The commonwealth of Dominica is a volcanic island in the eastern Caribbean between Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Lesser Antilles Island chain. It spans across 46 kilometres in length. Often called as “the Nature Island of the Caribbean “, Dominica features untouched lush green mountains, massive volcanoes and boiling lakes. In fact, out of the Caribbean’s total of 16 volcanoes, 9 of them are situated in Dominica. Morne Trois Pitons National Park is a World Heritage Site and a highland area covering 68 square kilometres. It is located roughly 13 kilometres from Roseau, the Dominican capital city. The highest peak in the area measures 1342 metres. Dominica enjoys abundant seasonal rainfall which in turn sustains the rich ecosystem of the island.
At the Emerald Pool, the visitor will witness the exotic beauty of the park. The heavy rainfall forms waterfalls and rivers where many tropical flora and fauna make their habitat. Heliconia caribaea, a bright red plant, is found all over the island of Dominica. The blue headed hummingbird, found in Dominica is a frequent visitor and an important pollinator of this region. The red necked Amazon is one of the endemic species on the island however recently; their existence has been threatened due to the change in vegetation. Dominica is believed to be the home to more than 170 species of birds.
The park features hot springs that can be found by the river. Valleys run across the foot of the mountains, where active volcanoes can be found. The strong smell of sulphur due to this volcanic activity dominates the area. The sound of hissing hot steam can be heard throughout, a large amount of which can be seen in the form of a thick cloud in the Boiling Lake, which has water temperatures heating up to over 95 degrees Celsius. The volcanic energy and abundant rainfall that Dominica has is manifested in the very serene and pristine Morne Trois Pitons National Park.
The Boiling Lake
The Boiling Lake, being only 63 meters in diameter produces thick cloudy steam. The cause of the steam is the heavy rainfall that has created a large volume of groundwater. With the help of the molten lava underneath, the water gets heated to rising temperatures. Being the second largest hot spring in the world, the lake is a major highlight in Dominica. The lake is continuously bubbling with greyish blue water and steam. It is recommending that the visitor hire a guide, even though the scene may be tempting enough to go ahead and explore for oneself. The rocks are slippery and the edges are steep, with an elevation of 2,640 feet. The best view of the lake if from the hill above it. The lake can be accessed by a 2-4 hour walk from Laudat. The depth of the lake though officially unknown, is believed to be more than 195 feet.
The Emerald Pool
Take a tip into the pool’s crystal waters beneath its towering 50 ft waterfall. Popular among hikers, the Emerald Falls is undoubtedly, the best place for rejuvenation in the area. These photogenic falls have well maintained trails though the uneven rocky surface may prove challenging to some. The lush surroundings over the pool, have given the pool its name. The pool water is cold so visitors should come prepared. The Emerald pool has also been featured in movies and weddings have also taken place there.
The Valley of Desolation
Though the park is filled with lush vegetation, this cannot be seen in the Valley of Desolation due to its sulphur content in volcanic vents and hot springs that are known to cause a decline in plant growth. The hike to the Valley of Desolation is takes roughly about 2 hours in climbing the stairs. After returning from this extraordinary landscape, visitors can visit the Ti Tou Gorge for relaxation. The Valley provides an excellent opportunity to those who want a close up experience to volcanic activity.
Ti Tou Gorge
Famous for some scenes of the Pirates of the Caribbean being shot here, a swim at the Ti Tou Gorge is a must. Be sure to be careful, as the area is filled with some sharp rocks. The gorge is a series of natural ponds, a natural water ride. The gorge was formed as a result of cooling of the molten lava, that later separated to give the gorge its deep and undulating form. Ti Tou is a Creole word that means ‘small throat’. The pool provides a great opportunity for a short swim, and even non swimmers can rejuvenate at its hot spring. Local vendors may also be available at the site selling snacks and souvenirs.
Situated at an altitude of 2,850 feet, the Boeri Lake is the highest lake in Dominica. The lake also boasts of being the largest freshwater lake on the island. The lake has a depth of approximately 117 feet and its highest level is experienced in the months of October and December. The trail to the Boeri Lake is not too long and takes a roughly 40 minute hike. The well maintained trails offer some stunning views of the vegetation around.