Dominica: The Nature Island

Secret Bay

Secret Bay is one of those places that you know if you know. It is off the radar, low-key, relaxing, stunning, romantic, and special all in one! The all-villa rainforest resort experience features secluded clifftop residential-style villas with private plunge pools, dedicated villa hosts, on-call concierge, chefs and guides, and secret beaches. Guests who will enjoy Secret Bay are those that are not seeking the conventional, value space and privacy, and want to unwind.

After a 1 hour drive from the airport along windy and hilly terrain, guests reach Secret Bay, where they are whisked up the steep hill by golf car to their villa, where they are introduced to their butler. After a welcome to the villa, and an introduction to your new home, the music is turned on, and a glass of wine is served. The butler hands the guests a cell phone and advises them to what’s app her for any needs at all. The setting is unpretentious, completely chill, and one feels as if they are staying with friends.

My clients will appreciate being in Zabuco I, Zabuco II, or Zabuco III. Ranging in size from approximately 3,000 to 4,000 square feet of indoor, outdoor, covered, and pool-deck relaxation space, the Zabuco villas offer breathtaking panoramic views over the mountain peaks of Dominica and the sparkling Caribbean Sea. Situated on the farthest points of the Secret Bay’s twin promontories, guests feel as if they are floating above the world in an airy, sunlight-filled, yet totally secluded space.

The Zabuco villas range from 1-2 bedrooms and are bi-level units with bedrooms, living, kitchen, and deck space on the upper floor and pool, hammock, and lounge area on the lower flow – all with a view!

Dining at Secret Bay

The villas come stocked with local cereals, fresh fruits, yogurts, eggs, coffees, and teas; basically an organic European-style continental breakfast. Hot items can be ordered at a charge, such as this absolutely delicious Dominican traditional breakfast, including salt fish cod and fried dough.

Meals can be served in the restaurant, at the pool bar, or in your private villa – the cuisines of Dominica and creative and fresh.

Pool and Beach Time at Secret Bay

My Must Dos in Dominica

Dominica is an island of wellness, nature, and adventure. Guests will be delighted to explore the pretty unspoiled beaches on Secret Bay and enjoy the water sports center activities. However, the island has much to offer for nature and sports enthusiasts. It is a tiny island, lush and mountainous, with many natural attractions, from waterfalls, hot springs, a boiling lake, and endless hiking trails. The people of Dominica are exceptionally kind and friendly and will be happy to share their culture, heritage, and local hot spots.

Tip – While the island is blissfully crowd-free, this is different on days when large ships make a port of call on Dominica, so be sure your visits to beautiful natural attractions differ from a large ship’s arrival. The hotel concierge can guide you on this.

Activities beyond Chilling out


Dominica’s hiking trail network stands unparalleled in the region, making it an idyllic haven for nature enthusiasts who relish clear skies, tropical warmth, and the tranquil beauty of a rum punch sunset. The elevated interior of Dominica boasts a breathtaking expanse of untamed wilderness, featuring majestic mountain peaks, steep ridges, and meandering river valleys, all enveloped by a vibrant tapestry of rainforest and montane thicket. In the past, these trails served as vital connections between remote settlements and sprawling plantation estates in the absence of paved roads. Today, many of these pathways have been embraced by avid hikers and outdoor aficionados, leading to enchanting volcanic springs, cascading waterfalls, and serene lakes.

Top Hiking Locations

Morne Diablotin

Morne Diablotin is Dominica’s highest mountain and the journey to the summit is one of the island’s most advanced hikes. This is the domain of Dominica’s emblematic Sisserou (Amazona imperialis), a critically endangered Amazonian parrot that is found only on the nature island.

TIP – Summit on a clear day and enjoy the breathtaking views of Dominica and neighboring islands.

The Syndicate Nature Trail

The Syndicate Nature Trail is a charming forest walk in the foothills of Morne Diablotin and is famous as a parrot sanctuary.

