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Welcome to Dominica, the Jurassic Park of the Caribbean
16/Mar/2015
Often mistaken for the Dominican Republic, this small island is little visited by tourists — a perfect eco-hideaway
At Indian River, we head up the tidal waters in an open-keeled boat. Elephant ears, wild hibiscus and crab -filled swamp bloodwoods (which bleed red and were used for tattooing by the Kalinago Indians) overhang the peat-green water. Edging the banks are the conjoined, tangled roots of mangroves. The waters here are full of mangrove snapper and snook, and barracuda and tarpon that come upstream from the ocean to hunt.
All is silence. This far-north, Eden-like spot was named thus because in colonial times, the indigenous Kalinago travelled by dugout to the mouth of this river to sell European ships fresh water, crapaud frogs, crabs, cassava flour, and crafts for cutlasses, axes, knives, farming tools and rum casks.
Positioned between French-influenced Guadeloupe and Martinique in the eastern Caribbean, Dominica – the Jurassic Park of Caribbean islands – is mostly overlooked (lots of people said to me: “Have a nice time in the Dominican Republic!”). Its heart is lodged between two volcanic massifs: Morne Trois Pitons and Morne Diablotin. From here, hundreds of streams cascade down to create gorges and waterfalls. The mountainous terrain has few human inhabitants to bother it — its peaks scaling 5,000ft, tropical forests (65 per cent of the landscape is rainforest), 365 rivers, and kaleidoscope of plants and animals remain untainted.

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