Although Dominica is one of the most preserved and unspoiled islands in the Caribbean, with world-class scuba diving, waterfalls, and a boiling lake, the island may not be for all travelers. Researching the area's possibilities will give you an idea about whether a vacation to Dominica will suit your style.
The backbone of creating any good vacation experience is research. Whether it is finding great restaurants or uncovering the vast opportunities for eco-tourism and adventure, research will give you a glimpse into the exciting and exotic world of Dominica.
A trip to unspoiled, unhurried Dominica is like stepping backward in time. You can start learning about this Windward Island by consulting the Internet, which can be a traveler's most valuable resource for finding essential information. With the click of a mouse, you can quickly access millions of Web sites that can help you learn about Dominica and the Caribbean. Some sites allow you to purchase airfare, book hotels, rent cars, and even make reservations for activities.
Start by simply plugging terms such as Dominica into some of the Internet's powerful search engines. Results of your search will produce Web sites that will be sorted in order of relevance. Some sites will not be reliable or helpful to your search.
However, trustworthy sites abound. You can learn about most aspects of your vacation from this site, which provides information on planning your trip, traveling to the island, getting around once you arrive, and ideas about different types of accommodations. You may quickly jump from one topic to another for fast access to the needed information. This site contains a variety of travel-related topics, which makes it a great resource during any stage of your research. The Official Tourism Web site of Dominica is another valuable planning resource. Official tourism sites have a stake in making sure visitors enjoy their vacations, which begins with maintaining an accurate, helpful, and consistently updated Web site. You will be able to jump to local business directories from this site or get specific eco-tourism details on hiking and scuba diving opportunities. You can usually ask specific questions by using the contact information provided. The Caribbean Tourism Organization also maintains a site that covers tourist-industry-related news and an event calendar.
Once you've pinpointed the types of activities you'd like to pursue or hotels you want to learn more about, make use of online business directories and yellow pages. Tourism is still a small industry on Dominica, so many small businesses may slip under the radar of the bigger sites. Business directories and yellow pages can help you contact most companies, including restaurants, hotels, tour guides, dive shops, car rental firms, and other useful businesses. These directories will help you to mine information that will piece together an enjoyable trip.
Another source for Internet travel information is the online message and bulletin board. This type of site serves as an electronic community, allowing vacationers from around the world to share their experiences of Dominica. Users post questions or comments about virtually every aspect of travel, and responses are organized beneath the queries. Topics, or "threads," often create long discussions composed of many responses. You may browse past or current posts or start a new thread by asking your own question. Keep in mind that users are not official representatives of the island, and opinions vary. Information contained in some threads may not be reliable. Verify important information related to health, safety, and security with official sources. Never disclose personal information because some criminals use the Internet to steal information from unsuspecting users.
A primary resource of reliable information does exist, however, in friends, family, and colleagues who have traveled to the island themselves. In fact, such sources may be the original inspiration behind your desire to travel. Perhaps a business associate raved about the Boiling Lake in Morne Trois Pitons National Park or a relative had tales to share about the world-class scuba diving just off Dominica's shores. First-hand resources can give you helpful information on what to see, where to go, and what to avoid.
Before leaving the Internet, consult two more types of sites: travel vendors and magazines. Travel vendor sites list a number of flights, hotels, tours, and rental agencies that offer services to foreign travelers to Dominica. Although most travelers will turn to travel vendors to book final tickets in the late stages of planning, these sites can be useful during any stage of the research process. For example, by searching for hotels, you can comparison shop the prices and amenities of inns, guesthouses, and resorts. You will also get an idea about what there is to do in any given area of the island. Searching for airfare, for example, will inform you there are no direct air travel to Dominica from the United States or Canada.
Articles dealing specifically with Dominica can often be found on Web sites of travel magazines. Some magazines may contain stories on hiking and dining on the island, while another may include reviews of hotels and restaurants in a travel narrative. Hard-copy travel magazines pulled from newsstands can contain useful information, but you'll probably need to visit the magazine's Web site to search its archives. Plug in terms such as "ecotourism," "scuba diving," or whatever you'd like to learn more about.
Although it may be impossible to exhaust the possibilities of Internet research, you may also wish to consult traditional hard-copy sources, such as books and magazines. Visit the travel section at your local bookstore for a number of reliable and up-to-date reference guides and travel journals. Some focus specifically on Dominica while others are guides for the Caribbean in general. Travel guide books can provide information on a variety of topics, from details on ecotourism opportunities to lessons in island cuisine or history. Some books may even contain information in the form of travel journals written by people who have spent time on Dominica. Consider the type of vacation you'd like to have, and choose your guide accordingly. Dominica guides are pitched at different types of readers: eco-tourists, honeymooners, elderly travelers, families, gays and lesbians, or travelers with high or low budgets. Because some locations on Dominica are so remote and information is not always easy to come by, travelers may wish to purchase a book to keep handy throughout the trip.
Don't forget to visit the magazine rack for travel titles dedicated to the Caribbean. Even if current issues do not contain specific articles on Dominica, travelers may be able to find useful advice as well as advertisements for hotels and services in the region.
A trip to the less-traveled Dominica can be a genuine getaway, calming and rejuvenating. Even if you want to do nothing while you visit, it's good to learn about the best places to relax and enjoy this unspoiled paradise.
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