Emerald Pool and Kalinago Barana Aute Day Trip
You can’t visit Dominica without making your way to the Emerald Pool for a hike and a swim. Nature’s island is ready to be explored and we have hired a driver to take us from Portsmouth to Roseau in the south via two important Dominica stops. The Emerald Pool is all about nature, while our first stop is about man. Specifically, we will be stopping at Kalinago Barana Aute, a model village of the last remaining indigenous people of the Caribbean, the Kalinago. History, culture and nature all in one day.
While you can book group tours through local operators and at your hotel we have hired a private driver just for us. Check with your hotel to see if they can recommend someone. If you are lucky you will get Mr Oris Campbell who was our driver. Not only was he our driver but he was also a wealth of knowledge about the area and he also knew the best places to stop for photos and to meet some of the local people.
One such stop on our way to Kalinago Barana Aute was at a private home that had a market stall out front. Everything for sale was made by the family that lived here. Normally a booming trade, business is down since Hurricane Maria swept through the area. A few of us did our part and picked up a few souvenirs while we talked with the family.
The matriarch of the family even invited me into her home to see what she was cooking. Damn, it smelled good! Seriously the nicest people ever.
It is not that far to our first destination. The Kalinago Barana Aute is located within what is called the Carib Territory. Established in 1903 by the British colonial rulers for the original indigenous people. The Kalinago had had most of their lands taken from them by the 1760’s and so most had moved to the eastern shores of the island in the territory they now call home.
We step into the Interpretive Centre where our guide gives us a brief background on the Kalinago people, the history of the territory and a what we can expect to see when we tour the village.
When we walk through the site you can really see the devastation from the hurricane. So much has to be rebuilt so we are really only seeing a bare-bones version of the site.
It is amazing to hear the stories of the Kalinago people in a place where they used to live. How all the building materials they needed were just a short walk away. Homes were kept small but there is a large gathering hall which today is used for many feasts and performances.
We pay our respects to our hosts and bid them farewell as we load back into our vehicle. Our next stop is Dominica’s famous Emerald Pool.
Oops, we can’t forget lunch. Oris stops at Islet View Restaurant on the Castle Bruce Highway. True to its name the views are spectacular.
You’ll come for the view but it’s the food that will bring you back. There is a little bit of everything on the plate. This was the lunch special and included chicken, beef, salad, rice and beans, plantain chips and taro root buns.
Ok, now we are off to the Emerald Pool. Located within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Morne Trois Piton National Park the hike to the pool is quite easy and should only take about 15 to 20 minutes max. While the trail is easy it does have some steep steps so be careful.
Once you reach the bottom you may not want to leave. I hope you wore your bathing suit. We did, and I immediately waded into the pool. So refreshing and invigorating. I even tried to make my way under the waterfall.
Sadly our day trip is nearing its end. After hiking back up to the top we dry off and with Oris at the helm, we make our way to Roseau and the Fort Young Hotel where we will be staying for a couple of nights.
No matter where you are on the Island both Kalinago Barana Aute and the Emerald Pool are accessible day trip options. We did both including two stops. Don’t let the distance fool you into thinking it’s a short drive. The roads are narrow and I highly recommend you book a driver. Let him or her worry about the roads while you enjoy the sights of Dominica.