Dominica’s pleasures are largely outdoor, so it only makes sense to maximize time among them.
Stay for $45-$85 a night
Tia’s Bamboo Cottage
A 20-minute, $15 taxi ride out of the capital city of Roseau accesses five steaming hot springs, the ultimate perk at Tia’s. A nighttime soak is made all the more relaxing by knowing my bed is yards away. Rates start at $65 a night.
Hibiscus Valley Inn
The main, open-air dining room feels like my summer camp — save for the dull roar of tree frogs and tangle of bright fauna. Bungalows start at $45 a night in low season.
Eat for $12-$15 a day
I’m mesmerized by the tiny waves breaking on the lagoon, but the counter girl at Coral Reef, on the Calibishie coast, is immune to the beauty. She frets over soccer on TV while I wait for the steamed fish of the day. For $12, it’s a big portion, served with pasta and salad.
This is the go-to sunset spot. I was part of the first wave there to work on $17 heaping plates of goat curry or seafood, sided by breadfruit and salad.
Melvina’s Champagne Beach Bar
Come Saturday, Melvina’s Champagne Beach Bar — named not for French bubbly but the snorkel site just offshore — is the place to be. The kitchen doles out some serious barbecue and fish ($10-$15), but the crowd, showing up around 10 p.m., is there to cut loose. So I stayed for the atmosphere, a Kubuli beer and a lesson in Calypso — after all, nobody should leave the island without knowing who the Mighty Sparrow is.
Play for $5-$10 a day
Of course I bring my hiking boots to Dominica — I just didn’t expect to go barefoot. My guide suggests the Victoria Falls path as a moderate introduction to the volcanic island, so we set off. The first few times I unlace to cross the White River, I foolishly slide wet feet back into wool socks. The squish of mud and slick of rocks painted with algae wake me up — this is why I’ve come: the rainforest, with its fragrant mangoes and explosion of girlie-color blossoms.
Screw’s Sulphur Springs
In the hills outside Roseau, $10 buys access to Screw’s Sulphur Springs, seven cascading pools of increasingly warmer temperatures. I settle in at one of the hottest ones, waterfalls tumbling overhead, and forget about everything — including that my cell phone doesn’t work here. Otherwise, I’d beg my driver to stay longer. <strong>Did You Know?</strong> Dominica has more active volcanoes for its size than any other country in the world.