Isulukati Falls, Kalinago Barana Autê, Kalinago Territory, DominicaA waterfall in the Carib village of Kalinago Barana Aute.

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.

Waitakabuli Trail, Segment 6, Kalinago Territory, DominicaThe 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).

Waitakabuli Trail, Segment 6, Kalinago Territory, DominicaThe trail started in lush, verdant coastal forest.

Waitakabuli Trail, Segment 6, Kalinago Territory, DominicaWe did the hike by ourselves. We were told a guide was not necessary as the trail was well marked. We followed a blue and yellow trailblazers.

Trailblazer, Waitakabuli Trail, Segment 6, Kalinago Territory, Dominica

Waitakabuli Trail, Segment 6, Kalinago Territory, DominicaThe trail entailed several river crossings and this was the only one with a bridge.

Waitakabuli Trail, Segment 6, Kalinago Territory, DominicaThe thick forest opened up and the breathtaking Atlantic coastline came to view.

Waitakabuli Trail, Segment 6, Kalinago Territory

A House along Waitakabuli Trail, Segment 6, Kalinago Territory, DominicaThe 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.

Waitakabuli Trail, Segment 6, Kalinago Territory, DominicaA Kalinago man walking on the village road. He’s probably on the way to work.  The Kalinagos make a living mainly from farming and fishing.

Waitakabuli Trail, Segment 6, Kalinago Territory, DominicaBeautiful wild heliconias and many fruit trees grow abundantly along the roadside of the villages.

Waitakabuli Trail, Segment 6, Kalinago Territory, DominicaThis 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!

Waitakabuli Trail, Segment 6, Kalinago Territory, Dominica

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. 

Waitakabuli Trail, Segment 6, Kalinago Territory, DominicaIt 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. 

Waitakabuli Trail, Segment 6, Kalinago Territory, DominicaWe found the sights along the village road trail more interesting (and delicious) anyway.

A Kalinago house along Waitakabuli Trail, Segment 6, Kalinago Territory, DominicaWe enjoyed passing by the charming Kalinago homes, many of which are of wooden structure and often colorful.

A Kalinago house along Waitakabuli Trail, Segment 6, Kalinago Territory, Dominica

Waitakabuli Trail, Segment 6, Kalinago Territory, DominicaWe passed by a newly built canoe. Kalinagos are skilled craft people and canoe building is one of their traditional crafts.

Baskets, Kalinago Barana Autê, Kalinago Territory, DominicaKalinagos are also master weavers.  We passed by several small craft shops selling baskets and other handicrafts. Although we were the only visitors passing by, no one stop us to sell us anything. 

Children in Kalinago Territory, DominicaAdorable Kalinago children playing in front of their home. Like people in other parts of Dominica, the locals in the Carib Territory were very friendly and welcoming.

Waitakabuli Trail, Segment 6, Kalinago Territory, DominicaSome 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.

Baskets, Kalinago Barana Autê, Kalinago Territory, DominicaA small building with an art depicting Kalinago’s tradition and history.

 Kalinago Barana Autê, Kalinago Territory, Dominica,jpgOur last village stop was Kaliango Barana Aute, a model village that preserve Kalinago’s ancient culture and history.

Kalinago Barana Autê, Kalinago Territory, DominicaThe village offers a glimpse into the way of life of the early Kalinago people.

Basket Weavers, Kalinago Barana Autê, Kalinago Territory, Dominica

Kalinago women demonstrating basket weaving.

Kalinago Barana Autê, Kalinago Territory, DominicaThese statues represent all the village chiefs that served in the Kalinago territory.

Kalinago Barana Autê, Kalinago Territory, Dominica

Keith with Stanford, a Kalinago man who showed us around Kalinago Barana Aute. Next to them is a traditional sugar cane crasher.

Isulukati Falls, Kalinago Barana Autê, Kalinago Territory, Dominica Locals bathing in the Isulukati Falls, a beautiful and refershing spot to conclude our five-hour hike.

