Dominican Republic

    The Dominican Republic (or “the DR” as it is frequently called) is a mountainous, lush country that comprises the eastern half of the island of Hispaniola. It has been a popular Caribbean escape since Christopher Columbus first set foot on its shores in 1492. With nine distinct ecological regions, the island attracts scuba divers, hikers, cavers, birders and culture hounds. From December to April the famed offshore region of the Silver Bank fills with the haunting melody of whale song, as humpback whales come to calve. There’s a wonderful array of scuba diving sites off every coast including vibrant, fishy reefs, light beam-filled caverns and a long list of brag-worthy wrecks, both natural and purpose-sunk. Warm water and generally good visibility make most of the Dominican Republic a year-round destination. Most resorts are all-inclusive, and in addition to the island’s fascinating fauna, you can explore the colonial architecture of Santo Domingo or join a conversation about the national sport – American baseball.

    Great Dives

    • La Cueva, Punta Cana – A shallow dive that offers a fascinating collection of caverns and swim-throughs. Look for nurse sharks and stingrays.
    • Monica, Punta Cana – Sunk in a storm about 90 years ago, the remains of this wooden-hulled railway cargo ship harbor railway ties, sugar plantation machinery and hoards of squirrelfish.
    • Hickory and Limon, Boca Chica – Located close together in an underwater national park, the famous Hickory, a 44-metre/144-foot long freighter, rests on a flat sand bottom and the Limon, a 21-metre/70-foot long purpose-sunk tug boat, is surrounded by coral reef. These two wrecks are home to colorful tropical fish and an impressive collection of sponges and encrusting corals.
    • Catalina Island – This small offshore island is an uninhabited nature reserve and national park. It has two main dive sites – The Wall starts at about 6 metres/20 feet and drops to 30 metres/100 feet. Black corals and sponges abound, and it’s a hot spot for passing pelagics. The shallower site, called Aquarium, is only 12 metres/40 feet deep and is full of vibrant marine life.
    • Pedernales and Barahona – The area is just beginning to be explored, but it offers a pure, pristine, Caribbean dive experience. A large protected bay and a few offshore islands offer unspoiled reefs, caverns and a huge diversity of underwater life.
    • Luperon Wall, North Coast – This advanced dive showcases just how lush a Caribbean wall can be. It’s covered in hard corals, an array of sponges and is home to eels, barracuda and grouper. It’s also a favorite stomping ground for passing mantas, turtles and eagle rays. It may be the best wall dive in the north coast.

    Want to know more? Visit ScubaEarth® for further information on thousands of dive sites, marine species, destination essentials and more.

    Dive Summary

    Visibility – Depending on area and time of year, visibility can range from 6 metres/20 feet to more than 30 metres/100 feet.

    Water Temperature – On the Caribbean side of the island, water temperature averages 28°C/83°F in summer and 24°C/76°F in winter. On the eastern Atlantic side it is just slightly cooler with averages of 27°C/81°F in summer and 24°C/75°F in winter.

    Weather – Diving is available throughout the year. On the north coast, summer brings calmer seas and better visibility while winter holds better sea conditions on the south coast. The average temperature across the year is about 25°C/77°F. Summers are hot and humid while the winter months are cool and breezy. June through October is the Caribbean’s hurricane season.

    Featured Creatures – Humpback whales migrate past the DR in February and March to calve and breed in the warm waters of the Silver Bank. You can snorkel with these magnificent creatures on special charters. Manatees often surface near boats and docks, especially in Samana Bay. You can also find eagle rays, eels, butterflyfish, barracuda, nurse sharks, jacks and turtles depending on your dive location and time of year.

    Recommended Training – Take the PADI Wreck Diver, PADI Deep Diver and PADI Digital Underwater Photographer courses to get the most out of diving in the Dominican Republic.

    Travel Info

    Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.

    Language – Spanish is the primary language but English, French and German are also spoken in tourist areas.

    Currency – Dominican Peso (DOP). But United States Dollars, Euros and credit cards are also widely accepted.

    Major Airports – Serviced by many airports: Punta Cana International Airport, Las Américas-JFPG International Airport, La Isabela International Airport , Cibao International Airport, Gregorio Luperón International Airport and Arroyo Barril International Airport, you’ll have no problem arriving in the DR.

    Electricity and Internet – 110 volts, 60Hz. Internet is available at most resorts.

    Topside Attractions – Visit Old Town in Santo Domingo, including the Columbus House built by Christopher Columbus’ son. Hike, raft and tour through the national parks and scientific reserves that cover more than 25 percent of the landscape.

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