Located in the Saint John Parish, the vibrant town of Portsmouth served as the capital of Dominica until 1760.xa0 Most visitors use the town as a base for exploring the national park where the ruins of an 18th-century fort are surrounded by volcanoes and swamp, with coral reefs for diving offshore and jungle hiking trails leading through the undergrowth. Boat trips leave for tropical outings on the Indian River as well as off the coast to scuba dive and go whale watching.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Portsmouth is a perfect destination for scuba divers and nature lovers.
- Visit on a Tuesday, Friday, or Saturday to graze the popular farmers’ market for fresh produce and foods.
- Choose among the many professional outfits in town to book a whale-watching tour.
How to Get There
Portsmouth is located on Dominica’s northwest coast, on Prince Rupert Bay, about a 45-minute drive from the island’s main airport and about an hour from Roseau along the Edward Oliver Leblanc Highway.
When to Get There
The peak tourist season in Dominica runs from December through April, when the temperature is pleasant and the humidity low. The rainy season which lasts from June to November should be avoided since storms can be quite intense, especially in September and October when the chance for a hurricane is likely. For whale-watching, visit between November through May when sightings are most common.
*Whale-Watching Capital of the Caribbean Dominica's underwater drop-offs along the island’s western coast create the perfect feeding grounds for some six species of cetaceans. Incredibly, 22 of the 33 Caribbean species have been spotted here, including melon head whales, pilot whales, false killer whales, and humpback whales. In fact, Dominica is the only place in the world where sperm whales may be seen year-round.