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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 July, 2012


People have a tendency to get caught up in the excitement of jumping on a ship that will take them around to dozens of ports and they often forget to listen to the safety instructions.

While it might seem boring or common sense, these safety instructions could be the difference between life and death in the event of an emergency.

If you are planning on taking part in a relaxing vacation aboard a ship, here is a quick guide to ship or travel safety that can help you in the event of an emergency.

Cruise Ship docked at Woodbridge Bay Port in Dominica

Create a Travel Document Packet:

A travel document packet will help you in the event you should lose your information while on vacation. Before traveling take time to scan all important travel documents such as airline tickets, credit cards, passports, birth certificates and other information. Place all information in a packet and leave it at home. In the event of an emergency, you can have a trusted friend or family member obtain the documents and send them to you.

Pay Attention to “No-Go” Areas:

It might be tempting to want to travel all over a port, but some ports have ‘no-go’ areas that are often dangerous to tourists. When your cruise ship docks, take time to look over what areas are considered ‘no-go’ areas and try to avoid them. They are placed on that list for a reason!

Keep Valuables Close at Hand:

The best advice possible for anyone on vacation is to leave valuables at home, but if you have to take them with you, keep them close at hand. Do not leave any valuable out of sight even for a minute. Leaving valuables out of your sight can be tempting to individuals who are looking to steal or take your valuables.

Pay Attention to the Safety Instructions:

Every ship offers a mandatory safety meeting that all passengers must attend. It might be tempting to ignore what is being said, but in the event of an emergency that can be a poor choice. Safety meetings often cover what to do in the event of an emergency, where the life vests are, how to contact ship employees, and other valuable information that can be the difference between life and death should an emergency occur.

Vacations provide rest, relaxation, and the opportunity to do unique and fun things, but you should be prepared for any emergency situation you might encounter. Follow these quick safety tips and your next vacation aboard a cruise ship will be safe and filled with fun and excitement.

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Dominica, also known as “The Nature Island,” lives up to its name with an array of natural sites, which serve as a virtual playground for visitors.

Featuring amazing stretches of untouched rainforest, natural waterfalls, and reefs just off the shore, the island is a nature-lover’s paradise.

Beyond getting in touch with nature, the island boasts a wealth of cultural experiences and historical treasures buried just beneath the surface.

From late-night dancing to local Jing Ping bands to ziplining across the Layou river, Dominica’s best experiences just can’t be replicated anywhere else.

To give you the edge as you venture off, we’ve compiled just a few of the incredible adventures that await in the “hidden gem” of the Caribbean!

Enjoy a Cuban cigar with the blues man Syme Zee.

Known as the island’s best blues man, Syme Zeeand his local band play a charming mix of blues, jazz, and reggae for the enjoyment of guests. Located in the heart of Roseau, Syme Zee’s bar and restaurant features local fare and specialty drinks, as well as a great selection of cigars. Attire is casual, though the location is one of the best opportunities to dress
up on the island, so feel free to go with something stylish.

Snorkel in the warm waters of Champagne Reef in Dominica

Snorkel in the warm waters of Champagne Reef.

Dominica is considered one the top ten places in the world for snorkeling, a title which it has earned through its array of reef and dive locations. The best of all of these is Champagne Reef, located 10 minutes by car from Roseau and featuring warm, bubbling water from the geothermal vents. Besides being surrounded by a constant stream of champagne-like bubbles, you’re likely to catch a glimpse of seahorses, frogfish, and squid. With the warm temperature and peaceful water, all you’ll need is some casual swimwear and snorkeling gear. The latter can be brought from home or rented in local dive shops.

Walk through the Roseau Botanical Gardens.

The Botanical Gardens in the capital city of Roseau provide a chance to take in all of the island’s indigenous plant-life. 40 acres of gardens are home to over 50 types of indigenous plants and the famous Sisserou parrot, the national bird of the island. The gardens also act as a center for activities year-round, so be on the lookout for cricket matches, parades, and even the World Creole Music Festival, which occurs every October. Dress comfortably and be sure to pack sunscreen.

Visit Kalinago Territory in Dominica

Visit Kalinago Territory.

The island’s indigenous people are located on 3,700 acres on the east coast, approximately 20 miles from Roseau. The area is open to guests and features day tours, a model village, cultural performances, and traditional activities, such as canoe building, basket weaving, herb collecting. You’re invited to participate in a home stay, though even just an afternoon visit promises an enriching cultural experience great for the entire family. Local craft shops are one of the best places on the island to pickup authentic Dominica souvenirs!

Zipline in Laudat.

