With more volcanoes per square metre than anywhere else in the world and nearly all of the island covered by rainforest, Dominica is the perfect place to get a real nature fix.
Unlike its neighbours Guadeloupe and Martinique, this Caribbean gem is English-speaking, however it’s still far from crowded.
I started my adventure in the small village of Wotten Waven at the Bongo Baths – mud pools and hot thermal springs that are different temperatures so you can always find one that suits.
And it’s a bargain at £10 for an hour’s session (Discoverdominica.com/en/places/253/bongo-baths).
Nearby, you’ll also find Freshwater Lake, where you can book a 90-minute yoga session for up to five people for £58 (Rainbowyogaindominica.wordpress.com), as well as lap up the stunning views of Trafalgar Falls.
Not far from here lies the tiny capital of Roseau and the Fort Young Hotel, which has fairly basic but huge double rooms with balconies that are perfect for watching breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, plus there’s a pool and hot tub.
Doubles cost from £129 a night (Fortyounghotel.com).
A whale of a time
Just a mile from Fort Young, I lived out my Free Willy dreams by joining a whale watching boat trip.
Dominica is the only country in the world where sperm whales can be spotted all year round, while another 22 species of whales – including orcas – and dolphins also visit the waters.
This means you’d be really unlucky not to spot any on the three-hour excursion, which costs £53 per person (Divedominica.com).
Fifty minutes up the coast are the Picard Beach Cottages, set in an old coconut plantation.
Each bungalow is named after a Pirates Of The Caribbean crew member who kipped there while filming two of the movies, and the incredible black sand beach is right on your doorstep.
Plus, they do amazing French toast come morning. Cottages cost from £90 a night (Picardbeachcottages.dm).
Hopping on a horse and trekking through the Cabrits National Park to the partially restored 18th-century ruins of Fort Shirley was my dream excursion.
You can even try bareback riding at the beach and down into the surf if you want an adrenalin kick.
A two-and-a-half-hour trip with Rainforest Riding is £77 per person.
Come evening, Zing Zing restaurant at Secret Bay hotel, tucked away in the north-west mountains, has insane ocean views and a delicious set menu, £60, that changes daily – but expect dishes
like tempura shrimp and deconstructed Snickers.
It’s perfect for a last-night treat (Secretbay.dm/dining).
February-April is the best time to visit.
Plan your trip at Discoverdominica.com.
Return flights from the UK via Antigua take around 12 hours and start from £615 (Ba.com).
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