In other words, this island, where English is the official language (and which is often wrongly confused with the Dominican Republic due to the similarity of its name) extends an open invitation to travelers to enjoy such eco-tourism opportunities as hiking, river tubing, snorkeling, diving and more.
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The small village of Soufriere, south of Roseau, with its palm-fringed coast, fishing boats, waterside church with murals of island life, sulfur springs and hot pools was founded by early French settlers. Yet another point of interest is Massacre Village, four miles north of Roseau, has historic interest as the site of a massacre of Carib Indians by the English in the 17th century. A visit to one of Dominica's national parks is rewarding. Parks include Morne Trois Pitons (named after a mountain with three peaks) with excellent hiking trails, and Cabrits National Park with the 18th century Fort Shirley and surrounding underwater park, the Cabrits Marine Reserve. Popular excursions offered by cruise ships include whale watching tours during which sperm whales, humpbacks and other whales and dolphins are likely to be spotted (peak whale-watching times are from November to June). Land programs generally include tours to Trafalgar Falls and the Sulfur Springs, and excursions to the Carib Indian Territory (the Caribs were a fierce indigenous tribe), The latter tour usually makes at stop at one of the most-visited spots on the island: Emerald Lagoon and Falls, a lovely grotto and waterfall surrounded by tropical greenery midway between Canefield and Castle Bruce.
Other pastimes include canopy tours, river boat tours, hiking, diving and just relaxing at a beach with the best beaches for swimming being on the island's sheltered west coast. Purple Turtle Beach, near Portsmouth, is among the most popular beaches.
Dominica's cuisine is a blend of French and Creole. Local flavors not to be missed include traditional soups like callaloo (with callaloo leaves or spinach and okra), and main dishes like Caribbean souse (pickled pork). A good place in Roseau for lunch or dinner is Pearl's Cuisine, 50 King George V Street. Try the crawfish in garlic butter or stewed chicken and the fresh-squeezed tamarind juice.
Cruise lines that visit Dominica include Azamara, Carnival, Celebrity, Cunard, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, Silversea and Windstar.
IF YOU GO For additional information on Dominica, visit www.dominica.dm.