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


Image of Morne Trois Piton

Why not to spend a beautiful day in the mountains? Especially if this day is quiet and sunny; especially if you are on the Dominica Island.

So, I decided to climb to the summit of the most beautiful mountain in Dominica – Morne Trois Pitons. This mount is Dominica’s second highest peak and one of the most spectacular mountain trails in the Caribbean.

Of course, this is not a trip that should be taken alone. Usually a group of several people is formed and they are guided by a person who is familiar to these places. Our guide was Jerome, a pleasant man about sixty, a resident of the island. To get to the starting point of our trip was not difficult at all. Buses that pass Pont Casse are usually in route to Castle Bruce, Marigot or La Plaine. West Bridge in Roseau is a place to catch buses in this direction.

At last, I was on the place and our trip began. First, the path was very wide and that gave us a lot of optimism. As Jerome promised us, the first fifteen minutes we easily walked through the forest. Jerome told us about all those trees we passed: Richeria grandis, miconia mirabilis, Symphonia globulifera… Then the path narrowed and our journey became more difficult: we faced short rock scrambles and wooden steps.The next forty-five minutes gave us steep steps, another scramble up and more and more steps.

A view of the Caribbean sea from Morne Trois Pitons in Dominica

Only after an hour of our journey we began to spot the first sighs of the summit. It was worth doing it: we were granted with magnificent views of the whole island. The panorama included Dominica’s highest peak Monte Diablotin, the Layou valley, the southern edge of the Central Forest Reserve. The views were really fantastiс!

All in all it took us two whole hours and a half to reach the summit. It was not that easy! During ascending, we enjoyed beautiful sceneries of rainforests and the mountains of Morne Couronne and Morne Negres Marrons. In spite of the fact that our guide warned us beforehand that it would not be an easy trip, it was sometimes very difficult. The major part of the trail was clear and easy to follow.

Top of Morne Trois Pitons in Dominica

However there also were places where you had to climb up rocks, avoid branches and tree routes. Besides, the wet places were very slippery. But everyone felt that the job was done not in vain. We managed to climb a mount 4,550 ft high! We reached the summit and broke out a picnic to celebrate our ascent. The pleasant aroma of herbs and the fresh light breeze strengthened our hunger. And only then our guide Jerome told us that eighty percent of the tourists do not reach the summit and prefer to stay on the slopes.

Hiking up Morne Trois Pitons in Dominica

You cannot imagine how proud we were of ourselves! This mountain hike is considered one of the finest in the Caribbean. This trip was really great, it was magnificent! Not only was it much fun, but it cost every effort we put.

This trip gave me more than just several hours of climbing and the picturesque views. The moment you step on the summit and see all that beauty of the island spread out in front of us, you understand that there are much more things in the world worth living for. Do you agree?

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Image of the boiling lake in Dominica

Dominica is one of many the Caribbean islands formed on the site of volcanic activity. Its population (mostly blacks) grows bananas and nearly one-third of the labour force works in agriculture. Dominica’s mountains, rainforests, freshwater lakes, hot springs, waterfalls, and diving spots makes it an attractive Eco-tourism destination.

One of the many unique natural attractions in Dominica is the Boiling Lake, the second fumarole lake in the world (after New Zealand’s Waimangu if to speak about sizes). Though this comparison is rather relative – unfortunately for tourists the lake is used to drying from time to time, resembling a muddy pool then rather than a lake. Since 1887 there have been registered several such cases. Since then the Forestry Division and enthusiasts have been regularly monitoring the lake taking photos and trying to measure its depth and diameter at least approximately.

 Am image of valley of desolation in Dominica

Staying in the vicinity of the lake may cost you life because of sulphurous gas and steam from the empty crater. It should be noted that the temperature there is estimated at 92 ºC. Some even boil eggs in the lake as legends say. Sometimes during rains the temperature of the water goes down to 10ºC and some brave hearts dare swimming despite the fact it is strictly prohibited for the lake is unpredictable.

