The Caribbean. Just saying those two words evokes images of paradise, beaches, beauty, and vacation. These islands are everyone’s idea of a dream holiday and with good reason. You may think you know all the hotspots, but there’s at least one you've likely overlooked. Dominica, commonly confused with the Dominican Republic, is a blissful Caribbean paradise smack dab in the middle of two popular vacation gems, Guadeloupe and Martinique. If you're trying to escape the crowds and have a fervor for adventure, these pictures will make you want to add Dominica to your travel plans asap.

Trafalgar Falls

Dominica is a waterfall wonderland and one of the most impressive natural sights is Trafalgar Falls. The twin falls are nicknamed Father and Mother, the taller of the two being the masculine figure and the gentler lower falls representing the mother. You can swim in the pools, just be careful climbing the wet rocks and be sure to arrive early to avoid the crowds. You don’t need a tour guide to explore so feel free to bypass the locals trying to sell you their services.

Emerald Pool

A quick wander through the jungle and you'll likely end up at the foot of a emerald pool with a small waterfall gushing into it. It looks like a scene straight from a fairytale in which you'd expect to see a unicorn dash past or a gnome hop from one rock to the next. Rub your eyes all you want, you’re not dreaming!

A photo posted by JoséDaniel (@jotade3) on

Scotts Head

The southernmost spot on the island, Scotts Head is the ultimate lookout spot. Clammer up the small hill where the tiniest sliver of land overlooks the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other. After you enjoy the views, take a dip snorkeling or diving. The visibility is excellent, the coral abundant, and the marine life phenomenal.

A photo posted by sarah lee (@hisarahlee) on

Titou Gorge

A series of naturally formed "rooms" and spaces, Titou Gorge is a cool swimming hole formed by molten lava. Bathed in a canopy of green, you'll reach a waterfall you can dive or jump from (but be careful of those slippery rocks again). When you need a break, a natural hot spring awaits near the entrance to warm up.

A photo posted by Ryan (@drewbee30) on

Boiling Lake

Take an adventurous but strenuous hike up to the second largest boiling lake in the world. Thanks to a huge crack in the earth, hot gases continuously vent out from the buried lava below. Geysers, steam, and sulphur rivers flow through the ridges and mountains, which make this jaunt exciting (and spectacular for photos), but not for the faint of heart. A guide is required as well as proper attire.

A photo posted by Liz Devine (@liz_devine) on

Screw’s Sulphur Spa

An incredible sulphur spa concealed deep in the jungle, Screw's spa is not anything like a normal spa experience. Run by a local rasta man, don't expect modernity, luxury or creature comforts, but that’s exactly what makes it one of the best spas you'll likely ever visit in your life. What looks like dirty bath water is actually orange pools of sulfur canopied by thick trees in varying temperatures. Whether you believe they have magical healing properties or not, you'll leave feeling refreshed and one with nature.

Sari Sari Falls

You won’t find these falls in a guidebook. Hidden behind the village of La Plaine, grab a local guide (don’t worry, they'll find you) and get ready for a harrowing walk along the edge of a mountainside. It's not an easy hike over slippery boulders, as one false step and you could end up downstream. Word is it's even more challenging since the last hurricane, but we think the adventure is worth it. You can hardly swim up the waters are so powerful!

Champagne Beach

Another secret we're divulging that you also won't find in a guidebook. Ever wanted to swim in a glass of champagne? Here’s your chance. Grab your snorkel because the volcanic activity under the ocean floor create these awesome little champagne bubbles that dance around you. Schools of marine life swim by undeterred as you take in the tornado and flurry of activity.

A photo posted by Keith (@teleportcity) on

How to Do It

To properly explore Dominica, you’ll need a car with four wheel drive like a Jeep. The roads were made for about one and half cars, are not in the best condition, and at times, you may want to get a bit more adventurous and go off the beaten path (always encouraged). Make sure to note the cruise schedules as they'll crowd up the beaches and attractions. It's not a well-known destination so hotels and tours don't typically sell out. Feel free to explore on a whim. Similarly, since there's not a whole lot of tourist infrastructure, you'll likely need to buy or bring your own snorkel and fins (no rental kiosks here).