Dominica is home to the second largest Boiling Lake in the world after Frying Pan Lake in New Zealand. It's actually a flooded fumarole filled with bubbling grey-blue water, which emits a continuous stream of steam and gas that is forced up by volcanic activity nearby. It’s an incredible sight, and it’s located just 6.5 miles from Dominica's capital, Roseau.
George Fein recently did the "difficult rated" trek up and down the mountains and through The Valley of Desolation to reach Boiling Lake and back in 6 1/2 hours. He summed it up with one simple thought, "It's a pretty brutal hike, but more than worth it."
First, he strongly recommends you don't even think about doing it without a guide. Luckily, George had Elvis, a native Dominican, who estimates that he has done over 200 hikes to Boiling Lake. The path can be treacherous in places, so you’ll want to make sure you have experience and some good hiking footwear on your side. Plus, the escaping steam close to the lake can burn you so make sure you watch where you’re going every step of the way. With so much to see, it’s easy to get distracted.
Next, prepare for a long journey. George said it took a pretty decent pace and a couple of 20-minute breaks to finish it in 6 ½ hours. However, rumor has it hikers once completed the entire trip in 2 ½ hours. Plan on going early in the day or you’ll be asking for trouble. And ensure you are properly hydrated and ready for a hike that goes up and down several mountains along the way. While the trail is marked, there are steep areas where you'll need to navigate the rocks and terrain (George found himself going down "crab style" for some of the steeper areas).
Some of the sights you'll see along the way:
-Sulfur springs and hot pools
-Native parrots hanging out within feet of the path
-A stream in The Valley of Desolation where you can literally boil an egg
George's boiled egg is ready to eat
If you can work up the nerve, the hike to Boiling Lake is one of the most unique sites you'll ever visit. As George says, "Absolutely stunning views. It's way more beautiful than I thought it was going to be – and I thought it would be really beautiful."