When people think of the Carribean, they often imagine lounging on a beautiful beach, drink in hand. While Dominica certainly provides that, it has so much more to offer as well. This gorgeous island country is a land of adventure and thrills, rest and relaxation. Dominica’s landscape is mountainous, providing a range of trails and paths for both the casual hiker and the intrepid adventurer. There are towering waterfalls, impressive canyons, and thick forests just waiting to be explored. If that doesn’t sound like a good time, you can go tubing along a gentle river or spend some time in a hot spring. Regardless, Dominica is a destination everyone should experience at least once. Because of its terrain and size, it’s not as popular as some other Carribean nations, so not only can you avoid tourist traps, but you’ll also be able to experience the authentic wonders of Dominica.

01Dominica's Best Beach

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Many travel sites and blogs will tell you that Dominica’s Mero Beach is the best beach in the country, but most locals disagree with this. If you ask around, you’ll discover the best beach is the beautiful and isolated Batibou. Unlike others nearby, the only bar on the island is often empty and there are no amenities. Instead, nature grows on Batibou Beach without restriction, creating one of the most scenic and majestic sandy spaces the world can offer.

02Towering Waterfall Adventure

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If you’re an adventurous sort of person, there’s no better place than Middleham Falls. The trail itself isn’t particularly long, but it does require crossing a few creeks, climbing over rocks, and a tiring uphill climb. In return for your effort, you’ll find yourself at some of the highest falls in Dominica, towering over you at an impressive 200 feet. The pool at their base is truly breathtaking.

03An Authentic Market

Roseau is the largest city in Dominica, but it is small in comparison to many western cities, with a population of around 15,000 people. There are not many tourist attractions, allowing the city to keep its local charm and authenticity. If you find yourself in Roseau on the weekend, check out their incredible Saturday market. Remember to be respectful of local practices while you're selecting delicious fresh fruit and vegetables.

04Bubbly Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

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Dominica deserves every part of its reputation as one of the most majestic countries in the world. However, more than the remarkable waterfalls and forests deserve respect; the island's unique waters make it ideal for scuba divers and snorkeling enthusiasts. Perhaps the most famous location is the legendary Champagne Reef, which offers an incredible experience to anyone who enters its depths. The island’s geothermal activity creates constant streams of bubbles that make swimmers feel like they are in an actual bottle of champagne.

05Hot Spring Relaxation

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After a long day of hiking and adventuring, there is nothing better than settling into the warm waters of a hot spring. Thankfully, the tiny village of Wotten Waven provides some of the most relaxing natural hot sulfur springs in the world. Locals claim that the waters have healing properties that can treat everything from foot fungus to rheumatism. Take a load off in this quiet village’s open-air pools, and let the stress melt away.

06Lazy Rivers

If you’re not a fan of snorkeling, scuba diving, or hiking, you can still find ways to enjoy the grandeur of Dominica’s natural wonders. Simply sign up for a tubing tour or safari and take to one of the country’s many winding rivers. With an inner tube, paddle, and life vest, you’ll be able to gently twirl in the current as it carries you through the gorgeous landscape. Many tours also offer breaks and refreshments, serving up world-famous rum punch and local fruit.

07A Whale Watcher's Paradise

Many places in the world allow you to go whale watching, but Dominica stands above them all; unlike most countries, you can see the majestic creatures year-round. Many whale-watching tours will take you out onto the water and point out all the best places to catch sight of massive sperm whales. As if that wasn’t good enough, many playful dolphins call the area home, too.

08True Adventure Tours

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One of the most exciting things you can do in Dominica is to take a canyoning tour and see firsthand what adventures the country has to offer. Though this definitely isn’t for everyone, thrillseekers will make lifelong memories as they try cliff jumps and slide down water crevices. Rapel halfway down a waterfall before diving into the natural pool at the base. Along the way, you’ll be able to learn about the native plants, animals, and insects that inhabit the area.

09A Turtle's Journey

If you happen to be in Dominica between March and October, you might get to experience an incredible ritual. Every year, large female turtles emerge from the sea to lay their eggs along Dominica’s shores. Later in the season, you can watch as hatchlings break out of the eggs and slowly make the trek to return to the sea. One of the best beaches to observe this awesome journey is Rosalie Beach.

10The Legendary Music Festival

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For three days of the year, Roseau lights up when the World Creole Music Festival brings a new kind of energy into the city. Get swept up in the incredible sounds of various genres as bands, dancers, and singers take over the streets. World-famous musicians often appear at the local stadium to perform to adoring and spirited audiences. Of course, you’ll also enjoy a wide range of food and drink, including some of the best rum around.

11Native Traditions and Culture

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Along Dominica’s east coast is the Kalinago territory. Dozens of villages allow visitors to experience the rich heritage of the people native to the island. Learn about and participate in their cultures first-hand through song and dance, crafts, canoe-building, and traditional food. In some cases, visitors can stay with a Kalinago family to really immerse themselves in the traditions.

12Birding with Locals

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Whether you’re an avid birder or just a fan of wildlife, Dominica has something unique for you. The island country is home to a wide variety of species, making it a birder’s paradise. You can take to the trails and try to discover each species with your skills or book a tour with a local avian expert. On a good day, you can view as many as 45 bird species along a single trail.