When you arrive in the Dominican Republic, if not headed directly to the popular resorts of Punta Cana, you’ll likely be touching down in the beachfront capital city of Santo Domingo and looking to dive in. From there, in its roughly 48,000 square kilometers of land mass and its surrounding seas, you’ll find adventure suitable for everyone, of all ranges of age and ability.
The Dominican Republic has long been a bustling destination for those on the cruise route or coming down for a resort holiday, but there’s also plenty to do outside of colorful drinks with umbrellas in them. For years, visitors have been finding great dive spots, and these are the top five according to Deepblu users.
Known as much for its good-humored dive pros as the actual dive spots themselves, Saona Island is a great place to spot whale sharks in season. In addition to the presence of these massive creatures, a lot of small life lines the reefs and wrecks of the area, making for great macro photography opportunities.
The most famous feature of the Bayahibe dive region is, without a doubt, the wreck of the Saint George. A massive and mostly in-tact dive, sometimes divers will take two or three days exploring the site. Massive schools of fish call the ship home base, and rays pass by on the outside from time to time. Also in this dive region is Playa Dominicus, a great place for relaxation on shore and reef diving off of it.
Around Puerto Plata, you’ll be able to find just about any kind of dive you’re looking for, and sea life to match. Walls, reefs, and wrecks are all within arm’s reach. Another nice feature of this area is the family-friendliness of it all. Shops on the shore also provide kitesurfing, windsurfing, snorkeling, and kayaking experiences and there are plenty of places to stay at any budget.
This beach resort area is within a very close distance to Santo Domingo, and great for a first-stop or an entire holiday. Clear, calm waters make for great visibility of a colorful array of corals and the wildlife that surrounds them. Dives here are quite popular, and can be crowded at times, but if you find yourself in a small group you’re in for a treat. It’s a great place to spot Cassiopea, the upside-down jellies of the Caribbean.
This famous spot is the easternmost point of the Dominican Republic. The cool thing about this is that it’s surrounded by water, and almost all activities are ocean-based. Boat tours, snorkeling, and diving surround the area. A slight move inland, and you can experience amazing whitewater rafting on the Rio Yasque. For those who prefer their activities a bit drier, marlin charters are available for fishing trips. Whether you like to look at it or catch it, Punta Cana has it.
- Todd Allen Williams, Senior Editor