The Dominican Republic: World’s Best Diving
Don’t look at the Dominican Republic as just another Caribbean dive spot.
Yes, it boasts some of the benefits typical in the Caribbean; the visibility ranges from 20 feet to 100 feet, usually at the high end, the water is warm enough to dive year-round with an overall average temperature of 77 Degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s got a ton of impressive wildlife to look at, some of which you won’t find anywhere else.
But, it has a lot to set it apart from the rest. For starters, the Dominican Republic is huge, and the massive shoreline provides a wide variety of diving spots for all levels, ranging from caves to reefs to shallows to wrecks. Second, not only is diving doable year-round, it’ll give you a different experience depending upon when you go.
Most importantly, the Dominican diving industry was created for divers by divers. Most of the islands best spots were discovered by long-time divers who knew that the tourism industry hadn’t realized the value of the island’s shores. As a result, you have a diving community crafted not by tourism companies looking to make a buck, but by divers wanting to give other divers the best experience possible.
We’ve listed some of the island’s best diving spots. If you’re looking for calm seas and high visibility, go to the North Coast during summer and the South Coast during Winter. And be careful—June through October mark the island’s hurricane seasons.
Puerto Plata and Sousa
For the most part, this list isn’t in any order. But, if it were, Puerto Plata and Sousa would be at the top.
These are the best diving spots on the Dominican Republic’s Northern Coast, and you’ll find them less than an hour from Villa Costa Norte. They’re close enough to be grouped in together, but they give you a wealth of options to work with.
Among the most notable is Lake Dudu, a crystal clear lake that’s home to eel, freshwater shrimp, and two dive-able caverns.
If you want something a little more interesting, there’s the Zingara wreck, a 20-year-old intentionally sunk vessel that now sits covered in corals. This can be affected by harsh currents, so be careful.
But, if you want a real thrill, we’d suggest heading to Airport Wall. Located near the airport, it’s one of the most exciting dives in the Dominican Republic. It’s a massive coral wall that runs as much as 35 meters deep, and the nearby caverns and tunnels house eagle rays and reef sharks.
You’ll find Boca Chica just outside of the country’s capital city of Santo Domingo. The area itself has beaches, restaurants, and bars, but they’re an afterthought compared to the diving you can find, here. Truth is, Boca Chica is one of the country’s most popular diving spots for locals, and it’s easy to see why. The bay area is protected, and a huge chunk of the area is actually an Underwater National Park.
Now, most of Boca Chica is shallow with calm currents, making it a good choice for beginners or experts who want an easy afternoon.
But, for those that want a little more adventure, the area’s history as a center of commerce in the New World has resulted in a ton of wrecks. While some of these lay in the shallows, there are several that sit at advanced depths, and the cave systems nearby will appeal to tec divers.
The only downside to Boca Chica is that most diving sites require a short speedboat ride to reach.
Popular among North American Divers, Bayahibe is vaguely reminiscent of everyone’s idea of a tropical island paradise—clear waters and white-sand beaches with shallow nearshore reefs, a pair of islands, and a decidedly nifty shipwreck.
Let’s talk about that for a minute; the shipwreck is titled the “Atlantic Princess.” It’s a much more accessible wreck, especially compared with the others on the Dominican Republic’s North Coast. It’s only a ten minute boat ride away from the village of Bayahibe itself. The wreck has something for people of all levels of experience, from colorful fish above, to spooky compartments within.
In general, however, Bayahibe does skew towards the easier dives, so take note.
We’ve listed three great dive spots, here. The Dominican Republic has dozens, and all of them boast as much in the way of attraction as what you’ve read about here. So, if you have any interest in diving, the DR is a must.
Written by Connor Johnson
Connor Johnson is a flexible content and copy writer located in the Boston area. He supplements his writing with in-depth research and general marketing skills. He can be contacted here.