Distinctly different from the Dominican Republic (for one thing, it’s pronounced Dome-i-nee -ka, not Doe-min -i-ka), the lush and mountainous Commonwealth of Dominica is an independent country in the Eastern Caribbean, where English, not Spanish, is the official language. Dominica claims to have 365 crystal-clear rivers (one for every day of the year), along with dramatic waterfalls, volcanic lakes, and gargantuan foliage, all accessible via river trips or hikes along undemanding jungle trails. Although the island now has three cruise ship ports (Roseau Harbour, Woodbridge Bay, and the northwestern town of Portsmouth), the capital Roseau has an authenticity lacking in other, more developed island towns. The island is also notable for its population of some 3,000 Carib Indians, the last remaining descendants of the people who dominated the region when Europeans arrived.
ICONIC SIGHT Approximately 15 to 20 minutes by car from Roseau, Trafalgar Falls is actually two separate falls, with cascading white torrents pummeling the black-lava boulders below. for nature lovers Dominica has been hailed by some marine biologists as one of the most reliable spots to see sperm whales. Board a motorized vessel and cruise to a point offshore to search for whales and dolphins. local color Dominica sells handicrafts and art not obtainable anywhere else, most notably Carib Indian baskets made of dyed larouma reeds and balizier (heliconia) leaves, their designs handed down from generation to generation. slice of history Near Portsmouth, in Cabrits National Park, the 18th-century Fort Shirley is one of the most impressive and historic military complexes in the West Indies and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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