I’ll begin this beach review with a tip of the hat to Larry from Canada, who wrote that he appreciates the restaurant reviews, but that the beach reviews “make me smile the most”. Thanks, Larry.
Now that we’ve reviewed an Atlantic-Batiboubeach and a Caribbean beach-Prince Rupert Bay and fresh water-Chaudière swimming hole, let’s pay a visit to a prime spot for underwater viewing, Champagne. To quote a Web posting by Linda Garrison,
“One very interesting snorkeling option is to visit the Soufriere area of Dominica south of Roseau. Dominica has many pristine coral reefs with diverse marine life, perfect for diving or snorkeling. One snorkeling place that is very unusual is nicknamed “Champagne” because of the tiny crystal bubbles that continuously rise from small volcanic geothermal fissures in the sea floor. Swimming in these bubbles is like swimming in a glass of champagne!”
She took an excursion from a tour boat, and wrote: “The snorkeling boat picks up guests within walking distance of the cruise ship pier in Roseau for the 3-hour shore excursion. We had an enjoyable ride of about 45 minutes along the southwest coast of Dominica, providing a great view of Roseau and several small villages along the coastline. The snorkeling boat anchored in the Champagne area of the Soufriere/Scotts Head Marine Reserve. We snorkeled for about an hour, and the bubbles made us all giddy! (I guess it was the champagne.) The boat then returned to Roseau after an exhilarating snorkeling experience!”
Are We Lucky or What!
Getting To Champagne
You can also easily reach Champagne by any southbound bus from Roseau, and save some money. Or drive there yourself. It’s only a short distance south of Point Michel. Because Champagne is a marine reserve, there is a small fee ($3 US, I believe) per person to enter. This is paid at the concrete steps leading to Champagne from land or to the boat operators. But the small fee is well worth the price, not only for the wonderful experience but also for knowing that the money goes for nature preservation.
Champagne is marked right on the main road by a small sign. There is a newly constructed tourist accommodation just after the stairs down to the beach, just as the road turns left and starts uphill. Champagne beach itself is a rocky beach, and the prime snorkeling spot is at the far end of the beach, about a 5-minute walk. Look up into the trees on the left as you proceed and you may see colorful male iguanas sunning themselves and displaying for the benefit of lady iguanas. Lizards will also scuttle from the rocks into the bush as you pass.
Keep going until you reach a cliff. That’s where you want to enter the water. Look carefully, because you should see bubbles rising only a foot or two from shore. The cliff has a small cave too, about big enough to shelter two people from any rain. Afternoon showers there on mixed sunny days often produce beautiful rainbows – sometimes even double rainbows – over the Caribbean or even framing Roseau.
If you’re like us, you’ll love watching the beautiful and colorful fish while being gently tickled by the bubbles. It’s intoxicating without even drinking.