TIP – Enlist the assistance of a bird expert and there is a good chance you’ll see Dominica’s two endemic parrots: the Sisserou (Amazona imperialis) and the Jaco (Amazona arausiaca) as well as many other species.

Boiling Lake Trail

Nestled amidst the untamed wilderness of Morne Trois Pitons National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this captivating hiking adventure begins and ends at the awe-inspiring Titou Gorge. Journey through the lush rainforest habitat, explore mountain streams and verdant landscapes as you ascend towards the majestic peak of Morne Nicholls. Continue onwards until you make the finale climb to The Boiling Lake —a dynamic volcanic crater brimming with shimmering, bubbling greyish-blue waters, said to be the second-largest of its kind in the world.

Waitukubuli National Trail 

Dominica’s regionally distinct 200km Waitukubuli National Trail is a challenging and multi-faceted trek for serious hikers. The journey meanders across the island, through forests, villages and farmlands, across rivers and over mountains. It presents a thrilling challenge for nature enthusiasts and outdoor aficionados, while also showcasing the rich tapestry of indigenous Amerindian, colonial, and Creole heritage that permeates the surroundings.


Dominica is blessed with an extensive array of waterfalls. As many of the spectacular waterfalls are hidden away in the lush mountainous landscape, your journey is just as enjoyable as reaching your destination. With a wide variety of waterfall hikes to choose from, you have the opportunity to select trails that align with your preferred terrain and desired level of difficulty.

Diving + Snorkeling

Dominica’s underwater realm offers a unique and captivating landscape, characterized by a short continental shelf and shallow coral reefs that swiftly plunge into a mesmerizing azure abyss. The remarkable depth of abyss hosts a year-round habitat for sperm whales. Shallow reefs, seemingly bottomless drop-offs, pinnacles and active volcanic vents all add drama to a marine environment that is as fertile, animated and pristine as the topside forests. Within this thriving ecosystem, soft and hard corals flourish, accompanied by graceful crinoids, enchanting sea fans, delicate whips, and colossal barrel sponges, providing a haven for an array of colorful creatures. Among them, you will encounter fascinating inhabitants such as frogfish, seahorses, banded shrimp, and flying gurnards. Additionally, hawksbill turtles, parrotfish, rays, and spotted drums grace these reefs as part of their regular presence in this captivating underwater habitat.

Learn about Dominica’s Indigenous Heritage
Prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Caribbean, the islands were inhabited by Amerindian tribes who had migrated from South and Central America. These indigenous peoples, known as the Kalingo, maintain a vibrant presence in a semi-autonomous territory located in the eastern part of Dominica, with approximately 3,000 descendants still residing there. The Kalingo take great pride in preserving the rich legacy and heritage of their ancestors through various practices such as rituals, bush crafts, basket weaving, canoe building, and the traditional art of making cassava bread. Welcoming visitors and demonstrating their culture, they ensure that their ancestral heritage remains alive and meaningful in the modern world. Notably, Dominica, referred to as “Waitukubuli” by the Kalingo, stands as the sole island in the region where the descendants of the original Amerindian inhabitants continue to thrive and flourish.

Kalinago Territory

Dominica’s Kalinago territory is unique in the Caribbean. It is the only place where descendants of the region’s indigenous Amerindian people – the Kalinago – still live in a domain that is theirs. Only Kalinago people are permitted to live in the Territory, which is administered by a Kalinago Chief and a Kalinago Council. The Kalinago are extremely proud of their Amerindian roots and cultural heritage and make huge efforts to keep the spirit of their ancestry alive. Visitors to the Kalinago Barana Auté in the village of Crayfish River can see traditional thatched buildings (called karbets and ajoupas) and examples of heritage crafts such as basket weaving, cassava bread making, and canoe building.

