La Altagracia Province Diving

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.


If white sandy beaches, relaxing kaleidoscopic reefs, pumping drifts, freshwater caves, plunging walls and eerie shipwrecks jolt your diving senses, look no further than Bayahibe, where all of this and more is on offer year-round.

Punta Cana

From singing humpback whales, encrusted wrecks and exciting night dives, to shallow coral gardens and vibrant reef diving on the Dominican Republic’s longest reef, it’s no surprise that Punta Cana is often cited among the top underwater hotspots in the Caribbean.


Diving in the La Altagracia Province

La Altagracia Province situated on the east coast of the Dominican Republic is a popular diving destination that is suitable for all skill levels. Dotted with dive centers and dive resorts offering trips and dive courses catering to every budget, there’s something for everyone. Higuey is the capital city of the region, where plentiful operators are based.

Within the province there are several major diving areas where all kinds of diving is possible. Shallow reefs, freshwater caves, wrecks and exciting drift diving attract adventure-seekers from around the globe.

Firstly, there’s Punta Cana, which plays host to magnificent coral reefs and shallow dive sites. Nestled where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea, these corals form an enormous barrier reef that stretches north to Bavaro, where even more dive sites await.

Saona Island offers amazing diving, including mangrove forests, shipwrecks, fast-paced drifts, freshwater caves, reefs, swim-throughs and underwater cliffs. It’s also possible to spot nurse sharks here.

The uninhabited island of Catalina has two main dive sites, which are pelagic hotspots. Now a designated protected area, the island and its underwater life continues to thrive.

Bayahibe is also a great location for divers, where scuba diving is relaxing and easy. Many reefs lie just offshore on the sheltered side of Saona Island, where currents are minimal. Advanced divers will find the stronger currents at Catalina Island, Shark Point and Saona’s west side exciting. Santo Domingo also entails cave diving for tec divers.

As a whole, boat diving is common practice, and a few liveaboards prowl the area. Some operators use catamarans for trips to Catalina Island.

Scuba diving in La Altagracia province is great year-round thanks to its Caribbean tropical climate that maintains 26°C-28°C waters. However, the best time to dive is from March until July, when seas and calm and visibility is at its clearest. 

Best places to dive

Whilst technically not in La Altagracia, nearby Catalina Island is a protected national park, boasting two unforgettable dive sites that are magnets for pelagics, in addition to a wealth of stunning corals and tropical fish. The Wall and The Aquarium, are the two main diving spots, which feature kaleidoscopic coral gardens and prolific fish action. 

Saona Island entails beautiful sights for both divers and snorkelers. There are several shallow sandbars to explore, and drift diving here promises even more excitement to those with experience. Three commonly dived sites are El Faro, La Parguera and Shark Point. Also, when diving here, keep an eye out for nurse sharks.

Just offshore of Bayahibe, there’s the Saint George wreck. Purposely sank, it now serves as an artificial reef that hosts a ton of diverse marine species. The 73 meter-long freighter rests between 22 and 40 meters, making it perfectly suited to advancer divers.

Along the barrier reef off Bavaro, top sites include Cuevitas and Coral Garden, and there are also the world-famous wrecks of the Astron and Monica. 

Wreck fanatics should also visit Punta Cana, where there’s The Enriquillo and Patricia, which are easily accessible due to shallow depths.

In the Parque Nacional del Este, the fringing coral reefs provide a haven for volumes of diverse marine life. Favourite sites here includeDos Cocos, La Tortuga and Aquarium Profundo.

Other famous sites to add to your to-do list include Viva Shallow, Dominicus Reef and Magallanes.