from the airport to the capital Roseau – 27 miles. It’s not highway driving, you’re driving on the side of a mountain, through the woods, sometimes through a rainforest or a banana field with panoramic views of the ocean coastline.
You come to Dominica to escape and rejuvenate in nature. Paddling the Indian River takes you to a new place of peace, quiet and character. Dominica – Nature Island, a short moment to escape, put your foot on the gas pedal and enjoy the calm of nature while paddling the river. The steady rhythm of the paddling paddles is almost hypnotic, very relaxing. On this island you’ll sleep in the comfort of an understated boutique hotel, or climb up to your treetop cottage at the Jungle Bay resort.
Sitting on your balcony overlooking the ocean at Calibishie Bay with the wind blowing in your face is the epitome of relaxation. I felt my mind physically let go of a mountain of thoughts and began to unwind for the first time in weeks. Keeper Hazel was the perfect host and cooked amazing pea and coconut chicken rice using the ingredients we brought. Calibishe Cove has both self-catering apartments and self-catering suites. We booked a deluxe suite with adjoining rooms and wrapped balconies. They didn’t have a kitchen, which was great, Hazel’s food was much better. Breakfast was delivered by van with wide smiles and courtesy of Helen’s fresh orange juice.
We took the opportunity to walk 200 steps down to the river mouth and to the beach below our suite. Trevor and his son joined us on the beach. Trevor, a boxing champion from England, moved to Dominica a few years ago. The steps, the river, the sea, and the natural barriers of logs and low-hanging trees made it the perfect gym. He came to Dominica to get away from the hustle and bustle, wanted to start a boxing association, but now plans to train boxers in Ada. “I had the best education of my life here,” he said, “you know it’s the conditioning of your mind that makes the difference, Dominika is unplugging you”. His manager had him fight in England for good prize money. “I shouldn’t have taken it because I’m completely out of training,” she says. But Dominika’s magic had sharpened her mind; Beach runs and shadow boxing had brought him to life. He scored a knockout in the first round.
We were traveling around the island by taxi. It seemed like it was best if we could concentrate on taking pictures and taking notes, but in retrospect I would have rented a car. A 4×4 helper rents for $40.25 per day. A taxi is so much more, and you don’t have the freedom to go your own way or stop for a snack on a whim, just sit and watch and enjoy the scenery. Our taxi driver was a 27 year old Dominican with a family of two girls and a baby boy. On Sunday, Titiwi was looking forward to the picnic and barbecue. We did the island tour in two days, starting from Roseau and going south to Scots Head, then over the mountain to the forest bay and Carib Territories, stopping at Calibishie for the night.
We arranged to be picked up at 11am on a Sunday and drove to Fort Shirley in Portsmoth. Kale, Dr. It has been beautifully restored by a project led by Lennox Honeychurch. Lennox is a poet and historian. I read his prose about the ocean a few years ago and I still remember the gist. It inspired something I wrote. “Walk, Ah! The rippling sea, with the messages of time”.
On our way back to Roseau we stopped at the Titiwi festival in Layou. Titiwi is a type of small eel. They are fried, baked, steamed, smoked or boiled in a Creole style – a delicious treat with lots of fish like anchovies, poached breadfruit, Bello’s hot sauce and Kabuli beer. What impressed me the most were the smiling people and their warm hospitality.
Dominica fish festival and Dominica fish bakery and island creole cuisine
What you will notice in Dominica is colourful, bright and vibrant but never gaudy. Nature is full of color. Along the paths, wildflowers spread a carpet of red, blue, white, and yellow on a green tapestry. Towns and villages are vibrant with bright greens, yellows, reds and all shades of blue, and well-kept fishing boats in the fishing villages are painted with personality.
Pink fishing boats say a lot about the owner as well as the boat! It is an island of individuals about personal choice and determination to be different. It is for discerning travelers who are not typical tourists. It is an undiscovered treasure hidden in time, where old-fashioned values persist, and I hope it always will be.