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Dream of, Delight in and Discover the Dominican Republic

A dive vacation to this Caribbean island rejuvenates the mind, body and soul.
By Terry Ward | Updated On November 23, 2023
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Dream of, Delight in and Discover the Dominican Republic

Lined with towering palm trees and bathed in deliriously blue waters and sunshine all year long, the Dominican Republic always ranks high for couples, families and groups of friends looking for a tropical vacation to remember.

In-the-know scuba divers have this Caribbean island loaded with history and culture on their wish lists, too, thanks to its excellent and varied diving.

With wrecks, reefs and walls to explore along its Atlantic and Caribbean coastlines, the Dominican Republic truly is that tropical dive destination where you can have it all underwater–and then enjoy your best tropical topside vacation, too, once you’ve toweled off for the day.

With wrecks, reefs and walls to explore along its Atlantic and Caribbean coastlines, the Dominican Republic truly is that tropical dive destination where you can have it all underwater.

David M. Benz

The range of diverse landscapes and seascapes here play out like a postcard brought to life. Think: palm-fringed beaches and the infinite blues of the sea, historic cities and forts, and towering emerald-green mountains that plunge dramatically toward the coast.

This is a place where golf courses and luxury resorts share a spectacular coastline with migrating whales just offshore. And where scuba divers find endless adventures underwater alongside plenty to entertain the non-divers in their group, too.

Punta Cana offers the ideal place to start exploring the Dominican Republic.

David M. Benz

Start your dive adventures in Punta Cana, where golden beaches are lapped by crystal-clear seas. There’s a resort for every type of traveler, whether you’re looking for an intimate boutique stay or to be pampered in an all-inclusive.

For divers of all levels, Punta Cana offers the ideal place to start exploring the Dominican Republic–especially if you’re traveling as a family or with friends who prefer snorkeling and lounging poolside instead.

Exciting wreck dives are just minutes by boat from the resorts. Punta Cana is an especially appealing spot for new divers to get their PADI Open Water Diver certification on vacation since there are lots of shallow sites brimming with clouds of colorful tropical fish located just minutes from shore.

When you’re ready to check out more of the region’s best diving, Punta Cana dive shops run day trips to the Dominican Republic’s Caribbean coast and the lively little resort town of Bayahibe, about an hour away. Close to La Romana, this is the spot to find some of the island’s most diverse diving, with exceptional sites found off Bayahibe and nearby Catalina Island.

This impressive wrecks starts in 50 feet of water.

David M. Benz

The St. George Wreck is among the 20 official dive sites in the waters around La Romana and Bayahibe. Collecting marine-life growth since being intentionally sunk 1999, this impressive wrecks starts in 50 feet of water. You never know what you’ll see swimming around the St. George. A dive light will bring out all the colors of the sponges and corals that have turned it into a reef, and shimmering schools of tropical fish will envelop you like swaying curtains.

At Peñon reef, sea turtles and stingrays make frequent appearances and healthy and colorful corals will delight the photographers in your group. The warm, shallow waters here are ideal for the snorkelers in your group.

The wreck of the Atlantic Princess is an amazing shallow dive site where you might see angelfish and squirrelfish hiding in the wreck, while sharp-eyed divers may spot the wreck’s smallest treasures—blennies, nudibranchs and seahorses sheltering in nooks and crannies.

Don’t miss a dive on Catalina Wall!

David M. Benz

Whatever you do in the Bayahibe and La Romana area, don’t miss a dive on Catalina Wall, right off the gorgeous little island of the same name. The wall’s corals are healthy and the fish life abundant. You can wind down the afternoon by relaxing onshore at Catalina Island, where great snorkeling awaits the non-divers in your group and operators set up a beach barbecue to enjoy.

Bayahibe offers a wide range of resorts for couples and families and the town itself is full of restaurants where you can sample local specialties like mofongo and sancocho. The pulsating rhythms of soca music spill out onto the streets from lively beachfront bars.

When you’re ready to explore the Dominican Republic’s North Coast, set your sights on Puerto Plata, along the country’s Atlantic coastline. Verdant mountains abound in this part of the country, their emerald-green peaks plunging straight down to the coast. Come to see some of the most picturesque beaches and coves in all of the Caribbean.

There are more vibrant towns, beach resorts and a historic fort to check out, too. And when it comes to diving, Puerto Plata makes it easy, with so many excellent dive sites located within a short boat ride of the shore.

In the pretty village of Sosua, narrow streets are lined with flowering trees, dive shops, and fun-loving bars and cafes. Dive boats leave from the town’s public beach to reach the best dive sites in Sosua Bay–most within just a five-minute boat ride from the shore.

Sosua Bay packs an amazing diversity of dive sites into its compact and sheltered surrounds, where calm conditions usually prevail, making it all the more inviting to suit up and dive in.

Picture yourself diving through a canyon where yellow-striped French grunts converge between two stony formations that look like bookends framing the scene. And at the dive site called Ray Point, pristine coral heads are usually loaded with tropical fish in a kaleidoscope of colors.

Dive down to see one of the Caribbean’s largest underwater statues in Sosua Bay.

David M. Benz

There’s even art to admire beneath the surface here when you dive down to see one of the Caribbean’s largest underwater statues in Sosua Bay. The steel and cement figure inspired by Atabey–the ancestral and universal mother of the Dominican Republic’s indigenous Taino people–towers 16 feet high and is an underwater magnet for fish and colonizing corals.

It was designed as much for the purpose of creating an artificial reef and improving biodiversity in Sosua Bay as it was to honor native wisdom.

These underwater views, combined with the Dominican Republic’s unique landscapes and culture, create vacation memories for life–and ones you can make only here. When you plan your next dive vacation to the Dominican Republic, you can choose among many locations, types of accommodation, topside fun and underwater adventures. The Dominican Republic caters to every kind of vacationing diver, whether you’re traveling with a partner or in a larger family or group. But whatever you choose, this lovely island will rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.

With special thanks to Hotel Riu Bambu and ScubaCaribe for a great stay and diving in Punta Cana, Bávaro and Isla Catalina, Dreams Dominicus La Romana for a great stay in Bayahibe and Senator Puerto Plata Spa Resort and Diwa Dominicana for the wonderful hospitality in Puerto Plata and Sosua.