Dominica

Dominica is the model getaway for nature lovers. The kaleidoscopic menagerie of wildlife is everywhere you go, from the lush rain forests to the ethereal water, even up to the top of the island's volcanoes. Waterfalls greet hikers as they explore the extensive national parks and divers are sure to speak fondly of Dominica watersports. The entire island is a visual feast: whales and dolphins surround the tiny island and those fond of birdwatching could hardly choose a better location. On the island of Dominica adventure is everywhere.

In comparison to the rest of the Caribbean, Dominica has rocky, uninviting beaches. A volcanic island, black powder covers the Dominican coastline. Since the island of Dominica gets only a fraction of visitors compared to nearby Guadeloupe or Martinique, there are fewer hotels and bars, but that is hardly why anyone seeks out this refuge. Almost the entire landscape is preserved national forests and parks – and each is fervidly protected by the vigilant island's forestry service. The northeast corner of the island is one of the few remaining homes of the Caribs – the indigenous people who give the entire sea its name – a people with a longstanding connection to the storied history of Dominica. The traditional crafts of the Carib Indians are on display throughout the nation – not to mention many fine rum and coffee products. There are also extensive island remedies for nearly every malady, whether physical or mental. The proof that modern times have not yet diluted ties to the history of Dominica.

Dominica adventure tours are rare due to the relatively small tourist industry on the island, so you will have to do much of the exploring on your own. What is available are usually run through one of the few resorts on the island, and involve a variety of dives and hikes. And though the coastline is nothing spectacular – and relatively unsafe to swim in - it is what's underwater that counts. Even the most cursory dive will redefine the word "teeming" for most visitors, and it is easy to see why Dominica adventures are the island's main attraction.

The history of Dominica is another. Though it was eventually colonized by the British, the island remained virtually untouched throughout its foreign rule. Thus Dominica offers a rare glimpse into what the islands must have looked like hundreds of years ago, before tourism, slavery and colonization scratched their marks onto the Caribbean.

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