I hope you enjoyed hiking the Carib/Kalinago Territory with us.


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46 responses to “Dominica: Hiking through Carib Indian Territory

  1. Wow! You have so many great photos that I cannot come close to picking a favorite. I always like how the two of you are always up to the challenge of a good hike. This one sounds fascinating with both beautiful scenery and interesting glimpses into village life.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..The Empire of DeathMy Profile

    • Hi Michelle, thanks. There were so many hiking opportunities in Dominica that it’s so hard not to get-up and go. We really enjoyed the cultural aspect of this trail.

  2. noel

    love all the lush tropical landscape and colors, it looks a little like Hawaii minus the carribean colors

    I’m inviting you to come and link up with us for Travel Photo Mondays also for a photo carnival starting on Monday for the whole week!
    noel recently posted..Hawaii Island, Key attractions on the west sideMy Profile

    • Hi Noel, it centainly does have a little bit of Hawaiian feel.
      Thanks for the invite to your blog party. I’ll definitely look into it.

    • Hi Jackie, thanks. I’m very pleased you enjoyed the post and we were able to take you along with us.

  3. Leigh

    I am very impressed with your adventurous spirit – and your common sense. I too would have given those super slippery trails a pass – no sense with an injury in the middle of nowhere.
    Dominica looks beautiful and lush. And I would be in heaven with all that fresh fruit.
    Leigh recently posted..Hiking the Lake O’Hara Alpine Circuit in Yoho National ParkMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Leigh, we knew that going back to the trail wasn’t worth the risk. You would love Dominica, Leigh. It so lush and so raw and there are tons of hiking oppotunties.

  4. What an exciting thing to do. When you spoke of the mangoes I had a rush of taste in my mind. I love mangoes – ours ripen around October. So when we come back from Turkey and Cambodia I will be able to indulge. Hopefully they will be ripe in Cambodia as well. Yum. The kids look adorable.
    budget jan recently posted..The Recovery of Vernazza on the Cinque TerreMy Profile

    • Hi Jan, I so love mangoes, too! I keep my finger cross that they have mangoes in Cambodia right now. Enjoy your trip! Looking forward to hear your travel tales about two of my favorite countries.

  5. Although you guys encountered some “treacherous” and slippery places along your hike, this hike seems like it was a lot less strenuous than your Boiling Lakes hike. Plus, you got to enjoy delicious mangos and learn about the indigenous culture along the way. Sounds pretty awesome to me!
    Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans recently posted..Teaching English in Istanbul: Lessons in VolunteeringMy Profile

    • Hi Dana, it would have been more strenous than Boiling Lake if we kept going on the forest trail. Yes, we did really enjoy meeting the locals and to have glimpse of their culture.

  6. Wow! Looks like a place to just take things slow and enjoy life. It would be nice to take a bath at the falls. I love the photo of statues that represent the village chiefs.
    Salika Jay recently posted..Hotels With Pool Access Rooms In PhuketMy Profile

  7. Loved virtually following you guys on this trail and the villages. Beautiful pictures and narrative. Your Dominica posts really make me want to look into a land based vacation there. That one day cruise stop we had was just a teaser for all the island has to offer. Fresh fruits and handmade crafts along this route…I may never have made it to the trails :) Gorgeous waterfall pictures.
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..River Surfers, Beer and Birds at the English Garden MunichMy Profile

    • Thanks Mary. Great idea to do land tours. One day is certainly not enough. There are so many things to do and explore. We were there for a week and there were still so many things we didn’t get to do. We would like go back ourselves. I suggests to wait until the kids are bigger so they can do the more adventurous activities like canyoning. It’s a lot of fun!

