Six great festivals in Dominica

Every year there are festivals in Dominica to celebrate what makes our island special. These are six of the biggest and most spectacular events taking place in 2015 that visitors shouldn’t miss.


Taking place usually in late February or early march, this is one of the most vibrant times to visit Dominica. As well as the calypso and steel pan music that you can experience all around the Caribbean, we still celebrate our traditional music and dances with masquerad songs called Chanté mas and Lapo kabrit, which is our own form of Carnival music, performed by masequerading partygoers in a two-day parade.

Dive Fest

Dominica is known to have some of the best diving in the Caribbean, and our annual Dive Fest in early July is the oldest diving festival in the region too. Join us for special The event whale watching trips and dive packages, snorkeling picnics, canoe racing, and marine educational tours.

Dominica Festival of Arts

This is a long running festival that stretches from April to June. It’s a showcase of our rich cultural heritage, with theatre and dance, along with theatrical and dance performances, concerts, and artistic workshops geared at developing local artistic expressions.

Hike Fest

Dominica is home to the Waitakubuli trail, the longest walking route in the Caribbean. In May each year locals and international visitors take to the trails – both long and short – to enjoy our rainforests and waterfalls, birdlife and beautiful views.

Jazz ‘n Creole

Held in the unique atmosphere of the Cabrits National Park, Jazz ‘n Creole is a celebration of some of music by local and international artists. As well as the main events in the park, there are always lots of fringe events, some of which take place here at the Fort Young each year.

World Creole Music Festival

For many this is the highlight of the festival year, taking place at the end of October. It’s the largest event in the world dedicated to all forms of creole music, from zouk to zydeco, and reggae to calypso, it attracts thousands of people each time, and the stars that turn out to wow the crowds are some of the biggest names in Creole music.

The Fort Young is involved in all these events, and each year we run promotions to help you celebrate each festival in style. Check our promotions page for more information.


fort young dive dominica

Five great Dominica Diving sites

Dominica is rightly known as the best dive location in the Caribbean, and one of the best in the world. We pick five of our favourite dive site in the waters around the nature island:

 1: Dangleben’s Pinnacles

Depth: 35-80ft

Description: A fantastic maze formed from five pinnacles, covered with yellow sea fans and black coral. These cone formation are of varying shares and sizes with rocky outcroppings covered sponges, rods and crinoidsl

Fish: Jacks, tuna, longsnout seahorses, creole wrasse, yellow tail snappers, turtles, barracuda.

2: Crater’s Edge

Depth: 32-130ft

Description: A not to be missed chance to dive inside an extinct volcano cone, in waters on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.

Fish: Schools of black margate, black jack, tuna, rainbow runners, yellowtail snapper, Creole wrasse, blue and brown chromis, barracuda.

3: L’Abym (The Abyss)

Depth: from 15ft down, down, down to a mile and a half

Description: A seemingly bottomless and coral covered wall.

Fish: seahorses, soldierfish, scorpion fish, copper sweepers, mackerel, jawfish, tuna and barracuda. The occasional manta ray or turtle too.

4: Champagne

Depth: 3-80ft

Description: Champagne Reef gets its name from the bubbles produced from the underwater hot springs, known as fumaroles, and divers (or snorkellers) swim in a never ending stream of bubbles escaping from the sea floor to the surface. it’s particularly spectacular at night, when you’ll be joined by giant crabs and lobsters.

Fish: seahorses, squirrel fish, frogfish, flying gurnards, squid; huge crabs and lobsters common at night

5: Rodney’s Rock

Depth: Max 50ft

Description: A shallow dive with patches of sand and seagrass that provides some of the best chances to discover a wealth of underwater creatures, from seahorses to snake eels.

Fish: Seahorses, frogfish, spiny and slipper lobster, crabs, morays, urchins, sea cucumbers, stingrays, spotted snake eels, batfish, grunts and snapper.

Diving while staying at the Fort Young couldn’t be easier. We have our own fully equipped dive shop on site; and the dive boats leave direct from our own jetty next to the restaurants each day.

We always have a range of dive packages available, such as the All Inclusive Dive Package, the 5 Night Dive Package, and the 7 night dive package.

Fort Young staff dance to Pharrell's Happy

#HappyDominica: Fort Young releases Dominica’s first video version of Pharrell’s Happy

In recent months Pharrell’s song ‘Happy’ has become a global mega-hit song and spawned hundreds of versions from destinations around the world as far flung as New Caledonia, Madagascar and Paris. And with the release today of the Fort Young’s own version, the craze has now reached Dominica.

The video has been posted on Youtube and shared on social media with the hashtag #HappyDominica, encouraging people to share what makes them happy about the island, and thus spread the happiness even further. For us at Fort Young this video is a celebration of our staff, with everyone from receptionists to chef, security guards to the maintenance team taking part.

