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Water sports

Diving and Snorkeling

 

The Dominican Republic is known for its 1,000 miles of unspoiled natural beaches. However, there is no substitute for experiencing the magic of the island from underwater; the is a whole world to explore that you simply can't see from the shore. Coral reefs, caves, shipwrecks and multicolored fish and fauna are all waiting to be explored.

 

It's no wonder that the Dominican Republic is known as one of the best places to dive in the Caribbean region. With crystal clear waters and vibrantly colored marine life, you will never run out of things to discover. Diving the North Coast along the Atlantic currents is particularly interesting, as you can see many unique bays and reefs. Another unique area is the Samaná Peninsula. Here, you can dive near high cliffs and coastal preserves. Divers also enjoy heading down the East Coast near the Mona Passage for an astounding underwater experience that leads you to the southwest coast along the Caribbean sea.

 

If you want to explore this fascinating underwater world, the Dominican Republic has many trips and tours that will provide you with an unforgettable view of the waters surrounding the Dominican Republic.

 

file icon pdf Download Sport Diver - Guide to Dominican Republic.pdf

 

SOUTHERN REGION

 

In Santo Domingo, divers are right by La Caleta, the underwater national park. One of the best on the continent, it has a depth of 600 feet and a little over 600 square miles. The park begins at the Cave of the Swallows and extends to Caucedo Point, with an irregular topography with three well-defined terraces to explore.

 

La Caleta is a beautiful natural pool close to the coasts with are several sunken boats. One of these is the "Hickory." Located at a depth of 60 feet, the Hickory was sunk in 1984 by a group of underwater investigators who wanted to create an artificial reef to encourage marine life.  There are also three other boats to see: "El Limon" and the "Capitán Alsina," around 100 feet down, and the "Don Quico", at a depth of about 190 feet.

 

La Caleta has a variety of coral. This attracts an incredible number of multicolor fish that use the coral colonies as a refuge and source of food. Nearby, there is an impressive system of karstic rocks, including a meandering network of underwater caverns and tunnels which is great for experienced divers.

 

Very soon, the first underwater museum about the country will be added to the La Caleta Park. The underwater museum will feature submerged sculptures with one section reflecting native Dominican themes and the other reflecting religious Dominican themes.

 

Nearby, there is another great dive location known as the Dominican "Bahamas." It gets its nickname from the wildlife that is so similar to the Bahamas, and ranges from depths of 60 to 120 feet. There is also a dive site known as "The Seven Coconut Shrubs," named so for the seven coconut trees on the coast facing this area.

 

Off the coast of Boca Chica, divers will also enjoy the "El Catuán" sunken boat located at 60 feet. Nearby, the "Barracuda" reef is a natural underwater mountain, where you can sometimes spot barracudas. This is where most diving schools hold their courses. In the Juan Dolio coastal area, you can find the remains of several ships, such as the "Tanya V".

 

Some caves in the area include:

- Cueva taína (Taina Cave)

- El hipódromo (The Hippodrome)

- El tildo (The Brand)

 

Some reefs in the region:

- The 7 matas de coco (The 7 Coconut Trees)

- La montaña (The Mountain)

- Cañón 80 (Canyon 80)

- Bahamas

 

Some shipwrecks in the region:

- Hickory

- El limón (The Lemon)

- Capitán Alsina (Captain Alsina)

 

EASTERN REGION

 

A little more to the east, especially near La Romana, there is a wealth of marine life to explore. Here you will find the "St. George" boat, the largest sunken boat in Dominican waters at 266 feet long. Dive carefully and you will find barracudas, morays, mackerel, and grouper, among other species. If you keep an eye open for caves, you will also find the Cave of Our Father.

 

Near Catalina island just off the La Romana Coast, you will find The Wall, a beautiful area with many great dives from 15 feet to 140 feet in deep. On Catalina island you will find The Aquarium, a wonderful area with species like toad fish, sea horses and the famous lion fish.

