Hiking in Dominica
The Waitukubuli, fondly known as the WNT, has been designated an eco-tourist site. It covers 184 kilometres (115 miles), twisting and turning the north-south length of Dominica. From Scott’s Head in the south to the Cabrits National Park in the north, the trail includes a series of fourteen trail networks showcasing the very best of Dominica – nature, culture and local lifestyles. Along the way it will take you through coastal villages, up woodland hills, into lush rainforest, past waterfalls, down to rivers, through exotic gorges, back up to the mountains and then down again to the sea. Dominica’s unique and varied terrain will reveal her age-old secrets to you as you enjoy her natural beauty and vibrant, fresh air.
The WNT passes through traditional villages, ruins of 18th Century French settlements, the renovated Fort Shirley at The Cabrits, secret ‘Maron’ passages where runaway slaves escaped and many more interesting historical and natural sites. Accommodation is mostly small guest houses, bed and breakfasts and home stays in the villages along and near the trail. For a listing of places to stay along the way, visit the trail’s website: http://www.waitukubulitrail.com.
Maps of the trail are available for purchase at several places including the Trail Headquarters in Pont Casse and the Forestry and Wildlife Division on Valley Road in Roseau. Yellow markers with a blue band provide basic directions along the route and guides are available throughout the island. There is also an excellent book by Paul Crask with detailed information on each section: http://www.paulcrask.com/bradt-travel-guides/.
Remember that the Waitukubuli is truly hiking in a rain forest so you will definitely get wet and probably muddy! It’s a moderate to advanced technical trail with steeps ups and down, so it’s best to get fit before you go in order to get the most enjoyment out of your trip.
All visitors and non-residents must obtain a trail pass to hike the Waitukubuli National Trail as follows:
- Single Day Pass: US$12.00
- Special Single Day Pass: US$10.00 -for pre-sold organised tours and special events (eg. cruise passengers)
- Fifteen Day Pass: US$40.00
Passes are available at the Waitukubuli Trail Headquarters in Pont Casse and at the Forestry and Wildlife Division. Various vendors throughout the island also sell them and a list is on the website.
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Author: Diane Gregg, Co-Owner Travelpath Inc