The Boiling Lake in Dominica, Worth The Hard Journey
Dominica is a lush island republic located in the Lesser Antilles of the Eastern Caribbean Sea. Travelers to the busy area frequently miss this volcanic wonderland, which is occasionally mistaken for the Dominican Republic. But with a river for every day of the year, breathtaking natural beauty, the best trekking in the Caribbean, and non-stop flights from the United States beginning in December 2021, the "nature island" is set to become a powerful tourist destination for people from all over the world.
Since Dominica is home to the 115-mile-long Waitukubuli Route, the longest trail in the area, it has already established a reputation among adventure travelers. But a trip to Boiling Lake is the must-do activity while on this wild and mountainous island. In addition to being the second-largest boiling lake in the world, Morne Trois Pitons National Park safeguards about 9% of Dominica's biodiverse interior. This park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Notably, it was the first natural area in the Eastern Caribbean to be classified by UNESCO.
We contacted Lise Cuffy with Discover Dominica, the island's primary tourism organization, to find out more. She reveals that Boiling Lake is situated in the settlement of Laudat, in the Roseau Valley, deep within the rainforest, in a region known as the Valley of Desolation. Hiking to this natural beauty is one of the nicest experiences in Dominica, but it's also one of the hardest walks on the island. Cuffy appreciates that this place feels pristine and seldom explored.
Boiling Lake: How Do You Get There?
Boiling Lake is accessible only to those who are physically fit because getting there requires a very arduous journey. There are 4 miles of ascent and 4 miles of descent on the 8-mile trip. The journey is hard for the faint of heart and typically takes an average hiker around six hours to finish. Additionally, swimming in the lake is never permitted and may result in harm or even death. Since it's not a volcanic crater, Boiling Lake is actually a flooded fumarole, which Encyclopaedia Brittanica describes as "a vent in Earth's surface from which steam and volcanic gases are emitted."
According to the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre, which regularly monitors the lake, "Research suggests that water levels at the lake are maintained by the bubbles of volcanic gases rising through spaces in the rock beneath the lake." In addition, the lake's natural basin aids in channeling the abundant rainfall from the nearby jungle, and two streams also empty into the Boiling Lake. Cuffy claims that when all of this comes together, it creates a mesmerizing 200-foot-wide (61-meter-wide) cauldron of gray-blue water that is engulfed in a cloud of mist.
Boiling Lake is extremely significant for Dominica's tourism industry in addition to being fascinating geologically. It's the second-largest creation of its kind in the entire world, and according to Cuffy, it perfectly encapsulates what it's like to be on another planet. She adds that it boosts the island's prominence, fosters a sense of local pride, and creates jobs both locally and abroad. She claims that the nation should be honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of attractions like these. "It creates jobs, economic opportunities, and, most significantly, human connections that are indescribable between all corners of the world," the ambassador said. "It is a great emblem of what is special about your world and what the residents of your country take pride in."
A must-do Dominica experience, according to Tom Decherd, co-founder of the boutique hotel and adventure travel company Wanderlust Caribbean close to Calibishie, is the climb to Boiling Lake. Decherd continues, "Even with all these beautiful routes, the quintessential trek has to be the Boiling Lake trail. The quintessential hike has to be the Boiling Lake trail even during a vacation." Decherd also discusses several trail trips:
- Keep a nice pair of trail running shoes with you and leave your bulky hiking boots at home.
- Make sure you have a guide because travelers who believe they can do it on their own frequently get lost.
- Get an early start because this climb takes six to seven hours and gains elevation by around 4,000 feet.
Consider partnering with a firm that focuses on responsible tourism, like Traverse Journeys, which provides getaways to Dominica once or twice a year, if you're thinking about visiting this stunning island nation and Boiling Lake. Visiting with purpose promotes the preservation of undisturbed nature, improves knowledge of the culture, can reduce the carbon imprint of visitors, and is a meaningful way to interact with the planet.