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Scuba diving in Samaná

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

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.

El Dudu Caverns

A two hour drive from Puerto Plata, the crystal clear Lake Dudu is home to eel, freshwater shrimp and several fish species two diveable caverns.

Manatee Sightings

In Samana Bay, keep your eyes peeled for the manatees that live nearby. They are often seen surfacing near boats and docks. Jump in to snorkel with them.

Wreck Diving in Samana Bay

Scattered along the north and south side of the peninsula are modern wrecks perfect for diving. Check out the Dolphin, Barco Hundido and Jet Ski wrecks.

Diving in Samaná

Quick facts

Diving on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic is far different from that of the southern coast. The Atlantic Ocean tends to be rougher than the Caribbean Sea and the visibility is severely impacted. However, Samana Bay and nearby Las Galeras and Las Terrenas have become popular diving destinations as a consequence of their above-the-water appeal. In most of the areas frequented by dive shops, the current is minimal. With that said, the shallower reefs have been badly damaged by harmful fishing practices. To get the most out of diving in the area, an advanced certification is necessary. In deeper waters with sometimes stronger current, you’ll find healthy coral towers, modern wrecks and a few caves to explore. Tec divers may also wish to explore the inland freshwater cave system.

Most of the diving in Samana takes place from small speedboats. If you are prone to seasickness, pick a dive operator who utilizes a catamaran or trimaran. These will forge through the rough seas with ease.

Finally, keep in mind that insurance is mandatory for anyone who wants to dive in the Dominican Republic.

When to go

Diving from the Samana Peninsula is fantastic year-round. June to November have uncrowded dive sites whereas December to May is best for humpbacks.

June to November

Samana 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. The run-off from the rivers caused by the rain can have a hugely negative impact on visibility. 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 if you are prone to seasickness.

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 are prone to seasickness, book your trip from June to November.

December to May

December to May is the dry season in Samana. During these months, you can expect sunny, hot and mildly humid conditions. At this time of year, winter squalls move through the northern coast creating rough seas and heavy surges.

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

On the other hand, 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 Dominican Republic. Therefore, you should book early to get a good deal on accommodation and flights.

If you wish to see 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

Las Galeras offers the best underwater conditions in Samana. Las Terrenas also has several dive shops. You’ll find the fewest options in Samana City.

    Pricing on request
    USD 50Per dive

    Snorkeling in Samaná

    Samana is not known for its snorkeling, but it is becoming an increasingly popular activity. Most resorts will rent out snorkel gear to those who simply want to swim out from the beach. If this is your plan, avoid the Portillo area as much of the coral offshore is dead. Las Galeras and Cayacoa are good options.
    The majority of dive sites around the Samana Peninsula are near to Las Galeras, Las Terrenas and El Portillo. Most of the coral reef diving and humpback whale sightings take place near Las Galeras. You might hear whales at Piedra Solitaria, Fronton or Los Carriles. The best corals are found off of Cabo Cabrón at sites such as Piedra Bonita, Tibisi I and II and Puerto Malo. Cueva de Chopa offers the chance to experience some easy cave diving in the vicinity. For wreck diving near Las Galeras, check out Barco Hundido. Alternatively head to Las Terrenas where you can dive the Dolphin Wreck or the Jet Skis.

    What to see

    Much of the Dominican Republic’s marine life is threatened by overexposure and harmful underwater practices. However, steps are being taken to create protected marine areas in the hope that plentiful marine life will soon return.

    One of the most exciting things to see in Samana are the manatees. These loveable creatures can often be spotted surfacing near boats and docks. You might also get the chance to witness the majesty of a humpback whale on your way to a dive site or hear them while under water.

    In addition, Samana hosts stingrays, eagle rays, reef sharks, barracuda, small schools of fish, moray eels and crabs. Of course, the invasive lionfish has created issues for the local ecosystem. If spotted, expect the dive master to kill this poisonous species.

    Calendar

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    Most likely sightingsPossible sightings
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