We loved Dominica the first time we visited. Since life onboard Sava Season 2 is about expanded exploration, we had to return. Our second visit to “The Nature Island” allowed us to snorkel, dive, and visit more sites we missed the first time. We found so much more to do in Dominica.
This town is much cuter and more interesting than I knew! We were warned off from spending much time here on the trip down, but this visit we spent three nights in Roseau and found a lot to like.
Our arrival coincided with New Year’s Eve, but we were too tired to do much. We listened to the party from shore, and watched the locals set off firecrackers from one of the docks.
Once we were rested, we enjoyed exploring the town. We shopped in the stores, including an excellent supermarket, and ate and drank at an eclectic range of spots.
In town, High Rise Beach Bar is popular with locals for the views of the port, cheap Kubuli beers, and decent lunch specials. It is not in a high rise nor on the beach.
The cruise ship travelers like Ruins Rock Café, a bar built in the ruins of an old building near the port. It’s a cool place, with funky decor, good wifi, and lots of oddly flavored bush rums. We found out later that these two bars have owners in common.
While moored in Roseau, we even got to scuba dive with the only dive company left in Roseau since Hurricane Maria. We had a great two dive day with healthy reefs, and lots of eels and big fish. We gave up on taking photos though because we dove with a big group and they all had giant cameras which got in the way. I have to say we’ve been spoiled diving by ourselves off the boat, but in the national park you are strictly required to dive with guides.
Champagne Beach is part of the national park system in the southern shore of Dominica. The sand at this beach is black, which is common in Dominica because of the volcanic landscapes. That’s cool enough, but what makes this place remarkable is what happens in the water.
Named for the tiny bubbles that rise from the bottom of the sea due to volcanic activity, it is a unique and beautiful snorkel site.
We took the local bus from the anchorage in Roseau and spent an hour snorkeling and swimming there. It’s a neat experience to approach a small column of bubbles and then be surrounded by these spouts rising from below.
Morne Bruce Lookout Hike and Botanical Gardens
A relatively quick yet uphill walk from Roseau, the Morne Bruce Lookout has gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside and harbor. After days on the boat, when we get to land, we like to stretch our legs!
As is common, the lookout was used as protection, so it’s kind of like a fort, of which we visit many in the Eastern Caribbean.
Downhill from the lookout is the very pretty Dominica Botanic Gardens. It’s more like a big park with no admission fee and not much signage. The cruise ship tour groups were out in full force on New Year’s Day, but the park has room for everyone. We meandered around enjoying the lush plants and flowers. Note: the botanic garden does have parrots, but they’re caged.
We also surveyed a crushed bus exemplifying hurricane damage in this lovely island.
The North Coast
We rented a car for a day from Portsmouth to see more of the country. A trip to Emerald Pool was a little bit of a let-down: maybe we’ve seen enough waterfalls?, but the drive along the east and north coasts was great!
We made another stop at Baptiste Chocolate (hmm need more chocolate but too many waterfalls? Are my priorities askew?) and then drove a coastal road and basked in nature’s beauty.
We also were absolutely craving lunch and hadn’t seen any open restaurants for miles, almost ran out of gas, and finally spotted a place that looked like it might be open. Escape Grill was an oasis, with gorgeous views, relaxed atmosphere, cold drinks and delicious food.
More to Do in Dominica
Dominica is a beautiful country with warm and generous people. We hope they recover from the devastation of the past years. If you are considering visiting a less commercial Caribbean island, this is the one as there’s always more to do in Dominica. These are our most recent highlights but don’t forget Indian River and Titou Gorge and more from our first time in Dominica.
Have you been and do you have other suggestions for me? Or do you want to go especially to do one thing? Let me know in the comments!