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

Archive for July, 2011


WHERE IS DOMINICA? One of the most frequently asked question – whether it’s on this weblog or when traveling. There are many people who have never even heard of the island, much less to know where it’s located on the World Map.

Quite often Dominica is confused with Dominican Republic, sometimes people think that Dominica is some island in the Mediterranean or something else.

DOMINICA is an independent island nation located in the West Island between the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. It is the most northerly of the Windward Islands and is approximately 47km long and 26km wide. The island is 750km in area and faces the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Caribbean Sea to the west. Located on the southwestern coast the country’s capital, Roseau which is also its major sea port.

The interior of Dominica is one of the youngest and most mountainous landscapes in the Caribbean. At the Centre of the Lesser Antilles island chain, Dominica is volcanic in origin and its creation is still very evident in its dormant volcanoes, sulphur deposits, hot water springs and gas vents that are found both above and below sea level.

An excerpt from Dominica (Bradt Travel Guide)

Now you know where Dominica is, come enjoy the adventure activities, fascinating wildlife, history, culture, beautiful landscapes, sunshine and friendly people – all of these can be found in Dominica, one of the Caribbean’s hidden gems.

A Nature Island with mountainous landscape of rainforests, rivers and waterfalls, Dominica is a haven for hikers and nature lovers. As one of the last Caribbean islands to be colonised, it boasts a pirate past and today retains a unique culture as home to the regions last indigenous population of Carib Indians

Find out why Dominicans are amongst the happiest and oldest in the world and how the islands tourism industry works in harmony with local communities to offer a refreshingly authentic holiday experience.

For more about Dominica visit our page “About Dominica Island” or take a look at Dominica Photo Travel Guide – where you can see pictures from around the island. Also, see “Where is Dominica

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Secret Bay, Dominica – ‘Eco-Luxury’ is a slightly unusual concept and one that is gradually making its way to Caribbean shores. It wasn’t long ago when visitors to the islands simply fancied a holiday, basking in the sun on a white sandy beach, fringed with coconut palms, with the turquoise sea shimmering in the distance.

Known for more than just sun, sea and sand, the Caribbean is now attracting a new breed of tourists wanting to discover the natural wonders of the islands.

As word about its stunning natural beauty makes headlines around the world, Dominica has become one of the leading eco-destinations in the Caribbean. A haven for nature lovers, festooned with waterfalls, dense tropical rainforests, hot springs and rivers where peace and serenity abound. To add to the allure of this paradise island, a new sophisticated resort has emerged, combining eco-sensibility with unfettered luxury and
offering a unique experience for visitors to the island.

view of secret bay resort in Dominica

Perched on a hill-top with breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea, Secret Bay is an archetype for self-indulgence at its best. The property consists of two high-end luxury villas and two bungalows surrounded by an oasis of tropical foliage, a wild orchid garden, secluded beaches, a mysterious sea-cave and the enchanting Cario River. Unique to this exclusive resort, is the Souce Shack –where the river meets the sea – there, you can unwind and enjoy homemade snacks and freshly prepared local juices made from seasonal vegetables and fruits grown right on the property.

Designed by renowned Venezuelan architect Fruto Vivas, the accommodations have made concessions to the environment, and so, were built according to global best practices and standards for environmentally friendly tourism development.

villa at secret bay resort in dominica

The owners, Gregor Nassief and Sandra Vivas, are dedicated to preserving and protecting the land and surrounding marine environment in their natural state. A glance around the property will reveal that virtually no trees were cut down for this development and no heavy equipment was used in the construction of the villas and bungalows which were meticulously built by hand. In addition, all the buildings have been raised above the ground in order to minimize their environmental impact.

But what of the visitor experience at Secret Bay?

Catering to those who seek high quality accommodation in an idyllic location, Secret Bay sacrifices nothing in the way of luxury. The villas and bungalows exemplify a chic, minimalistic style, featuring a fully-equipped contemporary kitchen, en-suite bathrooms, state-of-the-art audiovisual system and private pool with spacious wooden deck and sun-loungers. The Zabuco Honeymoon Villa and two-bedroom Zing Zing villa have been tastefully designed, offering stunning views from the balcony, private plunge pool or Jacuzzi and master bedrooms with king-sized beds adorned with the choicest linens.

Image of villa t secret bay resort in Dominica

Services such a personal cook, private massage, concierge, housekeeping and 24-hour security are part of what it means to stay at Secret Bay. Guests will appreciate the courteous service, attention to detail and being pampered by dedicated staff.

