Dominica is known to be one of the most beautiful of the Caribbean Islands. Famous for its incredible scenery, spectacular forests, and volcanic peaks, it’s an island of contrasts and dramatic vistas, where sulfuric, boiling lakes heated by underground thermals tower above beautiful beaches.
The capital of this scenic Caribbean Island is Roseau, and it’s the perfect place to be based in order to explore this unique island to the full. But more than just a base, Roseau is a destination in its own right.
With ramshackle streets that were first laid down in the colonial days, museums and old markets to explore. It’s a colorful, cultural and intriguing place to visit on Dominica.
To help you plan your trip to Roseau and to Dominica, here is our ultimate guide to visiting the city and the island. From exploring museums to hiking volcanic peaks, every day there’s a chance to experience something new on Dominica.
Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Caribbean Islands (Travel Guide)
Best Things to do in Roseau Dominica
There are many great activities and sights to see in the city of Roseau and across the rest of the island of Dominica. Much of the charm of Dominica lies in the beautiful scenery, which is quite unlike many other places in the world, but there is also much to see and experience in the capital too.
1. Morne Bruce
When arriving in Dominica, the best thing to do first is to walk to the top of Morne Bruce, a small mountaintop that’s just outside of Roseau.
This is one of the best and most accessible viewing areas on the island, being just a short but steep walk to the summit, but offering incredible views over the city and the mountains behind to help you become easily orientated on the island.
Top Morne Bruce tours:
2. Old Roseau Market
Dominica’s old market in Roseau is an incredibly historic place. This was one of the major trading markets in the Caribbean, and unfortunately, was primarily used a slave-trading market for centuries.
Today, the market has found new life though as a center of arts and crafts on the island, showcasing local goods and giving traders and craftspeople a place to sell their unique cultural creations.
3. Champagne Beach
Just south of Roseau, can be found the strange yet beautiful spectacle of Champagne Beach. Off this beach, can be found a rich array of coral reefs and marine life, but what makes it special are the hot vents that continually emit volcanic gases, causing a weird ‘champagne’ effect as you swim or snorkel through the water.
Top Champagne Beach tour:
4. Roseau Botanic Gardens
The Roseau Botanic Gardens are one of the most loved sights on the island. Established in the colonial days, these gardens are a source of life in the city, but also a reminder of the troubles the weather can cause here.
A devastating hurricane destroyed much of the gardens in the 1970s, and a large tree even fell on a school bus. The school bus and fallen tree are still on the grounds as a reminder of the fragility of island life during hurricane season.
Top Roseau Botanic Gardens tours:
- Roseau City Tour Including Botanical Gardens
- Dominica Half-Day Tour: Freshwater Lake, Middleham Falls, Ti Kwen Glo Sho
- Middleham Falls and Ti’tou Gorge Half-Day Excursion
5. Morne Trois Pitons National Park
Dominica is famous for its natural, volcanic scenery, and the best place to experience this is in the magnificent Trois Pitons National Park. Named for the mountain peak, Morne Trois Pitons, which presides over the island, this is a spectacular area of beauty.
There are many hiking trails leading through different parts of the park, with many different difficulties and lengths.
Within the park are many beautiful waterfalls too, which are favorites among locals and visitors alike for their brilliant and refreshing plunge pools and year-round water, which make for a refreshing respite from the sticky, sweaty humidity of the surrounding forest.
The best waterfalls to travel to are the Emerald Pool, which is excellent for swimming and bathing, if a little frigid, and the large Middleham Falls, a long drop waterfall surrounded by lush green jungle
Top Morne Trois Pitons National Park tours:
- Morne Trois Pitons National Park Hiking Tour to Boiling Lake
- Middleham Falls and Ti’tou Gorge Half-Day Excursion
- Canyoning Experience
6. The Boiling Lake
The Boiling Lake is Dominica’s most incredible natural attraction, but also it is most dangerous. Found within the Trois Pitons National Park This huge freshwater lake is heated from below by the boiling gases produced by the violent volcanic activity below the surface of the island.
The lake is spectacular, but the hike there is an arduous 8-hour return slog, so it’s only for the fit and healthy. It’s well worth the effort to witness the continually boiling waters of this spectacle.
Top Boiling Lake tours:
Roseau, Dominica Travel Planning Guide
Where is Roseau Dominica?
Dominica is a small island nation located in the eastern Caribbean, with the islands of Guadeloupe found to the north and Martinique lying to the south.
The eastern side of the island faces out over the warm, calm waters of the Caribbean Sea while the western side faces out onto the stormier waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Roseau, the capital and largest city of Dominica, is found on the sheltered, southeastern side of Dominica.
How to Travel to Roseau Dominica
Traveling to Dominica is not as easy as traveling to other Caribbean islands in the region. Due to the rugged, volcanic nature of the island – which is the main reason many people visit! – the island has few suitable spots for airports.
The two airports on the island, one near Roseau in the south-east and the other in the northeast, one hour from Roseau along the coast, both have small runways that are only suitable for accommodating light aircraft from other regional islands.
To reach Roseau and Dominica, therefore it’s necessary to transit through other nearby Caribbean Islands. Puerto Rico, Barbados, and Martinique to name just a few, all have connections onto Dominica, and from there, it’s possible to fly further afield to more international destinations such as North America and Europe.
It’s also possible to arrive on the somewhat frequent ferries from neighboring Martinique and Guadeloupe, or of course, as is common in the Caribbean, via cruise ship.
Check out this guide if arriving by cruise ship: Fodor’s Caribbean Cruise Ports of Call
Best Time to Visit Roseau Dominica
Dominica experiences a very stable, but hot, year-round temperature, with little to no fluctuations due to its southerly location near the equator.
There are just two different seasons, a dry and wet season, with the dry season running generally from December through to April and the wet season from May through to November.
The wet season is unpredictable and although some days the weather may be glorious, the next there may be violent storms.
Hurricanes have been known to hit the island too, especially during the Caribbean Hurricane Season, which coincides with the end of the wet season.
The dry season and particularly the period over Christmas and New Year, are the most popular and busiest times to visit, as the weather is great and many travelers from the north are looking for winter sun.
Where to Stay in Roseau Dominica
There is much accommodation to be found around the island, most of it on the low lying coastal regions, particularly on the more sheltered eastern side. Roseau has a great selection of hotels catering to different budgets and it’s a good choice for a stay on the island.
Here are a few great options to consider when planning your trip to Roseau Dominica.
- Luxury hotel: Secret Bay
- Mid-range hotel: Hibiscus Valley Inn
- Budget hotel: Jacoway Inn
- Hostel: Sea World Guest House
Language in Roseau Dominica
Although everything in Dominica appears named in the French language, the official language is, in fact, English, as the island was won by the British after it was first colonized by the French.
To confuse matters even more, many of the locals do still speak a French Patois dialect, although most will also speak excellent English too.
Safety in Roseau Dominica
Dominica is a very safe island to visit within the Caribbean. Locals in the city and outside are all very friendly and welcoming, as there is an increasing reliance on tourism in the economy.
Always travel safely though, be careful of your belongings, especially on public transport, and in the rainy season, be careful in the mountains and on the roads.
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