Wondering what’s the best sites to do scuba diving and snorkeling in the Dominican Republic?
The Dominican Republic is not as well known as other Caribbean destinations. But that doesn’t mean anything since it is a superb diving destination.
Most of the Caribbean’s most popular dive destinations were first “discovered” as dive destinations before being tourist destinations.
Yet, the thriving tourism industry of the Caribbean islands through diving has attracted more and more regular tourists.
In the Dominican Republic, things developed differently. Indeed, diving has never been the cornerstone of tourism. Instead, it is an activity among many others.
You can think of the Dominican Republic as a secret destination for divers.
Once past the promotions of popular resorts, the costs related to scuba diving are very affordable. More affordable than elsewhere in the Caribbean.
The most beautiful dive sites of the Dominican Republic await you all year round to live an incredible diving experience.
This article is a detailed guide to scuba diving and snorkeling in the Dominican Republic.
Best Scuba diving and Snorkeling in the Dominican Republic
The best scuba diving sites in the Dominican
3 main regions attract the majority of visitors; Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata, and Punta Cana. Diving is very good for each region, according to the seasons. In the Dominican Republic, the seasons greatly impact the quality of the dives. Let’s see all this in detail.
The Punta Cana area, for example, is prone to strong sea currents created by offshore storms. Divers who are not comfortable with the currents or those whose sea trip has been canceled can go to Catalina Island.
Catalina Island is an hour and a half drive from Punta Cana and not far from the shore. The marine fauna and flora around the island are protected, giving rise to a dive worthy of the best dive sites in the Caribbean.
There are several other destinations where the waters are calmer all year round. Indeed, some diving destinations are Juan Dolio, Bayahibe, and Boca Chica.
Boca Chica is located near Santo Domingo, the gateway to the La Caleta Underwater National Park and the Sirena Cave.
Samana is also a great region to visit during a stay in the Republic. There are even a few liveaboards that ink there for a season.
Besides, humpback whales are often close by when they are migrating! Samana is also the closest access point to the Silver Banks!
In Spanish, Silver Banks // The Banco de la Plata is a sandbank almost reaching the sea surface in some places.
Located between the Turks & Caicos Islands and the Dominican Republic, the Silver Bank is superb for diving, with several corals and a wreck to explore.
Diving in the Dominican Republic depends greatly on what you want to explore, and your skills since great diversity are offered.
Many all-inclusive resorts offer scuba diving as their optional activity in the three main regions where tourism is developed.
If you’re looking for a quality diving-focused vacation, staying away from highly touristy centers is probably best.
The smaller resorts are more isolated and far from the most touristic regions. It will offer you a more quality dive.
The Dominican Republic is not a recognized destination for liveaboards. The interesting sites are all nearby, but there is little activity on the side of liveaboards.
Yet, there is a boat that sometimes makes sites of the Dominican Republic. It is the Turks & Caicos Aggressor II. If a dive cruise interests you, it is in the Caribbean generally that we advise you to look at.
The prices will be lower, and you can make a reservation without paying a penny.
Prices of dives in the Dominican Republic
Rates for diving in the Dominican Republic vary a bit depending on where the dive takes place, but nothing more. Here is an overview of the price of dives in the Dominican Republic:
A snorkeling excursion: +/- 35€ (40$US)
Baptism / Discover SCUBA diving : +/- 80€ (95$US)
2 Dives : +/- 85€ (100$US)
Price Course level 1 / Padi Open Water : +/- 275€ (320$US)*
Price Course Level 2 / Padi Open Water Advanced: +/- 195€ (225$US)*
Price Course Level 3 / Rescue Diver : +/- 285€ (330$US)*
+ Emergency first responder certification: add +/- 155€ (180$US)
Divemaster course: +/- 690€ (800$US)
We advise you not to look only for the lowest rate but choose your dive center according to where you feel best. Sometimes it makes sense to pay a little more and be in better conditions!
Best time to dive in the Dominican Republic
The scuba diving season is like the one that prevails throughout the Caribbean all year round! However, the Dominican Republic is located in the northern part of the Caribbean Sea.
Thus, there are variations between the seasons depending on the location on the island.
The southern part of the island overlooks the Caribbean Sea. The water temperature is generally 28°C/83°F in summer and 24°C/76°F in winter. So, diving conditions are best in the south of the island during the winter.
The island’s northern part faces the Atlantic Ocean, so the water is slightly colder. On this side, the summer will have the best diving conditions with a calmer sea.
However, visibility is better in winter. Finally, the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic is in an area with a well-defined hurricane season.
This season is recognized as being from June to October. But the risks are higher mainly in September and October. Just follow the weather reports. Hurricanes remain a rare phenomenon.
Scuba diving conditions
As mentioned above, the conditions for diving practice are favorable all year round, with some periods even more optimal.
Visibility is reduced, especially after heavy rains, going as low as 6 meters / 20 feet. Conversely, the visibility most often observed is excellent, averaging 30 meters/100 feet.
Snorkeling in the Dominican Republic
Snorkeling is common in the Dominican Republic. Indeed, both in large resorts and on remote spots on the coast, it is a simple and very accessible activity.
Besides, several shallow reefs where the water is calm are perfect for snorkeling!
Underwater fauna: Fish and Coral
There is a wide variety of marine life present around the Dominican Republic. For example, humpback whales visit the Silver Bank and a few bays on the island’s northern part. This is an encounter sought after by divers in February and March mainly.
All year round, you will find several species of pelagics, including eagle rays, barracudas, nurse sharks, and turtles. Coral reefs are healthy and serve as a habitat for a large number of fish that you can observe all year round.
If you are planning to go on a trip to the Dominican Republic, We advise you to invest in good travel insurance that also covers scuba diving.
You never know what can happen, and good insurance can get you out of difficult situations.
The Dominican Republic is probably not at the top of your list of diving places. But it is a great holiday destination, and combining diving with your stay will be easy!
Coral reefs have not been under much pressure from humans, so they are alive, colorful… and almost intact!
The operators are generally focused on customer service, going to the most beautiful dive sites in the Dominican Republic according to the desires and skills of the divers.
We hope the “Best Scuba diving and Snorkeling in the Dominican Republic” content was helpful to you.