According to owner, Sandra Vivas, a contemporary artist who has exhibited in Latin America, Europe and North America, “It’s very important to provide this exclusive service to those who want a very private experience. People who enjoy peace and quiet…an artist who needs inspiration, a celebrity who wants to get away from it all, a couple seeking unforgettable romance. Secret Bay is a perfectly quiet location for those who want seclusion and privacy.”

secret bay dominica villa interior view

Secret Bay is definitely a world class eco luxury resort providing guests with an unforgettable holiday in harmony with nature. Snorkeling, kayaking, bird watching and mountain biking are among the many adventures to be had at this eco gem.

The development is a work in progress and Gregor and Sandra plan to complete the resort by 2014, at which time guests will own – in whole or in part- their very own private villa at Secret Bay. This will present a once in a life-time opportunity for clients to merge a fabulous vacation experience with a solid real estate investment in the Caribbean, where they can enjoy the ultimate in sustainable luxury living.

sunset at secret bay resort in Dominica

Gregor is pleased with this latest endeavor and believes that Secret Bay ticks all the right boxes for eco-travelers in the Caribbean seeking green luxury accommodation. “Our aim is to provide the best possible experience for our guests, so they can leave here feeling that they have been to an amazing place, lived and slept in amazing accommodations and taken care of by amazing staff.”

For more information visit www.secretbay.dm or email:info@secretbay.dm

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One of the quickest ways to get to know a community, or culture, with which one is unfamiliar, is to dance with them. In the case of Dominica Island’s vibrant cultural history, a great deal can be learned through dance.

Works of music, art, and dance, and the compositions, forms, and styles created by the peoples of Dominica are a tactile and experiential representation of the peoples that collided and melted together to create the island culture of today.

If you’re a tourist, don’t be confused. Dominica is not the Dominican Republic. Dominica Island lies between Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean Sea. This geographic information is important for understanding how Dominica Island’s artistic styles developed, and how this development influenced the dance coming out of the country in particular.

Photo of Dominica Quadrille dance

The location of Dominica Island made it an ideal location for settlement, which of course meant that just about every European nation attempted, or succeeded, in overrunning the indigenous community and colonizing it at some point between the early 1600s, and Dominica’s independence from the UK in 1978. Though this aspect of Dominica’s history is not particularly different from the history of other island communities, what sets Dominica apart is the fact that the indigenous population, the Carib Indians, were able to maintain there own identity and retain their cultural traditions. Their movement traditions, combined with the traditions brought by peoples stolen from Africa by the British and French for slave labor, and the movement traditions of the British and French themselves, created dance forms as mixed as the linguistic customs of the island.

There are a number of traditional dances whose mixed ethnic heritage is apparent in their sequences and rhythmic structure. Some hew more closely to a particular region’s dance traditions than others, but all are stamped with a distinctly Dominican flavor. The Mazook, is perhaps the most widely recognizable. As the population of Dominica has moved to other parts of the world, it is the dance most often performed, taught, and presented to the rest of the world. Based on the Polish Mazurka, which was adopted by the French and then passed on to the mixed population of the island, Mazooka utilizes a base step of glide, shuffle, glide, cross step return, in combination with many more complicated steps as dictated by the music. The Heel and Toe Mazooka is also a popular variation that has a similar feel to the polka

.

The Quadrille and Lancers are two dance forms that share a similar structure. Both are square dances, though the former is rooted in the French tradition, and the latter in the British. The Quadrille is danced with four couples that dance as couples, and exchange partners throughout the dance. The sequence for exchanging partners is quite lengthy as each set is made up of five figures. Lancers is a British quadrille and is actually a combination of English country-dances and reels from Ireland and Scotland. The male part of the dance has a more military quality than its French counterpart. Both of these dances found their way to Dominica and were also absorbed and subtly adjusted to fit the music and the people of the island.

Bele is believed by many to be the oldest dance of the island movement traditions. It is the form most rooted in African movement structures, as opposed to European. The dance is very tied to the music that accompanies it, which is created entirely by the tambou drum. It is performed by a couple surrounded by a larger group and is a dance of courtship. It’s comprised of a sequence of “call-and-response” movements, in which the male half of the couple dances showing strength, and the female half responds by dancing her interest. The male half of the couple again dances to show his interest, and finally the two dance together. The movement is recognizable for being quite energetic, and the group surrounding the two dancers, sings.

For tourists seeking an opportunity to get off of that reclining sofa in the hotel and gain instruction in the traditional dances, the forms are performed at cultural events on the island throughout the year, including the Dominica Carnival, the World Creole Music Festival, Jazz n’ Creole, and Creole in the Park. More formal classes in the traditional dances can be found at the Health and Wellness Expo held each May, or by contacting academic institutions on the island, many of which offer strong performance programs to their students, as part of the regular academic schedule.

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