Travel to the Island of Dominica – Episode 146

categories: caribbean travel


The Amateur Traveler talks to Eddie about the island of Dominica. Dominica was discovered by Columbus and he might still recognize this lush tropical mountainous island with some of the best scuba diving in the world.


Travel Carnival – July 28th, 2008

  • Touristsโ€™ flight to the wrong country
  • Qantas jet lands with a gaping hole in the fuselage
  • Iraq opens airport aimed at tourism

click here to download (mp3)
click here to download (iTunes enhanced)

Show Notes

Visit Dominica
Discover Dominica
Boiling Lake video at Living Dominica
Fort Young Hotel

Internet Resources on your vacation try out a new job


No show on August 16th, Chris will be at the New Media Expo
Erick looks forward to his Monday commute
Jason asks: How expensive is Europe?
Podcasts wanted: Scotland, Phillipines, Bahamas

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

8 Responses to “Travel to the Island of Dominica – Episode 146”

Zoe Guerin


Thank you for your episode about Dominica. I have lived here for over four years and I haven’t began to explore the endless beautiful sites. There is just so many of them! This is truely an amazing island for nature lovers. I would just like to make an important correction to Eddy’s testomony: This island is much larger than 5/5 miles, it is actually 29 miles long and 16 miles wide. Still not a very large island, but enough for 365 rivers and 70,000 people!

If you visit Dominica, you should stay at some of the forest lodges and guest houses outside of Roseau. It is the best way to really experience the nature and the culture of the Island. It is also cheaper! It is best to contact a local travel agency to organise your vacation as yours probabely wont know much about it and will send you in one of the more “classic” hotels. Try Barefoot Travel, it is the main one and they have an office in the US also.

As a diver, I can only agree with Eddy, the sites are spectacular! try a small dive operator to avoid crowds from the cruise ships. Try Al Dive Centre or Cabrits Dive Centre. Sunset Bay Club also offers interesting all inclusive dive packages.



“the Cardiff airport in England” er … no Chris, I think you need to buy a map!

Amanda Petrucelli


Thanks to Zoe Guerin for her comment, I was going nuts listening to the podcast. (No reflecation on Chris, I am a long-time listener and huge fan.) I also lived on the Commonwealth of Dominica (Dough-min-knee-ka) for two years while in the Peace Corps. The pronunciation and size were the things that got me the most, but I would also like to add that there are some amazing interior hotels where it is much cooler and they give you the views of the mountains. There some very high points there which gives the island 289.5 square miles if you flattened it all out. There are huge undeveloped white sand beaches, but you need to ask locals where they are and how to get to them. You’d probably be the only one on them and I suspect you have to trespass through someone’s coconut plantation to get to them…but, once there, there are little tide pools with anemones, “champagne” reefs (because of the bubbling volcanic activity) and one beach has a swimable freshwater river that pours into the ocean right there. The crater at Scott’s Head your guest referred to I was told was created by a meteorite, so it’s a straight-walled circular drop off. The parrot on the flag is the Sisserou which is endemic — there are many endemic species (including the agouti, which is like a muskrat). The island also changed hands between the British and French something like 13 times in 20 years during the colonial era so both influences are prominent. It is the island mentioned first in Michener’s Caribbean because of the native tribes, the peaceful Arawaks and the warlike Caribs. The Caribs, (no longer warlike) who have notably different facial features and straight hair, live in a specific part of the island still under tribal rule. The reason you need a guide for the Boiling Lake hike (which women compare to childbirth; it’s *that* strenuous) is because in places you traverse over sulfur springs…think Yellowstone without the walkways and guiderails…and the guides know where to step. Your guest didn’t mention specific waterfalls…I would highly recommend Middleham Falls, accessible through the tiny village of Cockrane where I lived in the Peace Corps or, from the other side, the cloudlike Laudat where you start the boiling lake hike. Middleham has a fairy-tale like pool at the bottom of the falls for swimming. Laudat, on the other hand, has a dwarf rainforest, (due to altitude and wind, I believe) and one of the many warm pools to swim in. There are several hot springs throughout the island including Traflagar Falls where you can swim back and forth between the warm volcanic water and the cool mountain water. Another fall on the east coast is white…from calcium, lime or airbubbles, I don’t know, but the whole river is a milky color. I could go on forever about food to eat and other sites to see…it’s such an amazing place. It isn’t touristed because the coast line is so ragged it makes difficult for cruise ships to dock. I would definitely agree with the guest that the roads are dangerous. Your best bet is to take a bus…basically a converted minivan with others on it. And just hold you breath assuming that these people do this every day and they’re still alive. ๐Ÿ™‚ A trip of a few miles could take you several hours. Also, though it’s been since ’95 that I was there, the guest and Zoe here give me no reason to think things have changed much…it isn’t a place for the unfit. Hikes are long, hot, buggy and athletic (and I was 22 at the time.) But the views and destinations are unlike anything you can imagine. Oh! And there’s orchids, cocoa, birds of paradise, ginger lily for the botanist traveler. And old forts. And a Saturday market. And Carnival.



Pronunciation and size duly corrected, glad you guys covered this one. A great place for anyone looking for an active vacation. The mountain hiking and diving is world class. Soufriere Bay near Scott’s Head is great for diving or snorkeling.

However — saying they drive on the left side of the road suggests that the roads are wide enough for two lanes!

The crime: we were severely warned by a couple people to be careful, because just three years before our arrival, someone had their purse snatched. ๐Ÿ™‚



Bah! One thing I forgot. EC Dollar may be the official currency of Dominica, but almost everyone we encountered all over the island preferred US dollars — but then, that was before the US dollar became what it is today.




I really wish I could somehow convince those who take a wallet or purse on overseas travel on the value of a money belt or pouch.

Even on the one lane roads always good to know which way to dodge. ๐Ÿ™‚



The mispronouncing of Dominica in this episode really puts the “Amateur” in this podcast.

Chris Christensen


Yup. Oddly enough I don’t know how to pronounce all the names of places in the world.

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