“Once a year go somewhere you have never been before” Dalai Lama
I’ve been to the Caribbean before but this time I didn’t go for the beach, the music, the sun or the rum. Dominica is the only island that has a long distance hiking trail that runs across the whole island. The Waitikubuli Trail is 184 km (114 miles) long and is divided into 14 segments from Scott’s Head in the south to Capuchin in the north. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it???
You will be walking through coastal villages, lush rainforest, past waterfalls, up Woodland Hills and straight by the sea. Dominica really has it all.
There is no international airport so in order to reach this beautiful island you will need to either take a boat or arrive by plane from another island. I flew from St.Lucia. I love island hopping by air and planes with propellers:)
The first thing you will notice is the lush jungle like nature that is so abundant in Dominica, or rather was. Sadly almost 80% of the trees were permanently damaged during the hurricane Maria. And nobody is planting new ones.
The best way to travel from the airport to the hotel would be a car or a shared taxi. Unfortunately in a low season that can mean sometimes waiting for couple of hours for enough people to fill up the taxi. Yep, solo travellers have all the perks😂
Once in the taxi I can start seeing the damage in the forests. It’s heart breaking. Not to mention how many people have lost lives, homes and family. My driver told me he lost his dog:(((
In the video you can see the beautiful pink house that is missing roof.
I based myself in Rosseau because I wanted to be close to public transport. At the moment there aren’t many hotels in Dominica but you shouldn’t have a problem with finding a private accommodation.
Rosseau is a small town and main hub for tourists since most of them arrives by sea.
TIP: make sure you are always carrying cash with you since cards aren’t accepted everywhere.
After checking in I decided to hit the trail straight away. Busses in Dominica are private mini vans, so most of the time they won’t have any numbers or indications which direction they are going to. They will have some amazing paintings sometimes and stickers. No need to panic tho. They will have their designated stops and most drivers speak perfect English. Locals are extremely helpful too.
To hike the Waitikubuli trail you do need a pass. You can get it either from designated offices or at crossing segments of the trail. Since I was in Rosseau i headed straight to the Forestry, Wildlife and National Park Division. Because I wasn’t sure the exact location of that office I asked a lady, that sat next to me on the bus, for directions. She not only told me which direction to go to but also offered to walk me to there. It happened to me every time I asked a local for directions. They would simply walk me to where I needed to be:)
Sadly I was turned away at the office with nothing. They wouldn’t sell me the hiking pass. The official excuse was that the trail is closed. I was devastated. More so because I knew it wasn’t true. My taxi driver gave me a number to a local guide who walks with people on the trail, and he told me that some segments are indeed closed. But not the whole trail. I simply wasn’t allowed to hike it on my own:( most likely because I’m a female who looks like a child😂
You probably are wondering by now why didn’t I simply hire a guide. Well because I simply like to hike at my own pace. Looking back I wish I was a bit more open minded and maybe did make an exception this time.
Very disappointed and quite upset, I didn’t want to waste my whole day trying to fight the system. Instead I took a bus and went to see the Trafalgar falls.
I will be honest with you, I don’t like that name. I didn’t travel half way across the globe to be reminded of London lol!
The bus stop for Trafalgar Falls is based on King George V Street, not far from the Astaphans shop and police station. The ticket is 4.5EC (Eastern Caribbean Dollar) which equals to £1.30 and it takes about 20 minutes to get to Trafalgar. From there is another 15-20 mins walk.
It’s a beautiful walk slightly uphill. You do need a site pass in order to visit the falls. From the office it’s a downhill walk.
There is no time limit on how long you can stay there. It’s a beautiful area, with lush green vegetation. All you can hear are birds, crickets and the roar of the water.
There are also list of crabs so be careful when you decide to tip your toes in the water.
I wasn’t even aware that this little fella was trying to catch my toe… Yes, Dominica is wild.
There was only one other tourist while I was there, and once she left I had the place all to myself. Jackpot!!!
I’m not sure how long did I stay there but once back up I discovered that the main office was closed and there was nobody around. Luckily they didn’t close the gate so I was free to leave.
I was heading back to the bus stop when I spotted a house hidden in the forest. Like how would they even build it there???
I was contemplating that idea when suddenly a car appeared in front of me. The driver noticed me and turned the car around so he was now driving by my side. Quite good looking male with one hand on the steering shell and the other holding a plastic cup with a rum. Drinking and driving…. when is that not a good idea? He asked me “are you here toying?”. I stared at him blankly because I couldn’t understand what was he asking about. I believe in being stupid once and ask rather than remain stupid without asking. I had to ask him three more times before he explained: “Touring+enjoying=toying”. Now, English isn’t my first language but even after over 12 yrs I was fairly confident I haven’t heard that expression before. After we established that I’m not that smart we had a little chat. I told him that I had a trouble to get the hiking pass and ask him for advice. He simply said they wouldn’t sell me the pass because I’m a female and I should get a guide. When I explained to him that I like solitude, he said with a knowing smile “A lone wolf” and drove off. I know, I’m such a hit with men… International hit one may say:) Rest of the way to the bus stop was uneventful. Just me and the nature.
The second biggest town in Dominica and home to Cabrits National Park.
To get to Portsmouth you need to find the bus stop on River Bank, near the junction between Roseau River Bridge and Great George Street. The ticket from Roseau costs 9.50 EC (£2.74) and the journey lasts over an hour, depends on traffic. There are no seat belts on the bus and they will be going super fast sometimes so just be prepared.
Most of the time there will be loud music busting through the speakers too:) It is quite different from the unlicensed transport I’m used to in England but tbh I do miss those mini vans sometimes:) it’s fun!
Since there are no bus stops with time tables, I would recommend to simply ask your driver about the return service if you aren’t planning on staying over night at Portsmouth.
It is 2.4km (1.5 miles) to Cabrits National Park from the bus stop. It’s a lovely walk as you will be walking by a sea side. You will pass by Purple Turtle Beach which is just lovely.
You do need a pass for the park. I am rarely interested in museums or old buildings so I head straight towards East Cabrit, a small hill with a fantastic view. It’s not a long hike and the path is mostly even, but it is uphill and you will walk through a forest. Very humid forest. What was surprising for me was the amount of crab shells I saw on my way. Last thing I would expect to find in the forest to be honest.
Once you reach the top you will get to see the beautiful Douglas Bay and Prince Rupert Bay.
From the park you can also join the last segment of the Waitibukuli Trail, segment 14. Of course I decided to walk that part.
Found a little beach completely empty except for a builder from nearby construction zone, who was taking a nap there.
I didn’t swim in the water but took off my shoes and just cooled my feet.
Caught the glimpse of Guadeloupe:)
DOES DOMINICA HAVE THE BEST DIET FOR ME?