Local Sites and Adventures
Here are just a few ideas of things to do within a short drive of your cottage. Toucari is less than a minute's walk, Most of these places are within 10 minutes and the last 2 are less than a 30 minute drive.
Toucari Village and Reef
Toucari Bay is a perfect little Caribbean cove. From the sea there is a small beach and then the coconut palm lined coast road. Behind the road are the 40 or so dwellings of the village and right on the road are the 4 brightly painted 'Rum Shops'. These act as both convenience stores for life's essentials, bars serving local rums and the national beer - Kubuli - and, at the weekend, the village focus for music and food.
Here is where you can meet the real people of Dominica, hang out like a local and try some barbeque fish right on the beach
The reef that runs the full width of Toucari bay is one of the island's top scuba diving sites. It is also shallow enough to enjoy with just a snorkel and mask.
The beautiful corals, fans and sponges plus a huge variety of exotic fish are easily accessed from the beach at either end of the bay. You can walk down from the cottages in just a few minutes.
On the left of the bay is a shallow reef leading to a rock wall and round to a huge bat cave. In the centre are constant streams of volcanic bubbles rising up from the sand as if you are swimming in champagne. And on the right are large rocks and corals rising up from the bottom populated with thousands of tropical fish.
Diving in Toucari - www.saltdominica.com
For a different way to see Toucari bay and village, take a trip in a traditional hand constructed local wooden boat. Caso will take you to the boat wreck just north of the bay and to the bat cave just to the south. He will also fish with you if you like and show you great snorkelling spots. This trip is a highlight with most of our guests.
Cabrits National Park and Fort Shirley
The British garrison at Fort Shirley was abandoned 150 years ago. The forest took back the peninsula and occasional earthquakes did their damage to the huge stone buildings and fortifications. The tropical forests, coral reefs, wetlands and structures are now all protected within the Cabrits National Park. Some central buildings have been renovated and some are still untouched in those 150 years.
Here you can hike trails into the forest to see spectacular views of Prince Rupert bay or visit the Commandant's house and the Douglas Bay Battery. These structures are in ruins but you will find storage rooms still full of musket balls and huge iron cannons lying just where they were left 150 years ago. At times it feels as if you are on the set of the Jungle Book or Indiana Jones.
The Indian River was made famous in the Pirates of the Caribbean films when it was used as the location for the witch's house.
Named after the Indigenous Indians who originally settled along the river, it can now be enjoyed with a boat trip from a Dominican registered guide. This is a leisurely trip in a rowing boat (no motors allowed) along the mangrove-lined river to the rustic bar at the farthest navigable point. The buttress roots of the trees are fascinating, you can see herons and kingfishers, crabs and iguana along the way, and then refresh yourself with a cocktail at the end.
Purple Turtle Beach
A perfect west facing beach, edged with shallow crystal water and nearly always empty. To your left is the expanse of Prince Rupert Bay, in front are dozens of anchored yachts from all over the world and to your right are the rounded hills of Cabrits national park.
The beach is wide and flat and backed by the coast road where it is easy to park. You are also just a few steps from the Purple Turtle bar and restaurant where you can get a local creole lunch or good old fish and chips (but the fish is mahi-mahi of course). And then relax away the afternoon with a rum punch!
Cold Soufrier and the Drive-through Volcano
Dominica is the youngest and also the most volcanic of the Lesser Antilles. Just a 15 minute drive from Toucari is Morne aux Diables, one of Dominica's 10 live volcanoes. A road passes right through the broken old crater and in the centre is the cold volcanic spring called Cold Soufriere. The spring is reached along a short hike signposted from the road.
Although you can see sparkling springs and bubbling mud, and experience the strong sulphur smell of the volcano, it is all cold on the surface. This may be described as "live" but it hasn't erupted for millions of years.
Syndicate Trail and Milton Falls
Syndicate Nature Trail is an easy marked walk through pristine oceanic rainforest. It is located 20 minutes south of Portsmouth at the foot of Morne Diablotin, Dominica's tallest mountain. Syndicate is home to Dominica’s two endemic Parrots, the Sisserou which is the national Bird and the Jacko. The nature trail is a looped trail which can be completed in 55 minutes however you might want to spend an hour or more enjoying the lovely forest.
The hike to Milton Falls is accessed from the road up to Syndicate. It is a relatively easy trail which crosses the river several times so expect to get your feet wet. Once at the falls there is a lovely pool to bathe in, an unforgettable tropical memory.
La Chaudiere Pool
At the end of a 30 minute walk through the forest and a quick stream-crossing, you find "La Chaudière" - the boiling pot. Don't be fooled, this is not warm water but named for the turbulent bubbling motion created by the fast flowing waterfall.
Take a picnic and have a cool dip before heading back the way you came.