DOMINICA  |  Dominica, Dominica Travel Guide
Thursday, February 27, 2020
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Inland Tours

Inland Tours

Dominica’s finest treasures are hidden in the mountains that run north/south through the interior. As you drive along the coastal roads and visit seaside villages, allow plenty of time to travel inland to explore the best natural sites. Branches of the Transinsular Road and the Roseau-Laudat road provide access to many of the attractions in Morne Trois Pitons National Park ( ) and the Central Forest Reserve. Other locations can be reached by interior roads that jut off the main coast road and cut through the mountain forests. You can reach many of the sites by car, but many more require a hike, and a few are demanding full-day excursions.

Trafalgar Falls

There are some superb sites that can be reached easily from an eastbound road out of Roseau. The road forks twice. More or less straight-on leads to the village of Laudat. A right turn at the first fork goes to Wotten Waven, and a right turn at the second fork ends at Trafalgar Falls.

It’s a quick five-mile drive north up King George V Street through Bath Estate to the parking lot at Trafalgar Falls, one of the most visited spots on the island. You can stop at four-acre D’Auchamps Gardens along the way to brush up on botanical names and look out across the valley to the island’s highest mountains in Morne Trois Pitons National Park.

Trafalgar Falls are twin, side-by-side chutes known affectionately by islanders as Papa and Mama. It’s a scenic 10-minute hike from the parking lot to the wooden lookout platform and a natural pool where you can swim.

Papa, on the left, is the taller of the two chutes. It plunges down a 200-foot rock face. At his feet, hot sulphur springs form small whirlpools, where you can soak. Mama is broad, cool and gentle. There’s a deep, decent-sized swimming pool at her feet.

Wotten Waven is across the valley from the falls and you can hike between the two, but you’ll need a good guide to show you the way. A better choice is to drive back toward Roseau, then turn left (almost 360°) at the first fork in the road east of the capital. A sign in the village points the way to a trail to bubbling sulphur springs thought to have therapeutic value.

Morne Trois Pitons National Park

The village of Laudat, 4½ miles northeast of Roseau, offers access to most parts of Morne Trois Pitons National Park, a 17,000-acre protected natural area that was designated a World Heritage Site in December, 1997 (the first enlisted natural site in the eastern Caribbean). The name Morne Trois Pitons translates as “three-peak mountain,” and the huge volcano on the park’s northern edge appears to have three peaks when viewed from the west coast.

Freshwater Lake

You can reach Freshwater Lake by car (preferably 4WD) or on foot. A rocky 2½-mile road goes from Laudat, along the south edge of Morne Macaque, almost to the lake.

There’s some folklore attached to this nine-acre dammed reservoir: legend has it that a one-eyed monster lives at the bottom. Less interesting is the modern-day reality that the lake is a source for an incongruous hydroelectric plant near the village.

Freshwater Lake has some fine picnic spots; the reward for making a short climb up a steep slope on the southeast shore is a marvelous view of the Atlantic.

Several trails to other popular sites in the national park begin in or near Laudat, and guides who live nearby know the area well. Most hotels and guesthouses will suggest guides, or you can contact the tourist office in Roseau (  448-2045) or one of the tour operators listed in Dominica A to Z.

Titou Gorge

Titou Gorge, the outlet of Freshwater Lake, can be reached by a short walk. You have to wade, swim, slip and slide part of the way, too. The trail, which eventually leads to Boiling Lake and the Valley of Desolation, starts at the gorge near the power plant in Laudat. You need a guide to reach the more distant sites, but the walk to Titou is short and easy. When you get there, you’ll find a deep pool fed by hot springs at the base of a canyon. If the water isn’t rushing too strongly, you can swim up the gorge to a waterfall.

An inflatable raft can be fun, but stay out of the water if it looks churned up from a strong current.

Emerald Pool

The Emerald Pool is on the far northern boundary of the park at the southern edge of the Central Forest Reserve (off the Transinsular Road). It’s one of the island’s major attractions, and you don’t want to go there on cruise-ship days. At other times, take a bus from Canefield destined for Castle Bruce, and get off at the parking area for the trail. (Your bus driver will know where the trail is.)

By car, head inland from either coast on the crossisland Transinsular Road to the trailhead three miles east of Pont Casse and five miles west of Castle Bruce. Hikers can begin the climb up Morne Trois Pitons from here, and strollers can follow an easy path through lush foliage to the pool. Before Hurricane David raged through, the water level was higher, but the pool still is deep enough for a swim.

Last updated December 6, 2007
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