If I had to choose a happy country, I would choose Dominica. From the moment we landed on this emerald island, the air felt lighter. People here have discovered the recipe for enjoying life to the fullest. All the locals we encountered, such as the guides and drivers, treated us as if they had known us forever, especially the staff at the Purple Turtle Beach Bar.

Dominica is one of the few islands that still has an indigenous population of about 3,000. They are rightfully proud of their land and their beautiful flag, which features the Imperial parrot, an amazing bird endemic to Dominica. I could go on and on forever. They have a river for each day of the year and nine active volcanoes. Their highest volcano is “as tall as it can be,” which is the meaning of its name in the Kalinago language: Waitukubuli.

Once under French then British control, Dominica finally became independent in 1978. It is an island of free people with a strong sense of identity. They drink a red beverage made of a hibiscus flower, and grow bananas, citrus fruits, coconut, cacao, yam, taro, papaya, breadfruit, and so much more.  As our guide said, the land is so fertile, that if you plant a person, it will grow as well.

All our guests joined in the morning walk through the rainforest on the Syndicate Trail. In the afternoon we explored Fort Shirley and swam at Purple Turtle Beach. Back on board we had a Caribbean feast dinner on the Lido Deck, our hearts filled by the day’s immersion in Dominica’s rich culture.