Once you tell somebody you’re going on an adventure in Dominica, they’ll give you a puzzled look and ask if you mean the Dominican Republic. Google will likely do the same. But no, you’re on your way to Dominica, a great destination for adventure-seekers, and possibly one of the most slept on islands in the Caribbean.

Discover Dominica promotes the island as follows: lose your cares, feed your soul. If you want a destination that is off the beaten path, unspoiled, and wild in the best way, you needn’t look any further. After all, they don’t call it the Nature Island for nothing.

Photo by iSaw Company

But before we elaborate further, we should mention how to get to this magical place.

As of December 2021, American Airlines will be offering direct flights from Miami on Wednesdays and Saturdays. You can make a one-stop connection from forty-two US cities, arrive in Miami, and continue to Dominica. Another option is to fly to Puerto Rico first and connect.

In addition to American Airlines, Delta, Spirit, JetBlue, Southwest and United Airlines offer service to Dominica, as well as regional carriers like Caribbean Airlines.

Looking to arrive by sea? There are catamarans “operated by L’Express des Îles, which ferry 300-400 passengers to the island from Martinique, St. Lucia and Guadeloupe.”

The chief reason why Dominica is called the Nature Island, is that it isn’t really interested in being polished. While the other Caribbean islands like to get their facials, Dominica is proud of its rugged features, making it ideal for travelers who don’t mind getting their hands dirty.

Photo by RF Studio

Interested in hiking? You’re in luck, as there are trails for amateur, intermediate and advanced hikers. On the easier end, there’s the Fresh Water Lake Trail (a UNESCO heritage site), and if walking on the wild side for some five or six hours is your calling, the trail to Bolive Falls is just right. Each trail varies in steepness and duration, and unless you really know your way, hire a guide.

Do you like swimming? Well, once you’ve become bored with your private villa’s pool, venture beyond. The beaches are nice, but prepare to see more pebbles and black sand than other islands.

A unique beach is Champagne Beach, so called for its gently bubbling waters, caused by the hot springs below. It’s warm, not hot, and just right for swimming and snorkeling. If you’re a film lover, you’ll be interested to know Batibou Beach was one of the filming locations for Pirates of the Caribbean.

If you’d like to combine hiking and swimming, check out Titou Gorge. You’ll start from the base of a waterfall, and wade through a series of natural ponds formed by high cliff walls, canopied by interlaced trees. The gorge was formed after molten lava cooled and split open. If you start to get a little chilly, Titou Gorge has a hot spring just beyond the entrance.

The beautiful Emerald Pool is also worth a dip, and is aesthetically lovely, with its smoky green and blue waters.

Photo by Discover Dominica

There is one other body of water you should see, but looking at it is all you can safely do.

If the arduous hike to get to Boiling Lake doesn’t kill you, falling in it surely will, so please watch your step. This lake is the second largest of its kind in the world. You can’t miss the billowing steam caused by lava churning at the bottom. Between that, and the commanding views in the distance, you can take some dramatic photos that’ll have your Instagram notifications going off constantly.

While it isn’t as known as Jamaica, Barbados, the Dominican Republic and the other juggernauts, Dominica has a lot of heart and grit. If you’re looking for a less glamorous Caribbean experience that centers nature, add this beautiful island to your list.