waterfall hiking in Dominica

by | May 19, 2010 | Travel

One the main ambitions of this trip was to see as many waterfalls as time would allow. We only hit one falls, Bwa Nef, in our first two days, but on the trip to our middle hotel, we drove right by the Emerald Pool thanks to a road closure. This detour took us about 1.5 hours longer than we were planning for, so it was a lovely surprise to have the heavily-touristed Emerald Pool to ourselves. We bought our week-long sites pass ($12 each) here and it was also the only time we ever had to show it even though it was required for at least three other sites we visited. No matter, it goes toward a good cause… like all the road work.

Emerald Pool
true to it’s name

climbing to the second falls

See that pale hat-wearing person in the middle of the photo? That’s me(!) climbing up roots and stone with the help of a rope to get to the second Spanny Falls. Worth it, no? To give you some perspective, in the upper right is the pool for the first Spanny Falls. There was a fair amount of climbing involved for many of the hikes we did, which made it a little more adventuresome than the walks in the woods I am used to in the States. Thankfully, someone is usually selling cold drinks by the trail heads to most of the waterfalls we visited. These are quite welcome considering the heat, humidity and change in elevation of the typical Dominica trail.

Mr. Crabby

We saw a ton of these orange characters at many of the waterfall sites. They usually scurry off and hide when you walk by but sometimes they act all big and tough. And then we take pictures of them.

Jacko Falls

Definitely the easiest and possibly our favorite falls of the trip, Jacko Falls. According to ‘the book‘ you are supposed to donate to the site owner but there was no one around and we didn’t want to start knocking on doors.

small waterfall next to the Middleham Falls trail
posing on the trail to Middleham Falls

small falls downstream from Sari Sari
a place to rest our weary toes on the way back from Sari Sari Falls

We tried to visit waterfalls either first thing in the morning or right before sunset to avoid the intense sun and cruise crowds. Luckily, the only time we got stuck in a crowd was at the Titou Gorge when we were surrounded by floatie-wearing adults waiting in line to jump off a small cliff next to the waterfall we were trying to photograph.

It was a toss up between well-signed waterfall sites with parking lots and nearly impossible to find trail heads. Unfortunately, we did have one disappointing experience in trying to find Victoria Falls. According the book we referenced heavily in planning our trip, Victoria Falls was well marked and while a guide was recommended for the hike, one was not required.  Upon driving into the town, we found no official signs so we asked a kid on a bike where the falls was located. We had asked for directions numerous times in Dominica, and this was a first: he refused to tell us unless we paid him to be our guide. He was one of a fairly large group of people standing around for this very purpose, and since we didn’t feel comfortable trying to get past them to figure it out (and didn’t want to pay someone we didn’t know), we just skipped it. Later we found out that signs were up but the locals had tampered with them in an effort to create guide business. Honestly, this was an isolated incident for us, and I hope the tourism office can replace the signs and prevent this behavior in the future.

You can see all the waterfall photos from Dominica here.

Tagged with: Dominica | hiking | waterfalls

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