Emerald Pool is a relaxed spot within Morne Trois Piton National Park that's popular with both tourists and locals. It's a natural pool with a rock ledge around the rim, and also has a small waterfall flowing into the pool itself. One of the main advantages is that it's large enough to take a dip in the water, as well as there being a fully decked seating area. As you're leaving, you will pass by a two impressive view points towards to exit path. This is a popular spot for cruise ship guests, so try and plan your visit to avoid the crowds.
Now this is a very unique spot not to be missed! Diving and snorkelling enthusiasts from around the world are fascinated by this reef just off the coast of Champagne Beach. In short, the water bubbles like champagne on a constant basis due to the volcanic thermal springs on the ocean floor. It truly is a "one of a kind" spot that can be enjoyed by everyone, as no boat ride is required. You can literally swim out from the beach and admire marine life en route. There's also a tourism company, who you can use for mask and snorkel rental.
Another benefit from the volcanic activity across the island is the formation of hot springs, which is an ideal place to relax post-hiking. I chose Ti Kwen Glo Cho, which is a hot springs facility located in Wotten Waven. There's 2-3 hot spring pools, a mud bath, cold showers, and small wooden huts where you can store your belongings and change clothing. Cost of entry is $10 USD (cash only) and a small selection of drinks are available at the main desk on arrival. I asked a couple of locals where they'd recommend for a hot spring visit and both mentioned this place on the basis that it's one of the original spots.
Although the capital of Roseau has an airport, many tourists will arrive into Douglas-Charles Airport in the north of the island. However, I'd recommend a half day visit to the capital anyway. The city is compact and easily walkable. Notable spots are Roseau Cathedral, the remains of St George's Anglican Church, and the Roseau Bayfront area where you'll find the National Museum. A short walk inland and you'll reach the National Stadium, which is currently doubling up as the only PCR test centre on the island.
Middleham Falls & Fresh Water Lake
There are many waterfalls across Dominica, with some more easily reachable than others. I settled on Middleham Falls, which is reachable via a 3 hour round trip intermediate level hike through the rainforest within Morne Trois Piton National Park. Worth noting this is often a wet and slippery trail, so wear appropriate footwear. The waterfall itself is 200 feet high and surrounded by vegetation. There is the option to take a dip, but this is largely dependent on the time of year and water level. Once you complete the trek, I'd recommend checking out Fresh Water Lake, which is a short drive in the same geographical region.
Cabrits National Park
Located in the north of the island on a small peninsula is Cabrits National Park. Within the park, there's protected tropical forest and wetlands, as well as multiple hiking trails and an English garrison called Fort Shirley. The trails aren't steep and are easy to follow. You'll come across abandoned ruins, view points along the coastline, and potentially some wildlife. Overall, I would allocate half a day here.
One of the most picturesque spots in Dominica is definitely the Indian River, which is a short 5 minute drive from Cabrits NP. It's the widest river on the island and has a total length of 7km. As I discovered, it's easy to drive straight past it whilst following your GPS. Once you hit the bridge, park up at the first chance available. Underneath the bridge is where you'll find plenty of locals willing to take you along the river in their local canoe boats. A popular spot along the river is actually an old wooden house, which featured in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie, but the landscape along the river is the true highlight!
To start with, I struggled to find an accommodation option of a decent standard at an affordable price, but then I came across Veranda View Guesthouse in Calibishie, which hit the spot. It's a small guest house ran by a Dutch lady offering simple accommodation below $100 USD a night. The rooms have private bathroom, a large ocean view mezzanine area, and free parking. Calibishie offers some nice beaches, but overall, it's a very central location to use as a base during your visit.
without a doubt, the best restaurant I visited on the island was Zeb & Zepis Bistro Restaurant, which is located along the main road that you'll take to Emerald Pool. It's a perfect lunchtime spot with an extensive menu, helpful staff, and extremely tasty food! Definitely worth a stop, as it's the best you'll find, albeit not the cheapest. I'm a coffee lover and also found this to be the best spot!
If you want to fully maximise exploring this island country, it's essential to rent a car. I tried to get a car on arrival at DOM airport, but this was a bad idea. All of the rental kiosks were closed, turns out they only open if there's a pre-booking (could be a covid thing). The best value deal I could find was via local rep Lynn, who you can reach via Whatsapp on +1 767 235 2651.
If you don't drive and you're looking for a guide to show you around the island, then I can definitely recommend Wendy (pic below). He's based in Calibishie, has been guiding for over 30 years, and has in-depth knowledge of the entire island. His number for Whatsapp is +1 767 245 3089. Additional bonus is that he's an approved cruise line guide too.
Tip: If you're intending to visit multiple spots across the island from the above list, buy a "site pass" from any tourism office. Although entry fees are minimal, this will significantly reduce your overall cost.