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Experience Dominica – The Nature Island: Dominica Vacations | Exotic Vacations | Honeymoon Destination

Dominica weekly is a personal weblog about the nature island of Dominica.

Archive for June, 2010


snorkeling in DominicaPhotos by: Cisc1970 via Flickr

Diving in Dominica is a must for any serious SCUBA enthusiast as well as for those just about thinking of taking on the underwater sport.

With so many awesome dive sites, Dominica has been dubbed as one of the world’s top five diving destinations in the world, and has consistently top scored in the SCUBA DIVING Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards for Top Macro Life, Dive Destination, Healthy Environment and Underwater Photography among other categories.

Dominica is also home to the longest running Scuba Diving Festival in the Caribbean. Dive Fest (2010) will be the 17th consecutive year that the Dominica Watersports Association has presented this event.

Every year, certified scuba divers and people with a penchant for tropical fun and adventure come to the area, drawn by the promise of scenic views both above and below this nature island’s waterline.

Diving off Dominica is as rich and varied as its on-land attractions, as the hills and valleys continue deep beneath the surface creating havens for fascinating sea creatures.

From volcanic vents spewing bubbles and hot water to submerged volcanic craters with dramatic vertical walls. Dominica offers and underwater attraction for every type of diver.

underwater photo at champagne beach in Dominca

There is only one official Marine Reserve in Dominica – the Soufriere Scott’s Head Marine Reserve located in the south. The Marine Reserve protects the marine resource of Dominica for all users and ensures that Dominica will always have the thriving marine environment.

Some of the most popular Dominica diving sites are located off the Northwest and southwest coast of the island. The Scott’s Head Pinnacle is one of the island’s most famous dive sites – the dive begins on Swiss Cheese, a larger rock formation home to the well-known soldierfish cave, and the L’Abym(La Sourcier), a 457m wall that descends in the sea from a cliff above the surface.

underwater image of Dominica's marine life

Diving in Dominica Tips and Things to Remember

Local laws only permit diving with one the locally run dive centres. Also, all certified divers must bring along their ceritification card. And if it has been awhile since your last dive trip, do the sensible thing and take a short refresher and local orientation dive with an instructure before jumping off a boat.

Here are two dive centers certified by the Discover Dominica Authority:

Al Dive & Water Sports
Location: Loubriere
Tel: 767 440 3483
Email: aldive@aldive.com
Website: www.aldive.com

Castle Comfort Lodge/ Dive Dominica
Location: Castle Comfort
Tel: 767 448 2188
Email: dive@cwdom.dm
Website: www.castlecomfortdivelodge.com

So whether you’re a recreational diver or a shore snorkeling enthusiasts you’re sure to have the time of their life in Dominica. With its magnificent diving destinations and excellent adventure vacation sites, it is no wonder why Dominica Island is a prime spot for Caribbean vacations.

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Dominica buses

Dominica may be a small island, but there is certainly much to see. Fortunately for travelers, there are lots of easy ways to navigate the island and experience an incredible array of activities.

Vacationers should choose a method of transportation that fits their budget while it allows them to explore the rich and diverse landscape in Dominica.

Dominica’s 300-plus miles of roads allow travelers to do most of their exploring by car, bus, or taxi. If you are making a long journey within Roseau or travelling outside of the capital city, the most affordable way to get around Dominica is the public bus system.

Dominica has a fairly reliable public transportation system that allows travelers who are doing limited touring of the island to move from place to another. All the bus routes in Dominica originate in the capital of Roseau, though there bus drivers operate from locations throughout the island. Buses can also be picked up at the airports (Melville Hall & Canefield) and outside the larger hotels.

roseau-bus-stop

The easiest way to find a mini bus is to look for letter ‘H’, ‘HA’ or ‘HB’ on both the license plate. If you’re planning on traveling to remote area around the island, expect to wave down a number different buses in other to get from one place to another. Some bus drivers may simply not go beyond a point, so be prepaid to walk the final stretch to get to your final destination. You should also note that Buses run from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and are most widely available Monday through Saturday.

image of buses in Roseau, Dominica

Fares can range from $1.50(EC) up to $10.25(EC). If you’re traveling with a family to a number of locations, these fares can add up very quick. Below are some examples of bus fares from Roseau to popular destinations around Dominica.

Bus Fares From Roseau:

DESTINATION FARE (XCD):
Calibishie (via Portsmouth) 11.00
Canefield 2.50
Carib Reserve (via Layou) 11.00
Castle Bruce (via Layou) 9.00
Castle Comfort 1.75
Grand Bay 5.00
Laudat 4.00
Marigot (via Layou) 11.00
Mero 4.00
Pointe Michel 2.50
Portsmouth 9.00
Rosalie (via Layou) 7.00
Scott’s Head 4.00
Soufriere 4.00
Trafalgar 3.50
Wotten Waven 3.00

Bus travelers in Dominica can use bus service to travel inexpensively to locations, such as Calibishie in the far north of the island or Scott’s Head Village in south. Bus travelers can also use the buses to reach more remote locations such as Laudat. With reasonable fares and easy access, buses enable travelers to save money while seeing and experiencing Dominica in a way that most visitors never experience.

If you need help understanding bus routes, contact the Dominica Taxi Association (tel# 767 235-8648), the Dominica Division of Tourism (tel# 767-448-2045 or email: ndctourism@cwdom.dm) or get your hands on a copy of Dominica (Bradt Travel Guide) – it’s filled with valuable information on how ways to get around Dominica.

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Photo of a white frangipani flower

The world needs parks. Whether they’re slivers of green in a crowded city or 20,000 square miles of designated wilderness. Parks nourish the human spirit, help sustain the planet, and reflect the ideals of the societies that protect them.” (National Geographic, Oct. 2006).

A walk through Dominica’s Botanical Gardens is not only a walk in beauty but a lesson in the science of tropical plants.

The “Gardens,” as it is popularly known, is situated on land formally cultivated in sugarcane, and was later turned into a garden where crop seedling could be propagated for the island’s farmers. Now it is divided into two sections – the ornamental and exotic plant section and the economic plant section.

In 1979, the passing of Hurricane David wrought havoc on the gardens, nearly all the tree were up-rooted and many were blown to pieces. However, the gardens were cleared of debris and replanted. Today the Botanical Gardens are a tropical haven of colour and a place of tranquility to many islanders and visitors alike.

Image of the different flowers found in Dominica

In the gardens, flowers, plants and trees wear more then pretty faces, they’re likely to be labeled with proper botanical names. Tours and exhibits are designed to enhance knowledge of about 50 types of trees from all over the world.

Image of one the oldest trees in Dominica's Botanical Gardens

Visit the Parrot sanctuary, where it’s possible to see two of Dominica’s rarest parrots, the Sisserou and the Jako.

35 steps

Walk up the 35 steps behind the parrot sanctuary to join “Jack’s Walk”; a steep 15 minute climb to the hilltop (Morne Bruce), where a huge cross and cannon share the spectacular view over Roseau, the bay front and the Botanical Gardens.

Aerial view of Roseau from Morne Bruce

Catch a weekend cricket match, the gardens host a number of other activities including parades, independence celebrations, the annual LIME Creole in the Park, and recreational activities.

Dominica’s Botanical Gardens beauty and serenity still mark it as one of the gems of the Caribbean, and are well worth a visit.

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