Art, Culture + Festivals

Popular Festivals

Carnival: February or March

Coined ‘The Real Mas’ and considered one of the Caribbean’s most authentic Carnivals, this vibrant celebration treats you to a captivating fusion of African-inspired performances such as sensay and stilt dancers, accompanied by the pulsating rhythms of drums and horns. The enchanting sounds of Caribbean steel pan and Creole music genres, including jing ping, cadence, and bouyon, fill the air, immersing you in a truly exhilarating experience. Carnival takes place in February or March, specifically on the Monday and Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday. The festivities kick off with J’Ouvert, a lively parade featuring a bohemian display of costumes, rhythmic drumming, and the infectious beats of bouyon music, commencing in the early hours of Monday morning.

Teway Vaval: February or March

After Carnival Monday and Tuesday, the singular festival of Teway Vaval is held in the villages of Dublanc (near Secret Bay) and Bataca in the Kalinago Territory and involves the symbolic and ritual burning of an effigy representing the spirit of Carnival, or Vaval, for another year.

Jazz + Creole Festival: May

In May, the annual Jazz & Creole Festival is held just up the road from Secret Bay at Fort Shirley in the Cabrits National Park. It is a well-attended and very fashionable event featuring local, regional and international jazz musicians.

World Creole Festival: October

In October, Dominica comes alive with a vibrant celebration of Creole music, captivating costumes, delectable cuisine, and lively dance. Each Friday throughout the month, locals don traditional Creole madras attire, setting the stage for a series of events during the Creole and Independence season. These festivities offer a wonderful opportunity to savor mouthwatering Creole dishes, witness captivating Creole dances, indulge in pageants showcasing cultural heritage, and marvel at colorful costume parades.The festivities reach their zenith in Creole Week, which includes the four-day Creole in the Park music and food festival, and the three-night flagship World Creole Music Festival.

Spend the Day on the Water

Either grab a boat from Secret Bay Dominica and enjoy the bay on your own including several beaches.

Or charter a boat with a knowledgeable captain for a day of exploring the island…

Food Markets

Time to Try Creole Cuisine!

In traditional Creole cuisine, a variety of meats such as fish, pork, chicken, or goat take center stage, accompanied by a generous serving of ground provisions including sweet potato, yam, dasheen (also known as taro), green bananas, and tannia. Rice and peas with coconut milk also feature, as do plantains, vegetables and salad. However, the true essence of traditional Creole cooking lies in the art of seasoning, which involves a captivating blend of garlic, chives, parsley, limes, and a mix of both aromatic and spicy peppers. The main meal of the day is traditionally enjoyed during lunchtime, aiming to provide ample sustenance for the day’s activities ahead.

Fresh produce markets in Roseau, Portsmouth, and many villages are fun and interesting places to visit. Back at Secret Bay the chef can demonstrate the cooking techniques, and with fully equipped kitchens in the villas, you have the opportunity to unleash your culinary skills using the delightful treasures you’ve gathered from the market.

Row down the Indian River

Try out a guided row

The Indian River is a paradise for birdwatchers, as this picturesque river, adorned with mangroves, takes you on a serene journey into the heart of the forest, passing by the renowned old witch’s house featured in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. You might like to stop for a rum punch at the mellow bar along the way that was a popular haunt with the cast and crew.

Hot Springs

As a legacy of its volcanic origins, Dominica has many volcanically heated, mineral-rich springs that occur naturally throughout the island. Among these, sulphur is often the prominent mineral, renowned for its purported therapeutic properties. While some of the island’s hot springs can only be reached via hiking trails, there are also beautifully designed and curated hot spas and wellness centers, primarily located in the villages of Wotten Waven and Trafalgar at the head of the Roseau Valley. Whether you seek to relax your weary muscles after an exhilarating hike or desire a romantic experience beneath a canopy of stars, these spas provide the perfect retreat to unwind and rejuvenate, adding the final touch to another unforgettable day on the island.


