We know it’s crazy, but the grueling hike to the Boiling Lake didn’t stop us from exploring more of Dominica’s trails. We wanted to experience what Dominica boasts as the first long distance walking trail in the Carribbean – the 115-mile Waitakabuli Trail. It was too ambitious to hike the entire trail given the time we had but, fortunately, it is divided into 14 manageable segments, which give hikers a choice of the length and difficulty of the hike, as well as the kind of terrain and sceneries one would like to see along the way.
We chose to hike Segment 6, which offers picturesque coastal sceneries andl the opportunity to experience the way of life of Dominica’s indigenous people – the Carib Indians or Kalinago.
The name Waitakabuli (“Tall is her body.”) is the original name given to Dominica by the Caribs when they first inhabited the island more than 600 years ago. It means “tall is her body” which alludes to the island’s mountainous terrain. Less imaginative, Christopher Columbus named the island Dominica after the day of the week he discovered it – a Sunday (Dominica in Latin).
The trail meanders between the coastal forest and Carib villages. This is the first village we hiked through in the Carib Territory, the home to about 3,800 Caribs who call themselves Kalinago. Carib was the name given to them by the Europeans.
This Kalinago man offered us mangoes freshly picked from the trees in his backyard and told us to feel free to pick as much of them from the tree ourselves. We only took one mango each as we didn’t want to carry extra weight. We regretted not taking more after we ate them – they tasted divine!
Back on the forest trail, we were faced with unexpected demanding path. The trail is rated moderate but there were very steep parts that were difficult to climb up and down because they were vey slippery and eroded from the previous rain. The trail was well marked, well, for the most part. We got lost once and found ourselves in a treacherous path.
It rained hard as we were approaching the next village. The locals advised us not to proceed to the next forest trail and to stay on the village roads instead. It was our instinct as well. We could just imagine how much more slippery and treacherous the forest trail had become.
Some of the wild banana trees growing on the roadside. They’re free for everyone to pick. Aside from bananas, there are also a lot of wild mangoes and breadfruit trees along the road. A local told us that in Dominica people won’t go hungry even if they don’t have money.
Kalinago women demonstrating basket weaving.
Keith with Stanford, a Kalinago man who showed us around Kalinago Barana Aute. Next to them is a traditional sugar cane crasher.
I hope you enjoyed hiking the Carib/Kalinago Territory with us.
- To learn more about Waitakabuli National Trail and its segments, go to waitukubulitrail.com.
- To learn more about Carib/Kalinago Territory visit kalinagoterritory.com.
Linking to Travel Photo Thursday.