The Boiling Lake is located 5 miles (8km) east of Roseau in the heart
of Morne Trois Pitons National Park.
The first recorded sighting of the Lake was in 1870 by Mr. Watt and
Dr. Nicholls, two Englishmen working in Dominica at that time. In 1875,
Mr. H. Prestoe, a government botanist, and Dr. Nicholls were commissioned
to investigate this natural phenomenon. They measured the water temperature
and found it to range from 180 to 197 degrees Fahrenheit (82 - 91.5 Celsius)
along the edges, but could not measure the temperature at the centre where
the Lake is actively boiling. They recorded the depth to be greater than
A later report indicated that apparently the water level of the lake
dropped and a geyser developed in the lake's centre. The geyser spewed
water and mud to 60ft (18m) and higher, building a pumice cone at its
base and filling the bottom of the lake. A photograph taken in 1895 when
the Boiling Lake was 'dry' showed the water level 30-50 feet below the
water line. In April 1988, the lake stopped boiling. intermittently, and
the level dropped by 29 feet. It has since returned to its normal conditions.
Today the Lake appears like a cauldron of bubbling greyish-blue water
that is usually enveloped in a cloud of vapour. The lake is approximately
200ft (63m) across and its present depth is unknown. The side of the lake
are a mixture of clay, pumice and small stones.
It is believed that the Lake is actually a flooded fumarole, a crack
through which gases escape from the molten lava below, rather than a volcanic
crater. The natural basin of the Boiling Lake collects the rainfall from
the surrounding hills and from two small streams which empty into the
lake. The water seeps through the porous bottom to the hot lava below
where it is trapped and heated to boiling point.
The Lake is reached by a 2-4 hour walk from the village of Laudat.
What The Walk is really like
Valley of Desolation
The Valley of Desolation is crossed en route to the Boiling Lake. What
was once a lush forested area appears now to be devoid of life. The floor
of the Valley is covered with mosses and lichens, and scattered around
are grasses and the yellow and white flowered Bromeliad, Pitcairnia
spicata var. sulpurea.
The harsh environment of the Valley has limited the wildlife to lizards,
cockroaches, stoneflies, mayflies and ants.
Scattered throughout the purple-gren valley floor are brightly coloured
hot springs. The greys, blues, blacks, greens, yellow, browns and oranges
are the result of minerals from the water which have been deposited on
the stream beds. Some of the rocks are also covered with yellow sulphur
crystals. Hot boiling mud, mini-geysers and fumaroles are scattered in
the Valley. The water from the Boiling Lake and Valley of Desolation flows
into Victoria Falls and River Blanc (White River) and enters the Atlantic
Ocean near Delice.
Unfortunately a large landslide in 1995 covered what was the best hot
spot on the island - a part of the falls where hot water met the
cold water of the falls. I understand there is still some hot
water accessible. Nearby, Papillote
has a small 'spa'.
This one is underwater! Located about three miles south of Roseau, there
is a large area just off the beach where vents allow bubbles of hot water
into the sea.
The spot is at the far end of a pebbly beach, about a mile south
of the village of Pointe Michel.
Notable in that the source of the river is the Boiling Lake itself,
which gives the river its tint and name. It also has the spectacular Victoria
The river reaches the coast near the south eastern village of Delices;
the waterfall is accessible from the same road. Ask in the village for
A few miles up the river from the coast, near a single-lane bridge,
is a great spot where a hot spring meets the river.
The bridge is a few hundred yards beyond a construction site
for a new hotel.
Many 'bubbling pots' and hot water pools make this village a
Besides the one shown, Tia's Bamboo Cottages and Ti Kwen Glo Cho and Screw's Sulphur Spa
have all created pools where you can bathe in the natural hot waters.
Nearby in Trafalgar, Papillote Wilderness Retreat has some amazing hot and cold pools, two in view of a gorgeous on-site waterfall.
One can walk across the valley to Trafalgar. Wotten Waven
can be reached by bus from Roseau (the bus stop to both
there and Trafalgar is near the police station).
1994 saw the sulphur at Soufriere catch fire
Sulphur on fire seen at night.
This mini 'Valley of Desolation' is the source for a hot stream, around
which has been built a well-organised picnic spot, where you can
also bathe in the stream. A stone pool has been constructed and
filled with water from the hot stream. Changing and wash-rooms
are also on site. Site user fees
are applicable when visiting the Soufriere Hot Springs.
to get there: As one comes into the village, take
the first left. The road leads to this spot - follow the signposts.
There is also a 'hot spot' in the sea, just in front of the Soufriere
Hot water bubbling up from the sand is cooled by the sea's waves flowing
in over the stone wall, creating a perfect soaking temperature.
Morne Aux Diables
At the northern tip of the island is this mountain, another
dormant volcano, and in it's verdant crater there are more sulphuric
This can be reached from either side - Tan Tan, just north of
Portsmouth or Vielle Case on the east.
Other Hot sites