Dominica embodies the essence of wellness, nature, and adventure, making it a truly exceptional island. Here, pure water, crisp forest air, serenity, and breathtaking landscapes are readily available, forming an integral part of the daily experience. This timeless Caribbean destination offers a sanctuary where one can detach from the chaos of modern life, fully immerse themselves in the wonders of the natural world, and discover joy and rejuvenation for both body and spirit. Dominica is a place like no other, a haven where tranquility and revitalization intertwine harmoniously.

Visit Secret Bay’s Gummier Spa

With a tranquil view of Tibay Beach, this serene space offers a unique treehouse-style experience where guests can indulge in a variety of revitalizing treatments. From soothing relaxation massages to invigorating deep tissue and hot stone massages, as well as the indulgent four-hand massage, all accompanied by locally custom-blended oils, the spa provides a range of options to suit your preferences. Additionally, the signature Gommier facial promises to rejuvenate and nourish your skin. Whether you seek to unwind your tense muscles after an adventurous hike, release the burdens of everyday stress, or discover inner tranquility, the skilled therapists are dedicated to guiding you on your path to relaxation and rejuvenation.

Swimming with the Wales + Wale Watching

Swimming with Wales

Very few destinations in the world offer the remarkable opportunity to intimately engage with whales in their natural environment. Dominica, home to resident sperm whales throughout the year, provides a truly extraordinary experience that goes beyond traditional whale watching. Here, if you possess the desire, you can take an extraordinary leap and actually enter the water to swim alongside these majestic creatures. It’s an in-water whale encounter that requires a specific permit overseen by the maritime authorities and is led by specially licensed and experienced guides.

These guides have dedicated countless years to studying and establishing a deep connection with Dominica’s resident sperm whale population. They possess extensive expertise in ensuring safety and maintaining utmost respect during these encounters. Whether you’re an avid photographer, a marine biologist, or simply captivated by the sheer wonder of whales, this once-in-a-lifetime experience promises to be etched into your memory forever.

Whale Watching

Embarking on a half-day whale watching excursion in Dominica assures you of a remarkable opportunity to witness these majestic creatures firsthand, with a well-deserved success rate of over 80% for whale sightings. This means that regardless of the time you visit the island, the likelihood of encountering these magnificent beings is incredibly high, creating an unforgettable experience that stays with you forever. Furthermore, it is quite common for whale watching trips to encounter impressive gatherings of spinner, Atlantic spotted, and bottlenose dolphins. Witness the joyous spectacle as they playfully frolic around the boat, leaping from the water and gracefully diving across the vessel’s wake.

Bird Watching

Without doubt, the best way to catch sight of the Jaco, the Sisserou, and many other species of bird is to take a relaxing stroll through the rainforest with an experienced and knowledgeable guide. One of the best places for a bird-watching trip is the Syndicate Nature Trail in the Morne Diablotin National Park. Conveniently situated near Secret Bay, the rainforest trail offers a scenic and easily accessible pathway through the enchanting rainforest, presenting a favorable opportunity to catch sight of Dominica’s two endemic parrots: the Sisserou (Amazona imperialis) and the Jaco (Amazona arausiaca). The Syndicate Trail also serves as an exceptional habitat for spotting Dominica’s four species of hummingbirds, along with rare sightings of tremblers, thrashers, bananaquits, warblers, flycatchers, and a multitude of other captivating bird species.

Cooking Classes at Secret Bay

For those who yearn for an immersive culinary experience deeply rooted in Dominica’s vibrant culture, Secret Bay offers personalized in-villa cooking classes. This extraordinary opportunity allows you to delve into the world of indigenous ingredients and traditional preparations, all under the expert guidance of the executive chef. Whether learning how to de-spine the sustainably caught lion fish or joining the chef in foraging the Secret Bay property for wild herbs and vegetables to inspire your lunch, your time in the kitchen will leave an indelible mark on your culinary journey.

So as you can see, do absolutely nothing or soak in the rich nature and heritage of this unspoiled island in the Windward Island of the Lesser Antilles. Either way, relaxation and romance are in order at Secret Bay!

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