Part of the Windward Islands, Dominica was French until 1763, becoming a British colony in 1805 before gaining independence in 1978.

While it’s wonderful to visit at any time of year, the raucous Mas Domink carnival celebrations take place in the days before Ash Wednesday, while Independence Day on 3rd November celebrates creole culture and the Annual World Creole Music Festival also takes island life by storm in the autumn.

The capital Roseau showcases local heritage at the Old Mill Cultural Centre and the Dominica Museum, while the 40-acre Botanical Gardens dates from 1891. Meanwhile, the Kalinago Barana Aute shares the traditions and history of the Kalinago people. The main performing arts theatre is the Arawak House of Culture.

Available watersports include boat trips and dolphin watching, while it’s also a good place to go hiking. Dominica is home to Boiling Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the world’s second biggest hot spring. You’ll also find lush rainforests, and other natural attractions such as Emerald Pool waterfall and Indian River.

While most islanders have a grasp of English, French creole is the language that’s spoken most widely. French is taught in schools.

Cuisine is traditional Caribbean. This includes saltfish, vegetables like yams and brown chicken stew.

There’s a wide choice of accommodation, from luxury hotels to private villas, cabanas (apartments) and small guesthouses, much of it outside the main towns.

Having a car helps, but local buses provide a good service. Best of all, Dominica is one of the safest places in the region.