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Boiling Lake in the Valley of Desolation is the second-largest solfatara in Dominica

Largely rural, uncrowded and unspoiled, Dominica touts itself as a 'non-tourist destination' for divers, hikers and naturalists - partly because it lacks those white-sand beaches so favored by holidaymakers to the Caribbean. The island's main attractions working up a sweat.

It has a lush mountainous interior of rainforests, waterfalls, lakes, hot springs and more than 200 rivers, many of which cascade over steep cliff faces en route to the coast. The only real way to experience this fabulous terrain is to pull on your hiking boots and start walking.

Apart from its natural splendours, including the highest mountains in the Eastern Caribbean, the island has an interesting fusion of British, French and West Indian cultural traditions, and is home to the Eastern Caribbean's largest Carib Indian community.

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