Thanks to Whit Monday (Pentecost Monday), last weekend was a 3 Day weekend! I told Tony I wanted to go somewhere with our day off, so we looked around at flight prices. We’d heard our friends talk about Dominica, but knew it was expensive to get to, so were pleasantly surprised when we found flights for $250 per person. Word spread quickly and soon there were 8 of us for the weekend! We booked 2 cabins at an eco lodge in the middle of the jungle. I must admit I was a little nervous about the compostable toilets, but it was just for a weekend, right?
Departing Tortola at 7:30am, our trip to Dominica was oddly eventful! We made a scheduled stop in St. Martin and everyone had to deplane. When all were off, Security personnel escorted us into the airport building and down a nondescript hallway about 100 feet where we came across a security checkpoint. Yes, we were taken off the plane for the express purpose of going through security a second time. I definently got yelled at for taking this photo! But it distracted the woman enough that she didn’t throw a fit about Michelle’s liquids, which were no longer in the required clear plastic bag. Mission accomplished!
Descending over Dominica was gorgeous, with the mountaintops shrouded in clouds and the steep hills blanketed in thick trees. It was all very Jurassic Park-esque with steam vents scattered amid the foliage.
We were met at the airport by Kurt, the taxi driver recommended by our hosts at Roots Jungle Retreat. He took us the hour or so to our eco-lodge. We’d hired Kurt for the whole weekend. With 8 of us we’d need 2 vehicles, but everyone really preferred to be together, so that was the best option. We were really glad we hired him too! You’ve heard me talk about the roads here on Tortola – by the time we returned on Monday night we were all saying “Thank You!” for BVI roads! Who would have thought?
It was about 10 am by that time, and we’d picked Matt and Gemma up at 6:00, so we were pretty hungry! Luckily, I had a muffin left over, since Matt was hungry enough to eat whale blubber or a monkey muffin… Whatever he could get his hands on first!
While the driveway alone was quite a trek, Roots was a little paradise in the middle of the jungle. This is the cabin we stayed in:
This is where the owners live. It’s also the kitchen, dining room, and living room!
The Proprietors of Roots Jungle Retreat, Staci and Pat, were just lovely, making us all feel right at home! They’re both US expats who wanted to open a Bed and Breakfast and were heading toward Panama. They stopped in Dominica along the way and just never left! They have built up a beautiful place amid untamed jungle in the 3 1/2 years they’ve been there.
This beautiful river goes under the road and crashes through some boulders on the other side, creating a mini-waterfall. Several of us took outdoor “showers” here throughout the weekend.
We spent a couple hours exploring the property and enjoying a simple lunch prepared by Staci of ham tortillas, pretzels, and the biggest and best banana I’ve ever had!
From there it was off to Spanny Falls, which followed and easy path through the jungle.
It was amazing to see this wall of moss-covered rock glistening like fairy dust as the water trickled over it from the top.
Then we made it to the waterfall!
We all swam in the cool water at the bottom of the fall for awhile before climbing up the rope to the other side where there was a twin waterfall!
We played around in that pool as well, and all enjoyed posing for the waterproof camera with mossy moustaches! (these are a little blurry because the camera lens was wet and there was nothing to dry it off with)
When we got too cold (it was surprisingly chilly) we all got out and headed back toward the van. Our dinner plans included the first annual Creole Jazz festival in the area, which was at a relatively new outdoor bar. This was the view from the bar’s deck.
The meals were incredible, and cheap! Tony and I shared fresh fish with mango salsa and a chicken kabob, both with potatoes, for 50 EC (Eastern Caribbean Dollars) or about $20!
The music was fabulous too, as were the people. Everyone at the bar was just delightful- so kind and welcoming! The dinner service was quick and friendly. It was a very welcome change from Tortola! We were bummed that no one had CDs to sell, or we’d be listening to Jazz Creole right now!
We couldn’t believe this was just our first of 3 days in Dominica! That night was a pretty early one, as the next day was a big adventure. Stay tuned for the second installment of Dominica 2012!