Cabrits is the name of two steep block-like summits that are the remnants of a large collapsed volcano. Despite their elevation, the two Cabrits, West and East both provide fine views and they rise directly out of the ocean in a rather spectacular manner.
From Hotel the Champs it’s only a 20 minute ride to the entrance of the park which is located north of Portsmouth. Once you get to the park there is a $5 (US)/ $13 (EC) entrance fee. Turn right at the main entrance and you’ll take a path up to the trailheads. To the left and up the hill is Fort Shirley and the West Cabrits Trail. To the right is a trail that leads to the Commandant’s Quarters and the Douglas Bay Battery on the East Cabrits Trail. Both are well graded and only moderately steep.
Fort Shirley is a large 18th-century British garrison which once housed 600 soldiers. The Officer’s Quarters has undergone a major renovation. The Fort is now used for various functions such as Weddings, Receptions, Concerts and other events on the island. From here you have a gorgeous view of Prince Rupert Bay.
After a visit to Fort Shirley you can continue on one of the trails. You can walk them both easily in half a day and discover the old ruins covered in vines in this small jungle. Wildlife is abundant on the trails you can see many land crabs, hermit crabs, lizards, snakes, iguana and many birds. Although the area is heavily forested, this is probably one of the driest areas of Dominica. While the higher mountains to the east are bathed in almost perpetual cloud cover, often the Cabrits stay bright and sunny.
After your visit to the park you can decide to walk back to Hotel the Champs (if your legs are still fine) or to take a taxi ride. If you are going to walk you will pass Purple Turtle Beach, a nice sandy beach were you can take a swim or stop for a drink. After this relaxing break you will pass the small city of Portsmouth and will arrive at Hotel the Champs after another 30 minutes’ walk……
A Sample “Playlist” to Discovering Dominica
From North to South, East to West, Dominica has so much to explore. At The Champs, taking the traditional bucket list up a notch, presenting a playlist guide to the best of Dominica, with options from easy to extreme.
- Drift down a “River of Dreams”
A river for every day of the year, so why not take a ride. For the easy-going traveler, an Indian River boat ride is the most relaxing choice and it’s only five minutes away flowing through the town of Portsmouth. For the more adventurous, let’s go tubing down the Layou or Pagua Rivers.
- Take a “Misty Mountain” hop (hike)
A must-do on the Caribbean’s most mountainous island is a hike. The Champs is close to Dominica’s tallest peak, Morne Diablotins. The 4 to 6-hour return trek isn’tfor the faint at heart but if that’s your speed we will arrange with certified guides.
- Go chasing “Waterfalls”
Across the length and breadth of Dominica are multiple waterfalls for a very Nature Island experience. Three of our easy favorite choices are Milton (Syndicate) Falls, Chaudière Pool, and Emerald Pool.
- Look out for the “Three Little Birds”
Syndicate Nature Trail within the Morne Diablotins National Park is by far one of the best places to go birdwatching and see Dominica’s indigenous parrots and many of the over 190 species of birds on the island.
- Go “Into the Deep”
We embrace all the water that comes with being at the center of the Caribbean. At the Champs, we organize the best dive excursions with our local dive shops, dive training and certification is also available. If you don’t want to dive, let’s go whale and dolphin watching. Dominica is the whale watching, capital of the Caribbean.
- Lounge next to “Castles made of Sand”
Yes, Dominica has beaches, actually, Portsmouth and surroundings have some of the island’s best beaches. Let our team put together a beach picnic and drive you to Coconut Beach, Picard Beach, Purple Turtle Beach, or Toucarie Beach. All are within 5 to 15 minutes of The Champs.
- Let that “Pony Run”
Exploring Dominica by horse sounds like fun. Take a guided horseback tour along historic forest trails in the Cabrits National Park and end your ride on the beach into the water.
- The lake is boiling “Hot, Hot, Hot”
Dominica is home to the world’s second-largest Boiling Lake. The six-hour guided hike through Valley of Desolation takes you along unique terrains to a world wonder that will take your breath away.
- We are a welcoming “Famalay”
There are so many things to do in Dominica we can’t list them all, but our knowledgeable staff are here to help you find something to suit your tastes, just ask.
The second part of this daytrip includes the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site – Emerald Falls – but lets not forget from last week that after the hike to Salton Falls lunch is now in order.
Turn right out of Salton Falls and after about 2 minutes driving a straight road you will arrive at Pond Casse roundabout. You take the second exit/go straight across it and after about another 3 minutes you will see Zeb Zepis Bistro on your right.
Zeb Zepis Bistro
We’re big fans of this restaurant – a mixture of French and Creole influences; some really delicious and creative locally sourced food. Cash or local cheques only. Closed Mondays.
After lunch you can turn right out of the restaurant and head towards Emerald Falls; you will see a road that turns to your left and the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Emeralf Falls is after on your left, well signposted. But before you get there you will come across a vegetable and fruit stall on the left side of the road known as the Farmacy, the proprietor of which will no doubt introduce you to a fruit or vegetable you’ve never heard of.
Emerald Falls is part of the Morne Trois Pitons National Park. You can buy a one time entrance ticket for $14ECD or $5USD of pay for a week’s pass to many other sites on the island for $33ECD or about $12USD. The path is well paved and walks gently round and down to the beautiful pool and fall of about 50 feet/15 feet.
Emerald Falls and pool
The approach to Emerald Falls
There are a few curio shops at the entrance you may want to check out on your way out. You simply drive back the way you came to The Champs Hotel. We will be waiting to hear all about it. You may wish to stop at the beautiful Mero Beach on your way home if you have time and fancy another swim (you can swim in both Emerald and Salton pools), or just wait for a swim at our pool with a cocktail from the bar.
We can tell you about Mero beach in another blog sometime…