In its normal state (i.e. the enormous bubbling cauldron) the diameter is measured up to 200 ft (66 m) and its approximate depth exceeds 195 ft (64 m). This cauldron is surrounded by glib rock walls with the height of 60-100 ft. Sulphurous steam often conceals half the lake which has milky white surface then. When its bubbling and steaming activity is lower you can see grayish-blue waters below. The smell, it should be said, is skanky. Still many tourists from different parts of the world seeking adventures dare hiking to the Boiling Lake.

Image of breakfast river on the boiling lake in Dominica

The word “hiking” means you can reach the place only on foot. Since Dominica has become a popular place with tourists the locals offer services of hiking guides. You can find guides either in Laudat, the nearest village to the lake, or in Roseau, the capital of Dominica. Even do not keep it in your mind to go there alone. For some hotshots this trip happened to be one way. The distance between Laudat, initial stage of the trip, and the lake is about 8 miles. The two-way trail may take you 6-8 hours. You should soberly evaluate your physical abilities. If you hardly remember your last visit to the gym, you’d rather stay in the hotel.

The trail starts early in the morning. People, experienced it, advise to put on your cheapest and most comfortable clothes: shorts, sturdy sandals, hiking boots. Extra batteries for your camera, snacks, water-supply, waterproof rain gear, and some extra clothes will not be excessive. Leave all the jewelry in your hotel room.

The trail starts with Titou Gorge. There you can cool off, enjoy a soak in hot mineral spring if you are a good swimmer, of course, for you’ll have to enter the deep Gorge with few places to grip. This stage is also the muddiest one. From that point the path will lead you through the rain forest to the Breakfast River. It is the only spot where you can have a snack and provide you with clean drinking water. The run from the village to the Breakfast River is rather easy and pleasant notwithstanding the mud and sulphurous springs.

An image a natural pool on the trail to the boiling lake in Dominica

The next run from the river to the Valley of Desolation gets rather tough. First you go through the Elfin Woodlands where you can enjoy exotic plants, palms, shrubs and grasses, then you will climb, and climb, and climb along the ridge to the very top (3,168 ft) of the Morne Nicholls. At this point you may rest a bit and have a spectacular view: Morne Micotrin, Roseau, the Caribbean Sea, Morne Watt, Laudat, and Cochrane. Then you’ll have to descend from the ridge to enter the Valley.

It is a volcanic valley with hot sulphur springs and vapour columns. There you can admire the Fumarole Vegetation – the only plants that can survive there – and various colours resulting from volcanic activity. From that point the path gets vague. You will have to carefully cross and re-cross the stream, climb and descend the mountains before you get to the lake. The run from the Valley up to the lake will take you about 40 minutes or more.

An image Dominica boiling lake

At this final stage of your trail it seems that you have enough strength and will to make a way back to the village. But it just seems. The only fact making you continue your trip is absence of any means of transportation. No one will get you to your hotel room but yourself before it gets dark. Finally you return to the village, get a portion of hot meal, and have a soak in the bath.

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screw

Dominica is an island of many wonders, but one of the most enjoyable would have to be Screw’s Sulphur Springs.

Nestled in the rain forest (Morne Trois Pitons National Park) near Trafalgar Falls, a visit to Screw’s Sulphur Spa will bring relaxation, refreshment and take away five years of stress.

The place looks magnificent,with greenery everywhere, it’s like having your own private rain forest.

Soak in one the five natural pools, all your tensions and worries melt away.One can only handle this luxury for maybe an hour (USD$10.00 or XCD$26.00), then it’s time to get back to the real world.

Climbing back up to the road we were greeted in the bar/sitting area with fresh fruit. The staff is very efficient and very hospitable; from the moment we arrived we felt very welcome and part of the family.

image of screw's sulphur spa pools in dominica

Photo of screw's sulphur hot pools in dominica

Soak and soothe your skin, muscles and joints, while relaxing your mind and body in the sun, under the moon and stars, rain or shine – Mr.Screw.

Image of screws hot sulphur springs in dominica

Screws fruit plate in Dominica

We left Screw’s Sulphur spa feeling refreshed and happy. So whether you are cruiseship visitor for one day or you’re planning that adventure vacation to Dominica , you must stop by “Screw’s”…it might just be your most relaxing time in Dominica.

See our video of the Screw’s Sulphur Springs:

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