Of course any opportunity to dance will always reveal who has the best moves, and our Happy video is no exception. Have a look at the film and you’ll see that while everyone displays great rhythm and joy, some of the team stand out: in particular maintenance technician Alexis, who can be seen wining in slow motion, and Elvis Prosper, the security host who breakdances his way through the video. Even our Executive Chairman Gregor Nassief gets in on the act, showing he’s a mover and a shaker on the island in more than just business. “The Fort Young team loves what they do and we wanted to find a fun and exciting way to bring out that passion for us to celebrate and for everyone to see,” explained Gregor Nassief. “Happy employees leads to happy customers – it’s contagious.”

The video is also a wonderful showcase for some of the hotel’s recent refurbishment, with the action taking place in some of our most celebrated locations, from the new fine dining Palisades restaurant to the private waterfall and iconic jetty more often used for guests heading off on diving trips or wedding photos. Viewers are also taken behind the scenes with some rarely seen shots from inside the laundry, offices and kitchens. “Given the amount of time work takes from our lives, we had better be happy and passionate about what we do!,” explains Avril Karam who is HR Manager and the driving force behind the creation of Fort Young;s Happy Video. “This was the perfect project to highlight that and the staff were absolutely fantastic from start to finish. This is really just the beginning as we aim to create and sustain this happy culture at the Fort Young.”

We’d love to know what you think, and help us spread some #HappyDominica vibes around the world by sharing the video or letting everyone know your own #HappyDominica moments on twitter or facebook.

deluxe oceanfront rooms with views of ocean and sunset

The Fort Young rebrands hotel and launches new website

Delux Oceanfront-800x500

One thing that has never changed is our view of the ocean…

How do you retell a tale that started several hundred years ago, draws together the best of this island, and that’s also a story of success today and a vision for tomorrow? And how do you do this at every scale, ranging from developing new services and amenities (and renaming several of them); building a new website that better reflects the breadth of what we have to offer; to creating a new logo, typeface and colour scheme?

That was the the size of the challenge facing us as a few months ago as we set out to rebrand Dominica’s best known heritage hotel. It’s been quite a journey, and one that has reminded us how proud we are of the Fort Young’s key place on this island. And this is why today, as we officially launch our new brand, we’d like to share a few of the highlights with you.

Building on our unique heritage


watching the sun set over our jetty is a magical experience… every day

To start with, we’ve always been lucky enough to have a restaurant and bar with the best sunset views of the ocean from their terraces. At the heart of this relaunch was a commitment to protect these wonderful treasures, while also making the most of them so that our friends and guests could really appreciate what they have to offer. Because as well as the food and the views, these two establishments embody our history, built into the very walls that once protected the fort, its inhabitants and the island from invasion.

We have renamed the Waterfront restaurant the Palisades – the old French word for the original wooden fortifications that stood where our walls now do. And downstairs, the Boardwalk bar is now Warners – named in honour of Thomas ‘Indian’ Warner, the son of an English colonialist and a Carib woman; and who as governor of Dominica from 1664 defended our island against the French and English throughout his time in charge.


Our new menus combine Caribbean classics with international flair

We’ve done much more than just change their names. We’ve kept all that everyone loves about these terraces, while bringing them both right up to date by completely refreshing the decor throughout. We’ve enhanced the menus upstairs and downstairs with new mouthwatering dishes. And we’ve launched some weekly events so everyone can share in what these two places have to offer – on Mondays we’ve now a Caribbean buffet, we chill it down on with Unwine Wednesday for a grill and mellow entertainment, while Friday is all about Cocktails and Conversations.

Unfolding extraordinary paths


Unwind at the Zemi spa in the capable hands of one of our wellness team

Furthermore, if you wander up and around the fort’s passages through the hotel, you’ll keep on discovering the many ways our new brand reflects our island’s story. You can ease your cares away at the waterfront spa, now named Zemi – after the nature spirits and idols that were worshipped by the pre-Colombian peoples of Dominica. The gym is now The Compass – because so many guests tell us how they love working out while fixing their gaze on the vast sea view from its windows. And if you’re with us for business, you might consider the significance of gathering company and clients in our main meeting room – which also happens to be the largest on the island. It’s now called the Vault – not only because of its exclusivity and privacy, but also because this is the room where the Fort’s gunpowder was once stored.

fort young diving

Step off the Jetty an into an underwater world as beautiful as anywhere on Earth

Throughout the process of rebranding, we have endeavoured to reflect how the Fort Young has always been at the centre of island life for business, leisure and adventure. It’s a tradition that continues thrilling our guests today, whether they are dropping by for a cocktail after work; flying in family and friends for a wedding overlooking the ocean; making the most of our unparalleled access to both the reefs and the rainforest; or simply escaping the rat race for a few days of pampering by the sea.

After all, where can you dive or whale watch from the hotel’s own jetty in the morning; take a drive into the rainforest with the in-house activity team after lunch; and still be back in time to watch the sun set with a cocktail at the bar?

The answer is right here. At the Fort Young. ‘The Key to Dominica’.