Hiking down the Boiling Lake trail in Laudat. *Jungle Bay Resort & Spa photo

Discover Dominica Authority, Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association and the Ministry of Tourism is giving hiking and outdoor lovers around the world more reasons to explore “the Nature Island” next month, when they host their 3rd annual Hike Fest in May.

This year, the festival will highlight the upcoming Waitukubuli National Trail.

Upon completion, it will be the first and only walking trail that traverses the entire island.

The Waitukubuli National Trail will run from the north to the south, with a distance of 115 miles.

The trail will be divided into 14 different segments, with levels varying from easy family hikes to longer and more challenging hikes. Each trail offers breathtaking views of Dominica’s unspoiled nature, pristine waterfalls and lush rainforests.

Director of Tourism and Chief Executive Officer of Discover Dominica Authority Colin Piper says Hike Fest is becoming one of Dominica’s key events, and is an integral part of our overall marketing strategy to target specific niche markets, and attract special interest groups.

“It also gives us the opportunity to proudly showcase our destination and demonstrate our commitment to maintaining sustainable tourism practices. Our hikers are amazed by Dominica’s beauty; those who participate in Hike Fest should be prepared to see the magnificence of our island,” he said.

Hike Fest will consist of three different hikes scheduled for May 1, 8 and 15, 2010.

All three hikes will cover segments 1, 6 and 14 of the Waitukubuli National Trail, allowing hikers to discover the natural attractions, viewpoints, lush landscapes and historical landmarks.

The first hike will take place on the northeast side of Dominica, while the other two trails will cover the areas of Soufriere, Scotts Head and Cabrits National Park.

The guided hikes will cost US$15 each or US$34 for all hikes. Hikes include complimentary transportation, tea and a 2010 Hike Fest t-shirt.

Hike Fest is also part of Dominica’s Tourism Awareness Month, which is a month-long event.

A variety of activities will occur throughout May including, Culture Night on May 20, Health & Wellness Expo on May 22 and Creole & All that Jazz Concert on May 23.

– DNO Correspondent