A tough hike that rewards with great views along the way, a fascinating volcanic lake, the 'Valley of Desolation', hot springs to relax in and then to celebrate at the end of a long hard day, playing in the refreshingTitou Gorge! A full day to say the least, but our family loved it.
I agree with many of the other posts here that you don't really need a guide as the trail is pretty straightforward (in good weather), and if you got the wrong guide it could possibly feel like a waste of money. The guide (and taxi) we used was spectacular though, and I'd highly recommend Sea Cat to anyone visiting. His knowledge of the area, the vegetation and enthusiasm to share his island's beauty really did make it worthwhile for us. In the past 3 months, we've run into many cruisers who did the hike by themselves and when we ask about many of the details about the hike or Titou Gorge, they didn't get to see or experience quite as much without the local knowledge. Either works and everyones perspective is different, but we also found that the time spent with Sea Cat, his familu and his Boat Boys gave us a lot better insight to the wonderful people of Dominica. During the cruising season he averages at least a couple trips a week to the Boiling Lake so clearly enjoys the hike himself as there are easier hikes he could specialize in.
Are you fit enough to do the hike? You need to be in reasonable shape to enjoy it, but we know lots of people who have, who when you first see them you wouldn't have expected they could have....I think their attitude is what made the difference. Our 12 and 14 year old kids were fine, my wife and I were a bit stiff the next day, but not enough to regret going. If you're not sure you are up for it, I would suggest going with Sea Cat to Victoria Falls first. After that, he'll be able to suggest whether he recommends Boiling Lake or not for you.
We moored our sailboat in front of Sea Cat's house while in Roseau and also went with him to Victoria Falls. While we anchor 90+% of the time, Roseau isn't comfortable anchoring as it shelves quickly and is quite a gravelly bottom. Water is available from his dingy dock with a long hose also and Dominica has great water.
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