My Favorite Small Outfitters, Ken’s Hinterland Adventure Tours, Dominica
Unlike the rest of the Caribbean, the attraction in Dominica is not the beach, but a lush mountainous interior ripe with every tropical fruit and vegetable imaginable and inundated with so much water that around every bend is another raging waterfall, a serene swimming hole nestled in the thick bush, or a hidden hot spring to rest your weary body after a day in the outdoors. Indeed, this island closest to Martinique has become an affordable haven for the active traveler who yearns to hike through a jungle-like forest. My guide for a week of treks into the interior was Kent Augiste of Ken’s Hinterland Adventure Tours. The highlight was a 7-hour round-trip hike inside Morne Trois Pitons National Park to the crater known as Boiling Lake. We hiked through a dense forest of tall gommier trees, staring at the iridescent purple-throated hummingbirds as they kept us company. Afterwards, we lounged in the natural hot spring at Papillote Wilderness Retreat. Owner Anne Jno Baptiste first came to the island from the States in 1961. Eight years later, she bought a 7-acre chunk of land enveloped by the rainforest that she would cultivate into a flower-rich botanical garden and one of the Caribbean’s first eco-resorts.