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Purely Dominica

Purely Dominica

Are you looking for reasons why you should hike into Dominica? You like many other hikers and nature lovers are probably looking for your next destination.

In fact, you are yet to go for a hike simply because you haven’ identified a good location. But, has the thought of visiting Dominica ever crossed your mind? Well, read on to know what makes this region a top destination for hikers.

Pristine Natural Environment

Dominica is regarded as the hiker’s paradise and sees many people visiting the destination every year. The country boasts of pristine natural environment that has remained the same as it was for many centuries. The concerted efforts from environmentalists, the locals and government have helped preserve the natural beauty. You will love the diverse flora and fauna, fresh air, waterfalls, mud baths, gorges, the unbeaten path and much more during the hiking expedition.

Hiking in Dominica
Versatile Terrain and Landscape

At times referred to as the “Hidden Gem” for hikers and campers, Dominica prides itself for having large and diverse terrains and landscapes. There are many hills, mountains, valleys, forests, jungles, grasslands, beaches and much more. As a hiker, you may be lost for choice when trying to choose a particular location. You can choose to hike deep inside the dense jungles or take a tour of the light vegetation found along the golden white sandy shores and beaches.

Panoramic and Picturesque Views

Are you aware that the first longest nature trail in the Caribbean is found in Dominica? This should possibility encourage you to hike into Dominica. Found in Kalinago (Carib), the Waitukubuli National Trail is recognized as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to vibrant eco-system and indigenous people of the region. There is also the Morne Trois Pitons National Park which is home to the second largest Boiling Lake in the world. Hiking in the region gives you a chance to be part of these natural phenomenons as you experience the region rich culture and history, natural beauty, biological diversity and much more.

Dominica hike fest 2010

Range of Packages

Dominica has a package for every hiker whether a newbie, fist timer or experienced hiker. The different plans will suit an individual who is seeking to become one with nature, a casual and also a serious hiker. While looking for a service provider, it’s ideal to only work with licensed and reputable company. Always go for guides who possess the DDA certification.

Pristine and natural environment, versatile landscapes and terrains and panoramic views will make Dominica worth a visit. In addition to well-kept and pristine environment, the region also prides itself for being one of the most hospitable and welcoming destinations for hikers. Still searching for reasons why you should hike into Dominica? Why don’t you talk to a reputable and seasoned travel agency?

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Once again, I will tell you some more about Morne Diablotin. But this time, it’s going to be a story about the mountain itself.

Morne Diablotin is the highest mountain of Dominica, reaching 4,747 ft (1,447 m) in height. It may seem kind of low to those who’ve been accustomed to the Alps and the Rocky Mountains, but although Morne Diablotin is no rival to Mount Elbert or Mont Blanc, it is the second largest mountain in all of the Lesser Antilles. What’s more important, it’s a beautiful terrain covered with the rainforest and the elfin woodland.

Okay, you’d like to get there. What do you need first? A place to stay. The nearest ones are Portsmouth Beach Hotel (tel. 445-5142), Coconut Beach Hotel (445-5393), and Picard Beach Cottage Resort (445-5131) at Picard.

The route to the mount is simple. When driving along the Portsmouth coast road, turn to the east when you’re to the north of Dublanc, between Dublanc and Morne Espagnol to be precise. The turn is signposted, you won’t stray. Then, proceed along the way to the shack you can see on the left. There should be the crossroads where the track to the mountain starts.

Morne Diablotin - Dominica highest mountainView of the North from Morne Diablotin – Photo by WillMcPhail via flickr

If you walk to the left, you’ll get to the starting point of the Syndicate Nature Trail in half an hour, because it’s just 0.8 mi long. It was built in 1994 in a parcel of forest bought by the government back in 1989. It’s a perfect route for those who are thirsty for birdwatching. Chances of seeing a sisserou or a jaco are good. There also are several minor ways to the higher elevations. As we are more interested in the mountain, let’s consider the other trail.

The trail to the Morne Diablotin starts on the right from the crossroads. It’s kind of flat at first, but the slope increases quickly. The path is rough and steep, it’s even worse when it’s rain, but it’s worth it. Neglect the spurs, and simply enjoy the beauty of the montane forest, which is full of life. It’s birds: Blue-headed hummingbird, forest thrush, pearly-eyed thrasher, red-necked pigeon, ruddy quail dove, rufous-throated solitaire, trembler, and many other species. It’s beasts: Wild pig, agoutis and opossums–they all are prey for local Dominicans. It’s chiropterans, which, however, you may only encounter after the sunset.

You won’t have to walk much, the forest is over after a thousand feet. Then the last section of the trail (1000 ft long, too) brings you to the elfin woodland, leading you between tree ferns and by the razor grass areas. Once you at the high ridges, you’ll have to scramble through the maze of kaklen and mountain palms. You better do this with care, unless you want to cause damage to the magnificence of these plants or even to yourself. I don’t think you do.

The walk along the Morne Diablotin trail usually takes up to three hours when you’re going up and 2-2.5 hours when you’re coming back. But you made it. You’re at the peak. What should you pay attention to?

Couple of video shots from Morne Diablotins. Video by MikeInDominica.

The misty winds won’t let grow something huge. But they make perfect conditions for mosses, lichens and flowering. Most interesting things are the endemic Chromolaena impetiolaris and Chromolaena macrodon, and Tibouchina melastomes.

If you’re lucky enough to be there when it’s clear, you will be rewarded with the magnificent view. The panorama is breathtaking. You can see the other mountains of Dominica, moreover, you can see Martinique dissolved in the air and in the ocean. Of course, the forests, plantations and villages will also be visible. You may want to bring the tripod for your camera. It’ll come in handy if you decide to take a panoramic picture or if you pick some distant object and choose to zoom in.

I hope you’ll have your best experience there.

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Discover Dominica Authority and the Waitukubuli National Trail Project (WNTP) will announce the official opening for the first two segments of the Waitukubuli National Trail at their Summer Adventure and Hike Event, Sunday, August 29.

Once completed, the Waitukubuli National Trail (WNT) will be the first and only walking trail that traverses the entire Caribbean island. The trail will run from the south to the north, with a distance of 115 miles. It will be divided into 14 different segments with levels varying from easy family hikes to longer and more challenging hikes. Each trail will offer breathtaking views of Dominica’s unspoiled nature, pristine waterfalls and lush rainforests.

The event will highlight on-going work of the WNTP, feature a series of activities including hiking events for children and adults, the unveiling of the first billboard promoting the WNTP and will end with a closing ceremony by the WNTP Project Management Unit. The closing ceremony will be concluded with entertainment from Fanatik Band and Club DVD Sounds.

Dominica's Waitukubuli Trail Logo

“With the Waitukubuli National Trail being the first hiking trail to cover an entire Caribbean island, promoting the trail will become one of the key marketing tactics we utilize to attract hikers from around the world,” comments Colin Piper, CEO/Director of Tourism at Discover Dominica Authority. “The trail was created to showcase the natural beauty and lush rainforests of our island, with this event designed to give visitors a better understanding of the WNTP.”

Activities will begin at 10:00 am and all races will be held on Segments 4 and 5 of the WNT, covering the community of Sylvania and the Emerald Pool. Following the competitions, activities will be held within Sylvania.

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