  8. Marcia

    What a beautiful hike! The surroundings are lush and so colorful. It would’ve been hard to tear myself from those mangoes and coconuts.
    Good to see that Dominica has retained so much of their indigenous heritage and that there are descendants of the Kalinago still there. Sadly, we have no Tainos left in Jamaica – they all died after coming into contact with Columbus.
    Marcia recently posted..Friday Focus: Kristi KellerMy Profile

    • Hi Marcia, damn Columbus! I know, it’s sad that most indigenous people in the islands have been wiped out. I read that the maountainous terrain of Kaligano helped them escape the wrath of Columbus and his crew.

  9. so interesting! I loved every step of your walk. Thanks for taking us along. The waterfall certainly looks like refreshing. We have some a bit similar in the Kimberley of Western Australia – they really are welcome after a hot long walk. Happy travels, have a happy weekend, and thank you for stopping by my blog the other day.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Jill, so pleased you enjoyed the walk. I bet you also have all those gorgeous falls in your part of the world. They truly are a refreshing treat.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Arianwen, It really is a beautiful walk with variety of sights and terrain.

  10. Kalyan

    beautiful capture s…lovely place to be!

    • Traveling Solemates

      Thanks Kalyan. It truly is.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Thanks Alex. Glad you enjoyed it. Shooting the waterfall was quite a challenge without a tripod. We found a small ledge that helped to stabilized the camera.

  11. Dennis

    This is turning out to be a quite an active trip you guys made to Dominica! Never even heard of Waitakabuli Trail before and being an avid hiker myself, this sounds like just what I’d like to do among the many other things you’ve already done there. How nice to meet locals and getting offered free mangoes – this would have been for sale elsewhere!
    Dennis recently posted..Mohonk Mountain HouseMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      HI Dennis, the whole stretch of Waitakabuli trail only opened in Dec 2011 so a lot people have not heard about it yet. If you’re an avid hiker, Dominica is definitely the Caribbean island for you. There were a lot more trails that we were so interested to hike but didn’t have enough time to. Meeting locals was really nice and the free mangoes were memorable bonus.

  12. Bama

    I’m really enjoying your series on Dominica, Marisol! Exploring the forests, getting off the roads, all seem so exciting now as I myself have developed an unexpected enthusiasm to the wild since my latest trip to climb one of Indonesia’s highest peaks. Great photos as always!
    Bama recently posted..The Unforgiving RinjaniMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Thanks Bama, glad you enjoyed it. If you love the wilds, Dominica will be a great destination for you. I can’t wait to read about your climb!

  13. BiTi

    I love your adventures :)

    • Traveling Solemates

      Thanks BiTi, glad you so.

  14. Nature always attract me, rain forest make me crazy for visiting water falls, singing rivers, greenery everywhere and village life is ultimate.

    We cannot forget nature where we have been born and brought up, no one can deny, we must preserve nature for soothing breaths.

    thanks for sharing this great photos

    • Traveling Solemates

      Our pleasure. Thanks for the visit.

  15. Except for the look of the locals, everything reminds me of the Philippines. It’s nice you were told it’s okay not to have a guide, but wouldn’t it have been nice to have one? Not because you’d get lost, but you know, so they can earn something. That said, I would love to trek by myself too!
    Aleah | recently posted..Springtime in the Old Town Square in PragueMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hey Aleah,
      You know you made a good point but then I guess they’re the kind of people who’s not after your money. It’s probably hard to get it from the Phils. point of view, but some people here refused money we offered them for help or services they gave us. It seems like as long as they eat (and they eat without money bec food grows everywhere) then money is not of great importance.

  16. Dave

    I think these pictures taken during monsoon time, lush green jungle, rivers, waterfalls, village life that make your post very unique.
    Nature is our best friend please dont spoil this precious thing.

  17. Jean

    Looked like a wonderful hike! Thanks for sharing your journey. Could you tell me how you got back to your car or starting point? Did you just catch a bus or taxi? Can one flag them down easily?


    • Hi Jean, it truly was a wonderful hike. Our hotel arranged a car with a driver to drop us off at starting point and to pick us up at end point. There’s no taxi or bus to flag down in the area.

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