Dominica is an amazing place to live, work and play. Having lived in Dominica myself, I can attest to this.
Dominica is ‘eco to the bone’. The name, ‘Nature Island’ is truly befitting of this emerald paradise of immaculate wood and immense waters. From some of the highest mountains in the Caribbean to its majestic rivers – all of 365 of them – Dominica is truly amazing.
Dominica is ideal for the well-healed and mature nature adventure traveller and for those who would like to work-live-holiday-play. From whale-watching and diving to hiking some of the most scenic and picturesque locations, Dominica has more nature and natural attractions per square kilometre than most places in the world. The natural food, the people and its history are all out of this world.
Visit the Kalinago Territory where the Original Peoples of the Caribbean still live in their own territory. Eat fresh, local and organic; and try some of the vegan and vegetarian options.
Dominica is the Nature Island of the Caribbean. It is a concentration of pure nature in one tiny island of 751 km² (slightly smaller than New York City – 783 km²). With a population of just 72,000 people, it is 117 times less populated than the Big Apple. This means that with less people, more greenery, inch for inch, metre for metre, Dominica is truly nature pure. There is comparatively no traffic, no pollution, no crime, but plenty fresh air, fresh water, thick lush forests, amazing diving, resident whale populations, brilliant waterfalls, volcanic landscapes (a boiling lake, bubbling underwater cold springs and hot springs), rich volcanic soil, organic produce, and nature everywhere you turn.
The way of life for most people is nature pure too – the indigenous Kalinago people and the local Rastafarians have some of the lowest carbon footprint levels on Planet Earth.
As an island, Dominica is surrounded by water. But there are no white sandy beaches here; just mineral-rich, black sandy shores that wash wrinkles away and add life to even the most drooping hedonist.
No wonder Dominica has one of the highest levels of centenarians in the world (27 centenarians currently or 0.034 per cent of the population, according to Central Statistics Office of Dominica). This puts Dominica ahead of first world countries like France, Italy, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, to name a few.
Like blood coursing through the veins of the body, Dominica has life-giving waters found everywhere you turn. There are an estimated 365 rivers in Dominica – one for every day of the year. These rivers are so clean that you could drink from them directly without fear of contamination. And the natural volcanic terrain adds for rich minerals to these waters.
Dominica has one of the last remaining indigenous communities in the Caribbean and indeed in the Western Hemisphere. The Kalinago people were the first people to inhabit the island, ahead of the white Europeans, and enslaved Africans.
The Kalinago people (please don’t call them Caribs), live on a small area, roughly 3% of the island, called the Kalinago Territory. This territory operates with some degree of autonomy in certain areas. They are headed by a Chief who sits as a Member of Parliament in the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica.
While many of the indigenous people here are integrated with the rest of the island, they also maintain their authentic way of life in terms of their culture, foods and customs.
The Kalinago Barana Autê is the symbolic center, or representation of the territory, and depicts the way of life of the Kalinago people.
Dominica’s culture is mainly influenced by the Kalinago people, the Europeans, and the formerly enslaved Africans. The mixture gave birth to a vibrant, colourful and festive Creole culture evident in the island’s music, cuisine, art, dance, folk tales, dress and language.
One of the corner stones of the Creole culture of Dominica is Mas Dominik – Dominica Carnival. While carnivals are found on other Caribbean islands, Mas Dominik has a truly Dominican flair that is encapsulated in the village life and reflective of the island’s history, heritage and creolisation. Traditional folk characters such as the Negue Jadin (field slave), soucouyant, moko jumbee, Sensay, Darkies/Black Devils / Negre Mawon/Runaway Slaves/Pappy Show Wedding/Lapo Kabwit are reflected in the mas costumes. These characters and the more modern jump up mas are enlivened by the rhythmic beats of chanté mas and lapo kabrit and of course, Soca music and Calypso. Dominica Carnival is truly the way Caribbean Carnival used to be.
The tiny island of Dominica is chock full of natural attractions. Bask in the grandeur of the twin waterfalls of Trafalgar. Be mesmerized by the sparkling and inviting waters of the Emerald Pool. Discover the dangerous and enchanting Boiling Lake. Hike the longest trail in the Caribbean – the Waitukubuli Trail. Swim through the bubbles of the cold-water undersea springs – Champagne. Enjoy some of the most picturesque dive sites in the Caribbean.
The crystal-clear waters of Dominica, as well as the mountains arising from the sea, make for great diving. In fact, Dominica’s diving is some of the best in the Caribbean. The underwater mountainous walls of Dominica are a diver’s treat. The water is warm, the currents are slight, and the visibility is usually great.
The underwater terrain is as diverse as, and perhaps even more, than the terrain above ground. Explore the bubbly Champagne Reef. Discover the dramatic, plummeting crater at Scott’s Head. Swim in and out of holes of the aptly named underwater formation, Swiss Cheese. Dare to venture into the dangerous and deep Dangleben’s Pinnacles. Just explore and discover the vast underwater landscapes and adventures that Dominica diving has waiting for you.
Be part of a tourism experience that is all about community involvement. Tourism, more than any other industry, has the potential to alleviate poverty. And Dominica is taking the proverbial bull by the horns and actively involves its local communities and small businesses in a meaningful way in tourism development. The experiences, sites, and attractions are all next to or within a community. So, you get to experience authentic local living first hand when you travel to Dominica. Chill out with a Rastafarian. Visit the Kalinigo Territory. Stop by a local bar. ‘Lime’ on the block.
Dr. Auliana Poon
Dr. Auliana Poon is the founder and Managing Director of Leve Global and Exceptional Caribbean.
Auliana loves the Caribbean and believes in its people. Her personal mission is to change the world; to transform our societies. And this is precisely why she has spearheaded Exceptional Caribbean – a continuing mission to elevate tourism, trade and lives.