What makes an island in the Caribbean the best? Is it the food, the people, the sights, the beaches, or the value? According to Travel + Leisure, and their 165,000 readers, all the previous components make for the ideal vacation.
T+L conducts the World’s Best Awards yearly by surveying their readers about their vacation experiences worldwide. Over 685,000 votes were cast, ranking different aspects as excellent, above average, average, below average, or poor.
And although there are so many reasons to love the Caribbean islands, there can only be one recipient in the number one spot, which went to Dominica.
This 29 miles long, soon-to-be very popular island is the ultimate place of ease. Over the past few years, the Caribbean island has drawn in visitors with its focus on wellness, sustainability, and nature.
Here’s why Dominica should be on your bucket list of places to visit.
1. The nature
Dominica is known as the nature island. This commonwealth country has one of the most diverse landscapes in the Caribbean.
It has nine volcanos, black sand beaches, and the world’s second-largest boiling lake. In addition to these bodies of water, visitors can enjoy a tranquil boat ride along one of the island’s 365 rivers. While floating along the river, you can spot many birds, iguanas, and crabs along the banks.
Cradling the rivers and lakes, you’ll also find lush mountain ranges. The island is also home to mountain Morne Diablotin, the Caribbean’s highest mountain peak.
2. The friendly people
The friendly people of Dominica make up a mixture of indigenous, local, and expat communities.
The primary language is English, but you will also hear Creole ( a mixed language of English, French, and African).
Although more visitors are coming to the island, the local culture embraces and recognizes cultural traditions. The Kalinago people were the island’s first inhabitants and still live there today. They offer tourists handmade crafts and allow visitors to observe their traditional festivals, rituals, and dances.
3. Focus on sustainability
If you’re a conscious traveler and want to help preserve the environment, visiting Dominica can help you do so.
The island has banned single-use plastics and the use of Styrofoam. Along with this, many eco-lodges and hotels prioritize water conservation and make ongoing efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.
4. Range of activities
Whether you’re an adrenaline junky, a culture seeker, or someone who wants to relax on the beach with a good book, there are activities for you on the island.
One of Dominica’s biggest attractions is whale watching. The waters surrounding the island are frequented by sperm whales and dolphins year-round.
If you prefer exploring below the water, Dominica’s coral reefs are a paradise for any scuba diver and snorkeler.
5. The food
When you think about a tropical island, it’s hard not to imagine the taste of fresh fruit. Dominica has a variety of tropical fruits you can enjoy for breakfast or a mid-day snack. The island’s top-ranking fruits include mangoes, butter papayas, pineapples, bananas, and sweet guavas.
Walk by any market stall to try one of these vibrant fruits.
If you’re in the mood for something savory, the island people can offer you their national dish, Callaloo. It is a hearty and leafy soup of different greens and root vegetables mixed with coconut milk.
If you’re more daring with your appetite, you can try the island’s Agouti, meat from a large rodent similar to a guinea pig. The preparation of this meal transforms the dish from questionable to tasty. The dish is slowly prepared as a meat stew with curried sauces, vegetables, bonnet pepper, and garlic.
Because of the island’s volcanos, the beaches of the island have unique characteristics, such as bubbling water and black sand.
But what makes Dominica beaches so attractive is the diversity. The island has white, black, and brown sand beaches.
Depending on which beach you go to, you can get seclusion or entertainment, such as nightly concerts.
7. The cost
The island is accessible to travelers of all different budgets. For those with a low budget, the average cost for two people is around $54 a night for accommodations, along with around $15 a person for meals and around $6 a person for transportation.
Many free activities, such as hiking and beach dwellings, won’t burn a hole in your wallet.
For those with a mid-range budget, the average accommodation cost for two people is $133 a night. The daily cost of food is about $27, and daily transportation costs about $23.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com