Dominican Republic Diving
Offering some of the Caribbean’s best and easy reef dives, plus plunging walls, wrecks and challenging caves, the Dominican Republic has something for every diver. Don’t miss swimming with Silver Bank’s thousands of humpback whales and relaxing on the pristine beaches while you’re there.
The east coast of the Dominican Republic is a diver’s dream with the La Altagracia Province boasting shallow reefs, freshwater caves, encrusted wrecks, sheer underwater cliffs, energetic drift diving and an array of tropical marine life.
La Romana Province entails prolific fringing reefs, breathtaking wreck diving, along with the calmest waters in the Dominican Republic. With easy access to Saona and Catalina Islands, where even more reefs, drifts and pelagic encounters await, it’s truly a diver’s paradise.
White sands and turquoise waters charm those at the surface, while rainbow reefs, coral pinnacles, energetic currents, sunken ships and tantalizing caves entertain those beneath the waves. Welcome to Samana Province.
Scuba diving in the Santo Domingo province entails beautiful reefs, fascinating caves and encrusted shipwrecks all overflowing with intense tropical marine life. With bountiful unique dive sites, this historical region is perfect for all skill levels.
Diving in Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic offers tourists pristine beaches, year round warm waters and some of the Caribbean’s best reefs. With tropical weather no matter the season, it’s the perfect destination for your next dive vacation. This beautiful Caribbean nation delivers something for divers of all levels of experience, including vibrant reefs in calm conditions, caves that can challenge those who are seeking further adventure, plunging wall dives, and shipwrecks that both sank naturally and were sunk purposely for divers to explore. Even for non divers, it’s an exceptional experience, as there are plenty of snorkelling opportunities.
Diving in the Dominican republic is mostly easy, and is a great place for beginners to take discovery dives, particularly on the southern coast where ocean conditions are calmer. Advanced divers will have a stress-free time discovering deeper sites, caverns and shipwrecks.
As for diving opportunities, there are plenty of dive centers and dive resorts to choose from, that cater to all manner of preferences and experience levels. Dive courses are widely available to take too, with the islands underwater diversity making various courses being easy to carry out. Not only is it a suitable place for beginners to get their open water certification, it’s also the perfect location to obtain advanced certifications and do specialty courses, thanks to a multitude of varying dive sites and conditions. Liveaboards are all an option in the Dominican Republic, with many trips setting sail around the island all year round.
Best time to dive
The Dominican Republic benefits from a year round tropical climate with an average 255 days of sunshine annually. Even though there are noticeable seasons, the warm weather and ocean temperatures don’t change much at all, making it the perfect diving destination to matter the time of year.
Temperatures can reach 30°C all year round no matter the season. The north and south of the country differ slightly, with the north experiencing higher humidity, and the south having a drier climate.
June to November is the wet season, with air temperatures between 25-30°C (77-85°F), and water temperatures ranging from 26-28°C (79-83°F). While it does rain most days, downpours are only brief and pass quickly. It’s also the low season during this time, so dive sites are often uncrowded and awesome deals on diving, accommodation and flights can be found easily. Do be aware though that it’s also the hurricane season at the same time, as it is for most Caribbean nations.
The dry summer season runs through December to May, and is the tour ethic high season. The humidity is milder, and the weather is hot and sunny most days. Air temperatures linger between 21-26°C (70-80°F) while water temperatures tend to stay between 24-26°C (75-79°F).
Furthermore if you want to see the migrating humpback whales that come to the area for winter to calve in the nearby waters January to April is the best time to experience this amazing phenomenon. Offshore, Silver Bank is one of the worlds best places to see these amzing creatures gather in breeding season from the end of January until early April.
Types of diving
The Dominican Republic offers a myriad of different diving adventures for all levels of divers. From relaxing shallow reefs, to impressive caves, walls and shipwrecks, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
For wall dive enthusiasts, head to Catalina Island, and for more advanced divers, dive the Luperon Wall in the north coast, which is considered the best wall dive in the country.
Catalina island also has perfect sites for simple reef dive lovers, such as The Aquarium, which is only 12 meters (40 feet) deep and full of colorful corals and thriving marine life.
If you’re looking for some awesome wreck dives, check out the Monica at Punta Cana, a wreck hoarded by marine life that sank almost 100 years ago during a storm. Also, the Hickory and Limon in Boca Chica are two famous wrecks near one another in a national marine park. Located close together in an underwater national park, they host an array of colorful fish species, sponges and corals.
A favourite dive for caverns and swim-through is La Cueva, also at Punta Cana. This shallow site not only boasts exceptional topography, but the chance to encounter rays and nurse sharks.
For advanced divers and tech divers seeking challenging thrills, the caves around Santo Domingo, Bayahibe and Playa Dorada are a must.
What to see
The highlight of diving and snorkelling in the Dominican Republic is the congregation of humpback whales that come to the nearby waters and the offshore area of Silver Bank. As they come to mate, the males put in epic snows for the females to gain their attention, often splashing and reading in the water. To see this spectacle, visit between end of January and early April.
At most of the country’s beautiful dive sites, you’ll find a multitude of colorful tropical life, including eels, yellow stingrays, parrotfish, trumpetfish and so much more all among vivacious corals species, sponges and sea fans. Everyone’s favourite, the adorable sea turtle, is also a common creature to encounter here.
Pelagics can be found at various sites too, such as reef sharks, and in particular, nurse sharks, that sometimes frequent La Cueva in Punta Cana. Even manta and eagle rays can be seen, especially at the Luperon Wall, where they sometimes pass by.
Best places to dive
Aside from the sites already mentioned, there are many other brag-worthy spots among the Dominican Republic’s 50-or-so dive sites.
Starting with Airport Wall in Sosua, near the resort town of Cabarete, this site is another breathtaking dive for those who get a thrill from descending down vertical drop. This relaxing site reaches around 35 meters, and also boasts tunnels, caves and swim-through, where reef sharks and eagle rays can be found hiding.
As mentioned, The Aquarium at Catalina Island is an absolute must for divers who love endless rainbow corals and a variety of tropical fish encounters. It’s an easy site perfect for all divers, and the marine life is exceptionally healthy due to the area being a protected national marine park.
A lesser known site that is somewhat more species is Cayo Reef, Paradise Island, located in the northern province of Monte Cristi. The reefs are otherworldly, featuring vibrant sea fans and sponges, among clouds surgeonfish and yellowtail snappers. Due to its remoteness, the sites here are completely unspoilt thanks to a lack of visitors. Though it’s more difficult to reach, it’s definitely worth it.
Our next spot as mentioned is more suited for advanced and tech divers, where cave diving is extremely popular. There are lots of underwater cave systems near Santo Domingo, Bayahibe and Playa Dorada, that offer mesmerising experiences for adventure-seekers.
Lastly, the beautiful sites around the area of Pedernales and Barahona. Here there’s a large bay that is protected, and a few islands dotted around nearby. This spot delivers sensational Caribbean diving, with pristine, untouched reefs, bustling with colorful marine life, along with a wealth of interesting topography, including caves and tunnels. You’ll experience diverse marine life here living among the healthy reef systems, as a result of the dive sites lacking human activity. The area has yet to become a hyped tourist hotspot, so definitely check it out before it becomes more popular.