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Commonwealth of Dominica

Why Go: Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic) is a secret oasis known as the nature island. It’s located halfway along the Eastern Caribbean archipelago and boasts tropical rainforests, rivers, waterfalls, and volcanoes. International flights from North America and Europe fly through Caribbean hubs like Barbados and Puerto Rico. A trip here is for the more adventurous traveler.

What to Do: Dominica is known for having some of the best diving in the Caribbean, plus secret oases like the Emerald Pool, named for it’s lush green color, which is located in the middle of the rain forest. Four sea turtle species lay their eggs along Dominica’s shores, and although the mating and hatching season is over by December, it’s still possible to spot a huge leatherback taking a leisurely swim.

Where to stay: Rosalie Bay, a family-owned eco resort built by hand over a nine-year period, sits 45 minutes from the capital city, Roseau. It’s hidden among the foothills of the Morne Trois Pitons on 22 acres right where the Atlantic Ocean and Rosalie River intersect. The resort’s restaurant, Zamaan, serves dishes made with fresh ingredients from their garden. If you want to venture out, locals recommend Papillote Rainforest Restaurant. It’s open to the public for lunch and dinner, set in the middle of the rainforest, and serves Creole-style island food.

Christmas Family Vacation Ideas

Just because you’re traveling with the kids doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style or sophistication.