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Bayahibe, Dominican Republic

Gorgeous beaches and great nightlife meet some of the Dominican Republic’s best diving on this colorful stretch of the Caribbean coast.

By Terry Ward | Updated On June 4, 2024
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Bayahibe, Dominican Republic

Just east of La Romana on the Dominican Republic’s Caribbean coast, the pretty little fishing village of Bayahibe beckons with colorful waterfront restaurants, lively bars where the soca and bachata music goes late, and golden beaches where the sky turns every shade of pink, purple and sherbet orange at sunset.

The setting is about as appealing as it gets for a tropical dive vacation where you can feel immersed not only in dazzling underwater sights but all the vibrant topside vibes, too. Visitors to the Dominican Republic are quickly captivated by the culture and natural beauty that is so indelibly woven into the fabric of life here, creating a memorable vacation that rejuvenates the mind, body and soul.

The unique walls and coral formations surrounding Catalina Island set the scene for some of the most exciting diving in all of the Dominican Republic.

David M. Benz

Bayahibe is the stepping-off point for visiting one of the country’s best loved offshore islands, Catalina Island, or Isla Catalina. Here, waters as translucent as a swimming pool gently lap sugar-white sands and the day’s agenda revolves around the simple pleasures–diving, barbecuing, and sipping something frosty between dipping in and out of the sea.

For divers, the unique walls and coral formations surrounding Catalina Island set the scene for some of the most exciting diving in all of the Dominican Republic, too. There are over 20 dive sites here that are regularly visited by dive shops in La Romana and Bayahibe. And tours even bring divers from Punta Cana for the day to experience Bayahibe’s underwater treasures.

Guaraguao, is a fun and supremely colorful spot to see artifacts like muskets and cannon balls that have been put on display underwater.

David M. Benz

Of all the dive sites Catalina Island is known for, Catalina Wall, on the island’s east side, might be the one that surprises you most.

It’s considered among the very best wall dives in all of the Dominican Republic, with pillar corals that are among the tallest in the Caribbean and beautiful stands of healthy elkhorn corals next to huge vase sponges.

This is one of those dives that’s always promises a feast for the senses, whether you see an eagle ray, a moray eel, huge schools of fish or perhaps all three. The top of the wall starts in about 15 feet of water and drops to over 130 feet, so it’s a dive that can be catered to different experience levels, too. If you have snorkelers in your group, they’ll have a blast exploring the shallow reef on the top of the wall.

One of the best shallow dives at Catalina, the Aquarium is another cool spot to swim between coral heads that act as magnets for marine life, with clouds of schooling grunts and purple-blue creole wrasse everywhere. Dive guides can usually spot seahorses at the Aquarium, too, a relatively common sight here that always makes divers smile behind their regulators.

Beyond Catalina Island, Bayahibe’s many dive sites are accessed via short boat rides from the area’s coastal resorts and marinas.

The wreck’s superstructure starts about 50 feet down, where divers can swim through open interior spaces

David M. Benz

Wreck divers gravitate to the St. George Wreck. It was intentionally sunk off the beach in 1999 and has since become completely encrusted with colorful sponges and corals that attract all manner of thriving marine life. The wreck’s superstructure starts about 50 feet down, where divers can swim through open interior spaces. Copper sweepers shimmer in huge schools and baitfish flash in silvery curtains all around. Look for a resident moray eel and huge jacks patrolling the wreck’s periphery. Barracuda and eagle rays make frequent appearances here, too.

In the Parque Nacional del Este, a shallower Bayahibe site, Guaraguao, is a fun and supremely colorful spot to see artifacts like muskets and cannon balls that have been put on display underwater. You might even see spotted rays and other curious creatures swimming across the sand.

Get ready for it to be one colorful, unforgettable and uniquely Dominican experience.

David M. Benz

Peñon is another favorite Bayahibe reef for beautiful diving, with three different dive sites stretched across the reef. Here, sea turtles and rays frequently pop in, searching for a meal amidst a field of healthy and colorful corals.

And in just 36 feet of water, the Atlantic Princess Wreck stays lively with angelfish and squirrelfish patrolling its nooks and crannies and swirling schools of grunts adding color and motion to the blue.

Whatever you’ve come looking for in La Romana and Bayahibe, both topside and below, get ready for it to be one colorful, unforgettable and uniquely Dominican experience.

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