 

There are lovely coral reefs both in Catalina and on Saona island. Recently, explorers discovered the wreck of the Captain Kidd at 20 feet, with more than 20 cannons. If you get to the tourist region of Punta Cana - Bávaro and its surrounding area, you will find many more caves and sunken ship remains as well.

 

Some caves in the area:

- Hoyo azul (Blue Hole)

- Padre Nuestro Cave (Our Father's Cave)

- Pepe Lagoon

 

Some reefs in the region:

- La Pared (The Wall)

- La Piscina (The Pool)

 

Some shipwrecks in the region:

- Saint George

- Astron

 

NORTHERN REGION

 

The whole northern coast of the Dominican territory is rich in marine life and has lots of exciting dives.

 

In Samaná, specifically at Las Galeras, there is the "Cabo Cabrón", a challenging area that goes down to more than 120 feet. Here, there are large coral landscapes and "Las tres puertas" (The Three Doors) and "La Piedra" (The Stone), which are rocky formations jutting out from the sea.

 

At Las Terrenas you will find "Las tres ballenas" (The Three Whales), named after three stones that are covered in beautiful coral. Divers should also check out "El Frontón," with its beautiful and abundant marine life that is great for snorkeling and beginner divers.

 

For those not looking to go very deep, the Nagua area has "Bahoba del pinal" filled with marine life and caverns such as Eels and the "Cueva de Lily"  or Lily's Cave.

 

In Sosúa, in the Puerto Plata provence, a popular spot is "El Canal." People love to snorkel here because of its spectacular colors and wide variety of fish.

 

Montecristi, a province to the northeast, has a variety of coral reefs including many in the vicinity of Punta Rucia. Here you will be able to enjoy the reef of Cayo Arena and the remains of 20 boats, including one of the Spanish fleet that sunk in 1563.

 

Caves in the region:

- De la Anguila (Of the Eel)

- Lily

- El Dudu

 

Reefs in the region:

- 7 Colinas (Hills) (Rio San Juan)

- Pared del aeropuerto (Airport Wall) (Sosúa)

- Tibisi (Las Galeras)

- Mano de Oro (Hand of Gold) (Río San Juan)

 

Shipwrecks in the region:

- Zingara (Sosúa)

- El Barquito (The Little Boat)

- Las Galeras

 

SOUTHEAST REGION

 

The Southeast Coast of the island has also a lot of great dives. Close to the city of Santo Domingo, you will be able to dive at "Las Chapas, which has areas 120 feet deep.

 

On the coasts of the provinces of Peravia, Azua and Barahona you will find even more excitement. In Pedernales, the diving is simply spectacular and can be accessed from the beaches of "Cabo Rojo" (Red Cape) and "Bahia de las Aguilas" (Bay of Eagles). These areas are full of intense colors and lots of marine life. "Cabo Falso" (False Cape), another good option, is only recommended for expert divers because of the strong underwater current.

 

Also, in the area is "Los Frailes," where you can go underwater to see a formation of white rocks shooting up from out of the sea. Around these rocks, you will be able to see many different types of fish. Another extraordinary area surrounds the islands of Beata and Alto Velo, but is only recommended to experienced divers because of its strong currents.

 

In short, underwater life along the Southwest Coast in the Dominican Republic will give you a unique peek into an underwater world that you can't find anywhere else.

 

Caves in the region:

- Hicotea

- Trou Nicolás

- Asfalto

 

Reefs in the region:

- Los Frailes

- Cabo Rojo (Red Cape)

- Bahía de la Águilas (Eagle Bay)

- Cabo Falso

 

Dominican Resorts offer diving packages and excursions with guides. Some programs provide intensive two- and four-day courses so you can get your certificate of participation.

 

To find out more about diving lessons, renting or buying equipment or going out on a dive, you can contact the specialists below:

 

Gus Dive Center

www.gusdivecenter.com

Telephone: 809-566-0818

 

Golden Arrow Technical Diving Center

www.cavediving.com.do

Telephone: 809-566-7780

 

Mike´s Dive Center

Telephone: 809-566-3483

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