Compared with other Caribbean islands, Dominica has few good beaches, but does have excellent river bathing. The Caribbean side of Dominica gains or loses sand according to swells and storms but the black coral sandy areas are few and far between.
A small one exists just off Scotts Head (favoured as a teaching ground for divers, snorkellers and canoeists, so sometimes crowded), but further north you must travel to Mero beach or Castaways Beach Hotel. Macousheri Bay and Coconut Beach near Portsmouth are probably the best areas for Caribbean bathing. Don’t be tempted to swim anywhere near Roseau or the larger villages because of effluent. For some really beautiful, unspoilt, white sandy beaches, hire a four-wheel drive and investigate the bays of the northeast coast. Turtle Beach, Pointe Baptiste, Hampstead and Woodford Hill are all beautiful but on the Atlantic coast terrific underswells and freak waves make swimming dangerous. Look at the sea and swim in the rivers is the safest advice. Very strong swimmers may be exhilarated by Titou Gorge, near Laudat, where the water flows powerfully through a narrow canyon and emerges by a hot mineral cascade.
Very few watersports are on offer. Gusty winds coming down from the hills make sailing difficult and unreliable; conditions are rarely suitable for the beginner. Carib Cruises has various cruises on a 70-ft catamaran taking 80 people or a 24-ft boat for smaller parties, T4482489, F4483500. Game Fishing Dominica is a new operation at the Castaways Beach Hotel (T4496638) with charters at US$400 half day or US$600 full day. Rainbow Sportfishing/Charters can take you fishing in the Martinique channel, which is a migratory route, or take you on a cruise to Martinique or Les Saintes, T/F4488650, rol...@cwdom.dm
The first Dominica International Sportfishing Tournament was held in 1996 and annually since then in May. Sea kayaks can be hired from Nature Island Dive, rates are US$11 per hour, US$26 per half day and US$42 per full day, lifejackets and instruction in Soufrière Bay provided. Guided tours are available.
The best harbour for yachts is Portsmouth (Prince Rupert Bay), but you should guard your possessions. Stealing from yachts is quite common. The new jetty in Roseau is designed for small craft, such as yachts, clearing for port entry. Both the Reigate Waterfront and Anchorage Hotels have moorings and a pier, and yachtsmen and women are invited to use the hotels’ facilities.