No, it's not the Dominican Republic, it's Dominica, pronounced like Domineeka. This was the second island where I had pre-arranged a tour. Fortunately, it was night and day difference from St Kitts, though. Actually Dominica is very different from the other islands. It's a volcanic island and the sand on the beaches is black. I had read that the beaches aren't great, but there are plenty of other things to see in and around the rain forest. So the guy I found was called Beno. There's also a site for Beno Tours. Basically it's this one proprietor. He seemed like a really nice guy as soon as we met him. I talked to another friend and they mentioned the same destinations plus one called Champagne Bay. I told Beno about it and he said he would take us there as well, even though it wasn't part of our original agreement. Beno never said no to us for whatever we talked to him about and he didn't ask for additional money for the additional places. Another cool feature of his tour is he stocked the van with a cooler full of bottled water and the local beer called Kubuli. That was a great added touch to the tour. I would highly recommend him for a Dominica tour. There are also other great tours on this island as well; others where the guides were even more helpful, so I get the feeling that this is a VERY friendly island. Again, stark comparison to our experience at St. Kitts. I feel like if this place had good beaches, it would be the best destination for sure. I think a combination of St Maarten and Dominica is the perfect vacation.
Titou Gorge - This was a cool stop. Basically, it's a waterfall inside this cave-like area. There's a huge gorge where a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean 2 was also shot. There's a scene where they're running away from someone/something and they jump in to this gorge. I'm going to have to rent that movie to remember the scene myself. But anyway it was a short little hike up to the gorge and then I actually swam in to it. It was kind of a scary swim. There are parts where the water is very shallow... then it goes really deep and then it's shallow again. When you put your foot down and there's nothing down there... and you kind of go in to the water a bit; that's when I kind of freaked out a little bit. I should've taken a life vest, but I didn't. Well, anyway I swam all the way in and up to this little cove area where the waterfall actually was. It was an exhausting swim, because you're going up-current from that fall. I couldn't make it in to the cove... the current was just too strong and I was pooped. The rest of my group just stayed by the outside and waited for me. It was fun... felt like I was very adventurous doing it.
Screw Sulfur Spa - We paid and entered a sulfur spa for a while. It was really cool, because they had built these man-made pools of sulfur springs. The idea is that the sulfur water is very good for your skin. Each subsequent pool was cooler; in all they have 5 pools of differing temperatures. We worked our way up to the hottest one. It was a really relaxing stop.
Trafalgar Falls - Beautiful falls in the middle of the rain forest. After a small hike up to the platform you get a view of two separate falls. Interestingly, one of them is very hot water and the other one is cold water. It's so amazing that is... After the platform the going got a lot tougher... you have to scale up and down all sorts of slippery boulders and rocks, etc. It was definitely an adventure, but we went and got in to both falls. Some great shots in the cascading pools under those falls. Really fun.
Mountain View - It was a gorgeous view from up there. We saw the entire town and port and cricket stadium and all. Breathtaking.
Champagne Bay - After the falls, we went to Champagne Bay. Along the way, other tours waved to Beno and told him that snorkeling was not advised today due to the rough waters. Too cloudy and too strong of a current. Well, since we had heard about it we asked him to take us there anyways. So we went there and walked around and took a look. There were a few people out there snorkeling. We thought about it, but decided to skip. Other friends of ours said they did that as their first stop and the person they were with helped take them in despite the rough waters. There had been some scary parts for them as well. I think with a few of us that were non-swimmers being there, I'm glad we stayed out of it. Plus we had run out of time after doing 3 somewhat time-consuming activities beforehand. So we went back to the pier and it was time to leave Dominica.
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