At the far north of Dominica, the Cabrits Headland juts westward into the Caribbean, with Douglas Bay to the north and the town Portsmouth to the south. The Cabrits National Park encompasses the entire peninsula along with the nearshore waters and reefs that surround it. Most notably the park is home to Fort Shirley, a colonial British garrison built from 1770 to 1815. Restoration efforts have cleared many of the ruins from the encroaching jungle, and a the former powder magazine has found new life as a small museum where you can learn about the restoration and see some of the artifacts uncovered along the way. A pair of hills called West and East Cabrit dominates the landscape of the peninsula, and from the back of Fort Shirley, you can find a trail leading to the panoramic viewpoint at the top of West Cabrit—with an elevation of about 560 feet, the hike takes about 30 minutes. For scuba divers and snorkelers, the underwater portion of the park is also well worth a visit. The dive sites around the peninsula are some of the richest on the island, with a protected reefs thriving among the dramatic lava rock seascape.
Cabrits National Park is about a 45 minute drive from the island’s capital Roseau, and just a few minutes from the north’s main town of Portsmouth. A small, secondary cruise ship dock is located on the south side of the Cabrits Peninsula. The visit Fort Shirley and the museum costs $5 and the hours are 8 am to 6 pm.