Located 15 minutes outside of Roseau in Laudat, the Zipline Canopy Adventure provides an awe-inspiring view of the rainforest – from above! For $70, each guest is provided safety gear, trained guides, and a course comprised of 27 challenges and seven zip lines, and is designed to take up an afternoon. Located over Layou, Dominica’s longest river, you’ll be sure to bring back adrenaline-filled memories to friends back home. Wacky Rollers, the company conducting the
excursion, also offers river tubing and jeep tours for those that prefer adventures closer to the ground!

Walk to the twin waterfalls of Trafalgar.

Situated in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, which is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the Trafalgar Falls are the most famous waterfalls on the island. Requiring a 10 minute walk once inside the park, Trafalgar provides a private, yet accessible location to take in the natural beauty of the island. A viewing platform allows you take photograph the twin falls, (named “Mamma” and “Papa”) or just jump into the wide pool base! Dress comfortably, pack sunscreen, and possibly a lunch, as the surrounding area makes the perfect mid-day rest stop.

Take a tour of the capital city of Roseau.

Satisfy your historical curiosity by taking a walking tour throughout the island’s capital city. You can choose to focus on the fascinating 18th century architecture, which contain elements of Creole, French Colonial, and English building styles, or the historical significance of the local churches and markets. Despite packing a lot into a small space, the
tour can be completed within an hour or extended to a whole afternoon.

Dominica's traditional Jing Ping

Dance the night away to Dominica’s traditional Jing Ping.

The traditional Jing Ping music provides much of the soundtrack to the nightlife in Dominica. Beginning as folk music of local slave plantation, modern Jing Ping bands utilize an accordion, boom pipe, tambourine, and scraper and is accompanied by a dance known as “the flirtation.” When the sun sets in Roseau, bars will host these bands, as well as calypso and steelpan music, which came to the island in the 1960s. Complement the festive music with a tasty local drink or a Cuban cigar!

Cleanse your skin with volcanic mud at the Valley of Desolation.

The Valley of Desolation lies along the of a boiling lake, surrounded by lush vegetation and beautiful moon-like terrain. The 8-mile hike is moderately difficult, so be sure to go with a guide that can be found at the launching point of Laudat. Expect this trip to take up an afternoon, but the one-of-a-kind atmosphere upon reaching the peak makes it worth it. Also, the volcanic mud around the valley is rumored to be good for your complexion, so give it a try upon celebrating your epic journey. Hikers should pack rugged boots and plenty of water.

Go whale watching off the coast.

Considered the Caribbean’s prime whale watching island, the Dominica is the only place in the world where sperm whales reside year-round. Six species can be found on a regular basis, but up to 22 species have been spotted at any given time. Whale watching tours are found throughout the island, especially in the port city of Roseau and typically last for at least two hours.

These adventures, while diverse, can all be planned and scheduled in the capital city of Roseau. Taxis and tour operators are plentiful, especially during cruise season, but be sure that they are certified, as indicated by red circular discs located on the vehicle’s windshield.

Between historic Roseau, the warm waters of Champagne Reef and the volcanic landscapes in the Valley of Desolation, Dominica provides an endless selection of attractions for every taste and vacation style!

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In July, Dominica hosts its 19th Annual Dive Fest. Noted for its traditional canoe racing, dinner dances, sunset cruises, whale watching, and waterside fêtes, Dive Fest is one of the island’s most popular events and attracts locals, visitors and international sponsors.

It all began in 1994, thanks to pioneering watersports operators such as the late Derek Perryman. Derek began scuba diving Dominica’s reefs as far back as 1983 and, five years later, kick-started the recreational dive sector by establishing one of the island’s first professional dive operations, Dive Dominica. His legacy has been profound. Not only did he place Dominica on the international dive map, he introduced a new and exciting opportunity to young Dominicans. Here was a chance to train, get a professional qualification, and embark on a fascinating and rewarding career.

dive-dominica

Dive Fest is an extension of this ethic. For many, the main attraction may be the festivities, but at its core it’s all about getting people into the water and having fun diving Dominica. Professionally managed “try-dives” are a fabulous chance for complete beginners to experience Dominica’s underwater world. The drama of the mountainous and forest-covered landscape is perfectly reflected beneath the waves; vertiginous drop-offs, volcanic pinnacles, and a lush adornment of corals, sponges and reef fish. This stunning kaleidoscope of color and life is a draw for underwater photography enthusiasts, now a key ingredient of Dive Fest, with competitions, treasure-hunts and workshops.

Very much the go-to man for anyone interested in scuba diving in Dominica, Derek Perryman died unexpectedly in 2010 and is greatly missed by all. From Soufriere all the way to the Cabrits, Dive Fest is a celebration of people like Derek, and of all those still involved in Dominica’s thriving dive industry. It is an island-wide party, an opportunity to try something new, and a unique showcase of the Nature Island’s exceptional scuba diving.

For more details on Dive Fest, visit www.dominicawatersports.com or www.discoverdominica.com.

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