The recently contested third and final Test between India and the West Indies in Windsor Park, Roseau was the first to played in the island of Dominica, known as the “Nature Island” of the Caribbean (named as the world’s second most “pure” island in Islands Magazine April/May 2010), due to the large number of rainforests, waterfalls and mountains on the island. Dominica is not your typical West Indian island of sun, sand and surf, but rather, Dominica is a lush, green paradise comparable to locations the North Island of New Zealand.
After the Ministry of Tourism for Dominica received funding of 6 million euros from the European Union for the Ecotourism Development Program (this service was subsequently implemented by Tourism Intelligence International), known as the ETDP, Dominica became world-renowned for a wonderful ecotourism program. So what exactly is ecotourism? Ecotourism (also known as ecological tourism) is a form of tourism that appeals to ecologically and socially conscious individuals.
Generally speaking, ecotourism focuses on volunteering, personal growth and learning new ways to live on the planet. It typically involves travel to destinations where flora, fauna and cultural heritage are the primary attractions, as is certainly the case in Dominica.
Ecotourism is a conceptual experience, enriching those who delve into researching and understanding the environment around them. It gives us insight into our impact as human beings and also a greater appreciation of our own natural habitats. Given that most of island’s rainforest is protected by National Parks and Forest Reserves, it is assured that Dominica is working hard to protect its natural environment, with the Morne Trois Pitons National Park attaining UNEP World Heritage Status in 1997.
There are some fine examples of ecotourism in Dominica, the world’s newest Test nation. There is much being done to ensure the fragile and beautiful ecosystem of this bright island is being preserved, with Dominica a world leader in the field of ecotourism, having hosted the 2009 Dominica International Ecofest. So what are some ecotourism activities which the common cricket lover may want to indulge in away from the field of play when visiting Dominica?
One may be interested in taking a walk along one of Dominica’s 365 rivers, with a river for each day of the year. This is an interesting fact, as another popular Caribbean tourist destination, Antigua is known as the nation of 365 beaches. Alternatively, one may engage in the classic Caribbean activity of snorkelling at Scott’s Head, another wonderful result of the three year ETDP.
The ETDP also ensured redevelopment of significant historical and tourist sites such as the Botanical Gardens in Roseau, a stone’s throw away from the world’s newest Test venue, Windsor Park. Dominica is also home to the world’s second largest boiling lake and 175 different species of bird, so it would be wonderful to take a tour through one of Dominica’s many national parks.
But if the great outdoors is not your type of thing, one may be interested in taking an insight into Dominica’s rich and vibrant culture. Dominica Urban Adventures offers a variety of different day tours which will no doubt be of entertainment to the ecoutourist. For those more inclined with the culinary side of life, the Caribbean Flavours tour should have your mouths watering. For a more traditional cultural experience, ecotourists can take a Kalinago Culture tour, travelling through a Kalinago village to experience life with a native tribe.
In terms of accommodation, Dominica has plenty to suit the environmentally conscious tourist, no matter what your budget range. Those looking to do a lot of outdoor exploring may be interested in staying at one of the many ecotourist lodges. Rosalie Forest lodges offers quaint and charming cottages, as well as apartments, dormitories, forest camping and tree-houses.
Should you find yourself particularly keen to engage in the local lifestyle, Rosalie Forest also gives its patrons a chance to do a homestay program, where the guest is able to stay with a local family in order to gain a greater appreciation of the natural lifestyle on the island.
For those with a higher budget looking to life on the more luxurious side of things, one may consider staying at the eco-friendly Calibishie Cove. Guests will be indulged with a fresh local breakfast on the balcony where a beautiful ocean view awaits. Guests will also be treated to complimentary snorkel equipment and the hotel staff will offer a variety of exciting eco-tours and packages.
When the day’s play is done, there is plenty to entertain the average cricket lover without causing harm to the local lifestyle or environment in Dominica. To conclude, it is apt to reflect on the Dominican national motto- after God comes nature.