Dominica's Hot Water

Dozens of sulphur springs, bubbling pots and the famous Boiling Lake - wherever you are on the island, there's never a bit of hot water or volcanic activity far away! You may even catch the smell of sulphur in the wind...

Boiling Lake | Valley of Desolation | Trafalgar |
| Wotten Waven | Champagne | White River |
| Layou River | Soufriere | Morne Aux Diables

 


 

 

Volcano World says of Dominica:

The island... consists mostly of breccias, domes, pyroclastic flows, and lavas derived and erupted from at least seven volcanic centers. There have been no historic eruptions on the island. However, in 1880, there was a steam blast in the Valley of Desolation. Four solfataric areas, including the famous Boiling Lake, remain active.

Related Links

Dominica's Hot Water

The Boiling Lake

The 1880 Eruption

Geology of Dominica

Get your Boiling Lake T-Shirt!

Boiling Lake Guestbook

Boiling Lake Slideshow

Boeri Lake

Freshwater Lake


Boiling Lake

Boiling Lake

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 195ft (59m).

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

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.

Trafalgar Falls

That redish bit in the background is the hot part

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'.

Champagne

This could also be the inside of my stomach...

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.

White River

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 Falls.

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 guide.

Layou River

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.

Wotten Waven

Many 'bubbling pots' and hot water pools make this village a great spot.

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).

Soufriere

Soufriere Sulphur Deposits
1994 saw the sulphur at Soufriere catch fire
 1994 saw a small lava flow at Soufriere
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.

How 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 Church.

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.
 Hot Pool in the Sea


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 springs.

This can be reached from either side - Tan Tan, just north of Portsmouth or Vielle Case on the east.


Other Hot sites

 


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