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.
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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.
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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