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Scuba diving in Dominican Republic

With miles of pristine beach, the Dominican Republic is a favorite destination for divers in search of a Caribbean reefs, wrecks and humpback whales.
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Pedernales and Barahona

Just beginning to be explored, Pedernales and Barahona offer scuba divers the chance to discover untouched coral reefs and a wide array of marine life.

La Caleta National Underwater Park

Within the Park, two sunken ships, the Hickory and the Limon, lie within recreational limits. The Limon is today surrounded by healthy coral reef.

Cave Diving

Three water-filled cave systems near Santo Domingo, Bayahibe and Playa Dorada are ripe for exploration by tec divers. Several local guides can assist.

Humpbacks in the Silver Banks

From December to April every year, humpback whales migrate near the island to calve and begin another mating season. The males put on a spectacular show.

Diving in Dominican Republic

Quick facts

Diving in the Dominican Republic is easy and trouble free. There are many dive operators that don’t plan their excursions but wait to find out from the occupants of the boats where they would prefer to go. Because some of the waters around the island are not always calm, the boats are generally catamarans and trimarans to help with the stability of the journey.

Underwater environments in the Dominican Republic include mangrove forests, deep wrecks and a vast reef structure featuring cavernous swim-throughs and extensive coral formations. Many of the dive sites are suitable to beginners and many of the island’s resorts offer discovery dives for those that have never blown bubbles before. However, beginners will feel most comfortable on the southern coast where currents are calmer. Advanced divers can explore both coasts as well as the deep wrecks and walls.

Keep in mind that insurance is mandatory for anyone who wants to dive in this country.

When to go

Diving in the Dominican Republic is fantastic year-round. June to November have uncrowded dive sites whereas December to May is best for humpbacks.

June to November

The Dominican Republic enjoys a hot and humid climate year-round, although June to November is considered the rainy season. It usually rains once a day, every day but for only short periods of time. However, the summer months bring the calmest seas to the northern coast, meaning this is the best time to dive this part of the country.

June to November is also hurricane season. If you are planning a trip to the Caribbean during these months, consider taking out travelers insurance on the off chance a hurricane forms during your vacation. In recent years, the DR has not sustained a direct hit from a hurricane, but several pass nearby annually.

Air temperatures during the summer months range from 77-85°F (25-30°C) while water temperatures are 79-83°F (26-28°C).

Because June to November is considered the rainy season, this is also the low season in the Dominican Republic. If you choose to dive in these months, you’re sure to get a great deal on flights and accommodation.

If you enjoy getting the best deals, diving at uncrowded dive sites or wish to visit the northern coast, book your trip from June to November.

December to May

December to May is the dry season in the Dominican Republic. During these summer months, you can expect sunny, hot and mildly humid conditions. This is also the best time of year to dive on the south coast as the seas are calmest there during the winter months.

Air temperatures during the winter months range from 70-80°F (21-26°C) while water temperatures are 75-79°F (24-26°C).

In addition to great topside conditions for the southern coast, December to March is the best time to dive while listening to humpback whales. This is the time of year the island plays host to the humpback whales who migrate from the North Atlantic to the shores of Bavaro and calve in the bay at Samana. As the males are there to impress their females during this season they are incredibly active and often present a spectacular show of splashing and rearing.

However, December to May also represents high season for tourism in the Caribbean. Therefore, you should book early to get a good deal on accommodation and flights.

If you wish to dive on the southern coast or see the mating rituals of humpback whales, book your holiday between December and May.

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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Where to dive

Because of prevailing wind patterns, the calmest dive sites are found in Juan Dolio, Boca Chica and Bayahibe. The Samana Peninsula has advanced dives.

  • Bayahibe

    Bayahibe allows access to Catalina Island, Saona Island and miles of fringing reef. Come here to relax, leave with an abundance of diving memories.

  • Juan Dolio

    On the protected southern coast of the Dominican Republic, Juan Dolio attracts divers with its abundant and colorful marine life and historic wrecks.

  • La Romana & Saona Island

    With the calmest waters in the Dominican Republic, Diving in La Romana offers access to Catalina and Saona Islands, wrecks and miles of fringing reef.

  • Puerto Plata & Sosúa

    The premier scuba diving destination on the Dominican Republic’s north coast, Puerto Plata and nearby Sosúa are home to humpbacks, wrecks and reefs.

  • Punta Cana

    Named for its cane palm-lined beaches, Punta Cana features dive sites on coral reefs, intricate wrecks and a cavern or two for the adventurous.

  • Samaná

    The Samana Peninsula includes several resort towns with pristine beaches and decent dive operations to take you to wrecks, caves and coral formations.

  • Santo Domingo & Boca Chica

    On the protected south coast of the Dominican Republic, diving Santo Domingo, the capital, and Boca Chica offers pleasant reefs and historical wrecks.

USD 1,911Per trip
USD 1,911Per trip

Snorkeling in Dominican Republic

Most snorkelers will want to stick to the Dominican Republic’s southern coast in order to enjoy the calm and protected waters of the Caribbean Sea. The most beautiful onshore snorkeling sites are at La Romana and Sosua. You may also wish to consider a day trip to Isla Catalina, Isla Saona or the Silver Bank during humpback whale season.
There are several interesting sites in each of the Dominican Republic’s dive areas. For example, Boca Chica allows easy access to the Hickory and Limon in La Caleta National Park as well as La Sirena Cave. On the other hand, Sousa is home to The Canyon, an underwater garden full of macro life. Punta Cana has La Cueva, a beginner’s dive with lots of caverns to explore, and the Monica, a wood-hulled railway cargo ship. La Romana allows access to the Isla Catalina dive sites, namely The Wall and The Aquarium, both of which feature lush coral gardens and abundant fish species. Finally, in the far southeast, you’ll find the relatively untouched sites of Pedernales and Barahona which also have pristine corals and a huge diversity of life.

What to see

The marine life in the Dominican Republic is populated by four species of marine turtles, namely the leatherback, green, loggerhead and hawksbill. These sea turtles are regularly spotted on the colorful reefs. Also commonly spotted are tropical fish species from grazing parrotfish to butterfly and angelfish. In the warm waters near the estuaries, live the manatees which form a special treat for the few divers who spot them. In the deeper water, barracudas are often seen and a lucky few may see sharks such as the hammerhead. Whales can be watched nursing their young at SilverBank near Samana Bay.


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Most likely sightingsPossible sightings
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