Dominica is a hotbed of the weird and wonderful things that nature has to offer. One of the most striking examples is this mineral-rich sea that fizzes like a vat of champagne due to volcanic gasses bubbling up from thermal springs on the seabed. While most tourists will experience this spectacular phenomenon—not to mention the plethora of colourful coral and sea life that it nourishes—by snorkelling or diving off at Champagne Reef, locals tend to head a little further south, to Bubble Beach in the village of Soufriere.
Run by Dale Mitchell, a Soufriere local who often goes by “Mr. Bubble,” the waters here offer the same fizzing wonder as Champagne Reef, but with added bonuses. Mitchell fashioned natural baths in the shallow parts of the sea, using rocks and sandbags to mark out the best areas to sit and maintain some of the potent heat of the springs. Depending on the tide, different spots in these baths range from pleasantly warm to almost unbearably hot. At most times of day, you can find local people of all ages (plus some fish and small crabs) in these baths, relaxing and enjoying the many supposed health benefits of the waters. They’ve been credited with everything from easing joint pain to preventing the itch of mosquito bites. Swim out in the deeper water to cool off and see various fish, corals and bubbles. Full-face masks, snorkels and flippers are available to rent on the beach.
The excellently-maintained sandy beach features a bar with homemade rum punches, local beer and soft drinks served by Dale himself. Try his bush rum for a taste of the amazing Dominican-grown spices. It is a fantastic place to sit and enjoy the view of Scott’s Head, the tombolo at the southwest tip of the island where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. There is also a shaded area; changing rooms; sun-loungers for rent; a photo bench; and a massage bungalow. It is directly in front of St. Mark’s, one of the oldest and prettiest churches on the island decorated in red, blue, and yellow.
Bubble Beach is an important hub for village life and is especially popular around sunset, when there is often food available. On Sundays, Mitchell often cooks up a big lunch for the many Soufriere residents who come together after church. Arrive before 2 p.m. if you want some food!
Bubble Beach Spa is publicly accessible and free to use. However, it is recommended to put some money in the donation box, and spend generously at the bar if you can. This is a local man’s business that had to be rebuilt from total destruction after Hurricane Maria in 2017.
Know Before You Go
Take the local bus from Roseau to Soufriere. Ask to be dropped off near Bubble Beach or if the driver does not know it, ask for the village church. Follow the first turning right (towards the sea and the visible tower of the church) when you enter the village, and there is a sign for Bubble Beach at the end of the road, instructing you to turn right again.
Bubble Beach is open at all times of day; if nobody is there and you want something, call Mr Bubble's number which is written on the bar.
Remember to bring some cash for the donation box (as well as the bar and equipment rental).