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Dominica, the exotic destination

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Dominica, the exotic destination You don't come to Dominica to sit on the beach sipping rum punch; you come for adventure. With it's rugged volcanic landscape and more then 350 rivers, this remote Carrabean escape in the Lesser Antiles has earned it's nickname, Nature Islands. You're never more than a thirty minute drive from any number of waterfalls and hot springs, either of which make for a prime recovery from Dominica's central activity, hiking.

Your day trip options are plenty: Trafalgar and Middleham Falls are the popular starters. Or you can glide through the rain-forest canopy on the aerial tram at nearby Titou Gorge and you will be serenaded by tiny chirping frogs that live in the water pools that form in bromeliad plant leaves.

You'll encounter far fewer trekkers up in the Northern Forest Reserve, where a thirty minute hike through banana plantations and cinnamon groves leads you to Milton Falls, a skinny-dippers dream. In the south of the island, head to the aptly named Champagne Reef for a dive through the bubbles of underwater hot springs. Lodging on Dominica isn't as bounteous activities, but there are quality choices.

Just outside the sleepy capital city of Roseau is the Papillote Wilderness Retreat, the country's original eco-resort, known for it's four acre botanical garden and three mineral pools. In the nearby hamlet of Laudat, Roxy's Mountain Lodge sits at the trailhead to Mornes Trois Pitons National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You can also hike to Boiling Lake. The eight-hour round-trip to the 2,500-foot Boiling Lake volcanic crater takes you trough a stunning environment of elfin woodlands and montane rain forest. Over the course of the day, you will negotiate Mack truck-size buttresses of gommier wood and you will teeter along balance-beam-thin ridges. Just when you think you have hit the peak, the guide points to the forty-five-degree slope, down which you will scramble to the riotously colorful Valley of Desolation, whose fumaroles burp great sulfuric gas balls. It's another hour before you hit the lake itself and the milky vapors from its 195-degree waters that swirl about the rim.

The recently opened Jungle Bay Dominica on the southern coast offers thirty-five wooden cottages on stilts scattered in the forest. Its yoga facilities and spa by the beach give you something to do when you want to do very little. And finally, for one last commune with nature on the way to the airport, you can always pull over for a dip under the fifty-foot waterfall of the Emerald Pool.

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Tags: nature islands

Category: Travel  - ( Travel Archive)

Date Added: 17 December '07

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