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Dominica in October - need some advice

Raleigh, NC
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5 posts
112 reviews
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Dominica in October - need some advice

My husband and I will be visiting Dominica in late October and I'd like to know if reservations are necessary for the whole week (10/20-10/28) or if we would just be able to find accomodations when we get there. I'd prefer to look around the island a bit before deciding where to stay, but I don't want to end up sleeping in our rental car.

Also, I was already planning to hike to Boiling Lake, which we would prefer to do without a guide, mostly because we're just quiet introverted people and would enjoy the hike more by ourselves. But most of the reviews (with a few exceptions) recommend a guide. We're pretty avid hikers, having hiked up and down the south rim of the Grand Canyon, so I don't think it will be too much of a physical challenge for us.

Toronto, Canada
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1. Re: Dominica in October - need some advice

It would be better to made reservations because around this time, due to the island's national Independence celebrations and Creole Festivals, many hotels and guesthouses are usually booked. So if you wish to stay in the South, North, Central or whereever, I would suggest you make your booking early.

Jacksonville...
9 posts
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2. Re: Dominica in October - need some advice

The nicer accommodation will all be taken - much better to book now in advance. Also, we did the Boiling Lake and I would definitely NOT recommend doing it alone. The guide we had was very quiet and unobtrusive and I am glad we were not alone. It is very tiring and on the way back it would be easier to become disorientated.

Southfield, Michigan
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247 posts
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3. Re: Dominica in October - need some advice

The Boiling Lake trail is nowhere near the standards of the South Kaibab or Bright Angel trails at the Grand Canyon. The trail on the backside of Morne Nicholl is closer to being a ladder than being stairs. A wet and mud covered ladder. I think that part lasts for about 300 feet. Keep in mind, that you cover each section of the trail going in and out.

You will be hiking through part of the rain forest, with its' high humidity. When you're on Morne Nicholl you will be hiking in the clouds with their high humidity. I've hiked across the Grand Canyon at the hottest time of the year. The Boiling Lake trail is hotter because of the humidity.

There are parts of the trail that aren't well defined. Therefore take a map if you're going to do it alone on the first trip. However, in many hours of research, the only detailed maps of Dominica I found are UK Govt maps. They aren't in print any more.

I hope you can see, that for this trail, on the first trip, use a guide. Help the local economy and help keep yourself out of trouble.

Raleigh, NC
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5 posts
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4. Re: Dominica in October - need some advice

I guess I don't understand what the guides do. Is the guide actually going to help us get up the ladder, or just point the way? If they're just there to tell us where to go, I don't see how trail conditions would factor into the decision.

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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for Sri Lanka
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5. Re: Dominica in October - need some advice

Any guide we've used there DOES help you at the difficult parts of a trail when you need it. So yes, do hire one!

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Raleigh, NC
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5 posts
112 reviews
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6. Re: Dominica in October - need some advice

Well that makes it seem much more worthwhile to get a guide then.

The rental car guy I talked to also mentioned this festival, which is the first I'd heard of it. Will the island get really crowded, or just certain parts of it? I understand it will start just as we're leaving, but do people show up days or weeks in advance, or will we just pass by the crowd on our way off the island, so to speak?

Also, has anyone ever rented a car from Accessories plus? I've heard a lot of people had problems with cars in poor condition and/or with bald tires, but I've heard nothing about this company. They had one of the less expensive quotes. On the one hand, they might be able to offer cars for less because they don't take good care of them. On the other, if someone wanted to rip me off, there's no reason to expect them to do so cheaply, is there? I did like that the guy answers my emails very quickly. This to me is a good indicator.

Southfield, Michigan
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247 posts
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7. Re: Dominica in October - need some advice

It's not a ladder. Just trying to let you know that section is that steep. There are so many check dams that it resembles steps of a stairway. But no stairway is built that steep. Plus you negotiate the uphill side on the way back. None of the established trails at the Grand Canyon are that steep. Don't underestimate what the warm humid air will do to your energy level. There are no detailed trail maps that I'm aware of. That is why you really should use a guide for your first trip over this trail.

I used Island Car Rental and would do so again. I noticed that Budget Rental Car is out of business. I guess their customer service caught up with them.

Isla de Margarita
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8. Re: Dominica in October - need some advice

We rented from Courtesy Rent a Car in Melville Hall aiport and I can highly recommed them-good car and good service.

I recommeded that you rent a small 4x4 especially if you are looking to use the vehicle to get to a lot of the trailheads for hiking.

Some of the entrances to trail heads are but dirt tracks.

Toronto, Canada
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53 posts
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9. Re: Dominica in October - need some advice

When people do come for Creole festival, flights are usually booked the last week in October. From there, visitors come to the island and reside in many villages, in towns, hotels. Creole in the Park is the last week in October, and the last friday in October, is the beginning of Creole Festival. Three nights of pulsating music. Independence day is November 3rd and 4th in Jump Up street parade. Visitors return around this time. But the island will be really festive and crowded particularly in Roseau where all the actiivities take place.

dominica
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2 posts
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10. Re: Dominica in October - need some advice

You should definitely take a guide to Boiling Lake. Even if you are an experienced hiker there are things that you do need to know about the area and the guides have that information. Heavy rainfall in the mountains can cause mud slides which a visitor would not be aware of plus it is a "Boiling lake " and there are areas that can be dangerous and people have been burnt if you stray off the path which changes from time to time.

It is an incredible hike though, not that gruelling and certainly worth doing .

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