Published: May 16th 2009February 21st 2009
Sari Sari Falls
Sari Sari Falls, off the beaten path in Dominica's Morne Trois Piton National Park.
Our next stop along the Caribbean chain was Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominica Republic which lies over 400 miles away and is close to 20 times bigger in land mass and population). This tiny island is the southernmost island in the Leewards and is an independent country. It is very green and lush, an unspoiled country filled with spectacular natural beauty, and has the most dramatic landscape of any Caribbean Island with mountains, valleys, gorges, and pinnacles. This often makes Dominica a favorite stop amongst many cruisers. However it is also not as developed as the other islands here in the Caribbean. It is written that if Christopher Columbus sailed to the islands today, Dominica would be the only one he would recognize. Now I don’t know about that, there were multiple cruise ships in port while we were visiting as well as cars running up and down the street. But needless to say, Dominica does have a more rugged feel about it. In fact, you may recognize some of the pictures and images we have posted here from the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean 2”. Most of the movie was shot on location here in Dominica.
Emerald Pool and Waterfall, named so because the water is always green.
We were told that the best way to visit the island is to hire a local guide, someone who could drive us around to all the sights, explain a bit about the history and culture of Dominica, as well as identify all the local flora and fauna along the way. So on our first day of exploration we hired Damien, a local guide who agreed to go hiking with us thru the Morne Trois Pitons National Park to some of the famous waterfalls there. Dominica is known to have 365 rivers, one for every day of the year. Now I don’t know if that number is exactly accurate, but I can tell you that when you combine all those rivers with Dominica’s dramatic landscape- the result is thousands of waterfalls. Our first stop was to the Emerald Pool and Waterfall. We had a lovely stroll thru the rainforest to get there, with trees and shrubs and vines and ferns lining the path. It was so lush that the entire landscape was exploding with greenery; it was layer upon layer of growth that was climbing and falling, curling, stretching, and thrusting upward. At the end of the path was the Emerald
Swimming in the freezing water of Emerald Pool.
Pool, named so because the color of the water is always green. Of course we went for a quick swim before heading back. It was quite refreshing, which is a euphemism for freezing cold! So we didn’t stay long. Besides there was so much more we wanted to see in Dominica and we were antsy to do more hiking.
And hiking we did. It turns out that the Emerald Pool was just a warm up for our next hike. Our guide was taking us to Sari Sari Falls, which is off the beaten path. In fact, I hardly know if you can call it a path at all. We were driving along the north side of the Morne Trois Piton National Park when all of a sudden we pull the jeep over and parked at some guy’s house. Damien tells us to pack up and get ready for the hike to Sari Sari Falls. So we gather our backpacks and bathing suits and start off, following our trusty local guide thru a cattle field until we reach the edge of the rainforest. There is a footpath thru the forest, but it is slippery and muddy from all the rain
Hiking up to Sari Sari Falls
Jen taking a break on a boulder before crossing the river for the third time on our hike thru Dominica's rainforest.
and mist. In fact, the canopy is so dense here that it blocks out all the sun. Our hike starts with a steep descent to the valley below, where we continue hiking along the riverbed. We have to cross the river 4 times on the way up, carefully walking over very slippery rocks. Just about everyone in our group fell down and got hurt at least once during this 4 hour expedition, except for our guide of course. And this is when we realize how technical and challenging this hike really is. But there is no turning back now so we continue to trudge along, and sometimes the only way we can do so is on all fours. We finally make it to Sari Sari Falls and I must admit it is worth the effort. It is so dramatic and powerful, the water comes rushing down the cliff which is over a 200 foot drop. And of course there is a crystal clear pool for swimming at the base of the falls, so we take the plunge. This time the cold water feels great and it revives us for the hike back, which we are dreading. But we make it
Dominica is so lush and green- we loved these fern trees.
out okay. Although at the end of the hike Damien starts to giggle and explains that he is impressed, because he never really thought that we could handle this hike. Thanks! Not exactly what we want to hear from our guide at the end of a tough day.
There are more photos below