Nearby in Papillote, the double deluge of Trafalgar Falls encompasses the hot "father" flow and cold "mother" that borders the 17,000-acre Morne Trois Pitons National Park, home to many a wondrous hike. None more so than the trek to Boiling Lake, an all-day affair (engage a guide) over challenging, often rainy ridges, past puddles of bubbling mud to the volcano-heated lake. Tempted to swim? Try the park's waterfall-fed Emerald Pool. Or strap on mask, fins, and snorkel and take the offshore technicolor plunge at Soufriere Scott's Head Marine Park.

DETAILS: Dominica Tourist Office, (888) 645-5637, Papillote Wilderness Retreat, from $95, (767) 448-2287, Fort Young Hotel, from $95, (767) 448-5000,


A string of pearls scattered south of St. Vincent and north of Grenada, the Grenadines are what many mean when they say paradise. Surely Mick Jagger and Tommy Hilfiger, two of many renowned homeowners here, do. Stars love the islands for their distance from the limelight, sailors for their steady winds, and island hoppers for their easy proximity.

Yet despite proximity, travel around the Grenadines requires careful study of ferry schedules and inter-island commuter flights. Navigate the islands yourself aboard a sailboat from The Moorings, which just opened a new charter-boat base on little-developed Canouan at the Tamarind Beach Hotel, where rooms rank among the best deals in the upscale archipelago.

Ports of call range from sophisticated to uninhabited. Beginning in the north, boat-building Bequia puts the local woodworking talents on display in lovingly trimmed harborside houses. Mustique maintains its mystique through regular off-loading of A-list resorters who rub elbows with the hoi polloi at the 20-room beach-chic Cotton House hotel.