Hampstead Beach, Dominica’s Number One Beach


Places to stay

Jack Sparrow was here

If you’ve seen Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, you surely remember the classic scene where Jack Sparrow was chased down the beach by a tribe of outraged natives.

The dramatic scene was filmed at Hampstead Beach, Dominica, an isolated spot on the island’s Atlantic coast.

Graphic artists took liberties with the background but, yes, this is it. (Two other film locations on Dominica are High Meadow, where the cannibal village scenes were shot, and on the Indian River, where the characters went to visit the voodoo lady.)

view down to the far cliffs at Hampstead Beach Dominica

Hampstead Beach: Dominica’s best black sand beach

Thanks to such a delightful setting, it earned the top spot on Caribbean Journal’s list of best black sand beaches in the Caribbean.

Nicknamed “The Nature Island,” it has often been said that the Commonwealth of Dominica is the only Caribbean island that Columbus would still recognize. Unlike the Dominican Republic, the island has few tourist resorts.

Bordered on one side by warm, calm Caribbean Sea and by the cold and rough Atlantic Ocean on the other, Dominica has been shunned by developers. Her Caribbean coastline is too rocky for tourists. On the Atlantic side where the nice beaches are, the weather is too changeable.

Which is why we can’t understand why it’s also known as Number One Beach. This is one of those nice beaches with changeable weather. Worse for developers, rough waves and chilly waters are not what tourists and beach-goers fancy jumping into.

Those who don’t mind a cold water dip rarely visit, because Hampstead Beach is a bit difficult to find. You see, there are no signs along the road to mark the way there. So grab your surf foil and catch a few waves.

So much the better for anyone who does manage to find Number One Beach. It is a treacherous, muddy and bumpy drive down through tropical jungle that only a 4-by-4 should make. But those who persevere will be rewarded with a lonely stretch of beautiful black sand, fringed by groves of coconut palms and jungle and bordered by rocky cliffs at each end.

Rainforest and palms lining Hampstead Beach Dominica

Dramatic cliffs climb skyward on both ends of the beach. A rugged rock archway stands at one end, constantly pounded by waves and begging for a photo or two. We happily obliged before we hiked to the other end to see what we could see.

Fun at the Number One Beach

There, we sighted one of Dominica’s 365 pristine rivers and discovered a playground. The local children were laughing and splashing in the river’s delightfully warm waters. As we watched, some of the more adventurous clambered onto a nearby rock outcropping. They jumped, dousing the others with even more water and grinning as they surfaced. Look out below!

Obviously we weren’t the only ones who think this is an ideal recreation spot!

Black sand and arch that used to be at the far edge of Number One Beach

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Written by Dan

Professional photographer specializing in street, food and travel shots at As We Saw It travel blog. “Photography is unique in that it captures light in all forms, and since the Bible says YHVH (God) is light, photography captures Him in many forms.”

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4 thoughts on “Hampstead Beach, Dominica’s Number One Beach”

  1. Hi Dan,

    Wow, it looks beautiful….and rough of course….and I can feel the cold too….but sometimes the most pristine places on earth, with the most stunning scenery, have that counter balance.

    Here in Fiji on Savusavu, we’re in paradise for the next few months. It’s the cleanest place I’ve been to on earth but the beaches are also black sand, and in many spots you’re contending with large volcanic rocks and other formations.

    You’ll find a few lagoons to swim through with clear, pristine waters during high tide but other than that, you’re probably best hitting SE Asia for beachy-type beaches.

    Love the pictures Dan. Thanks for inspiring!

    I’ll tweet this through Triberr.


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