With miles and miles of pristine and postcard-perfect beaches, it is no wonder that the Dominican Republic draws a large number of tourists from all over the world looking to vacation in a tropical paradise. Not surprisingly, many of these tourists are divers who are looking to visit some of the many dive sites dispersed along the coasts, many of which make diving in the Dominican Republic a worthwhile adventure. If you’re looking for dive spots that offer the best in Sosua, Biyahibe, or Punta Cana scuba diving, then the following list is for you.
1. 3 Rocks
3 Rocks are one of the most popular dive sites in the Dominican Republic and can be reached via a short boat ride from the coast of Sosua. It is also home to the coral nurseries of the Sosua Bay Rejuvenation Project. Although the dive site is most suitable for novice divers with the most basic scuba gear, many seasoned divers come back here from time to time because to enjoy the variety of marine life that abounds in the area. It is pretty common for divers to be greeted by a different species of tropical fish as they enter the water. There are schools of yellowtail snappers, sergeant majors, blue tangs, rays, and moray eels.
The Canyon is another popular dive site for those who are visiting Sosua Bay. The underwater topography of the inner reef is composed of a sandy sea bed and a huge rock pinnacle where you’ll find schools of fish swimming about. The landscape and the variety of tropical marine life in the area make it a perfect spot for underwater photography. There’s also plenty of light underwaters so you won’t need to bring your underwater camera strobes for this particular trip.
As you swim out from the shallows into the deeper parts of the water, you’ll pass by a split in the reef (hence the name “Canyon”). Here the open water starts to open up as you’re greeted or joined by French grunts. From here you can either follow the wall towards the cliffs of Los Charamicos or head in the opposite direction to visit the wreck of a little fishing boat known as Miguelina.
3. Zingara Wreck
The Zingara wreck is one of the many shipwreck diving spots in the Dominican Republic, but this one is pretty special since it is said that this 118 feet long cargo ship that was used to transport coffee and fruits around the Caribbean has been intentionally sunk near the coast of Sosua back in the early 1990s. Accordingly, it was salvaged from Puerto Plata and was sunk here specifically for recreational diving purposes. Anyhow, whatever the real purpose may be, divers are thankful because this man-made shipwreck dive spot is worth the drive. The wreck at present is covered in corals and sponges and is now home to an array of fish species. There are even giant barracudas and long green moray eels in the area.
However, the Zingara Wreck is reserved for advanced divers. If you’re certified, you can penetrate the stern and engine room in addition to exploring the surrounding underwater landscape.
4. Astron Wreck
Situated in the waters of the Punta Cana region, the Astron shipwreck is one of the most famous dive sites of the Dominican Republic. In fact, it is considered to be a must-see for divers who are planning to do some Punta Cana scuba diving. The 300 feet Russian ship which was built in France sank back in the late 1970s while en route to Cuba to deliver corn. The shipwreck is conveniently located not far from shore with its top being visible above the waters. For a shipwreck, the Astron is well-preserved and divers can get a good look at the structure from both the surface and under the water.
The shipwreck is home to a variety of aquatic flora and fauna. There are diverse coral formations and sponges from both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, filling the whole area with an array of shapes and colors. Divers will be swimming with barracudas, rays, yellowtail snappers, and plenty of different tropical fish species. Considering the wreck structure and the variety of underwater flora and fauna, you wouldn’t want to forget to bring along your underwater camera.
5. La Caleta National Underwater Park
La Caleta is the first underwater park in the Dominican Republic and is located about 20 kilometers from the capital city of Santo Domingo. The park provides a nice dive site especially for beginners because of the shallow coral reefs and the minimal current in the area on normal days. However, seasoned divers also visit the area, particularly the sloping walls that go as deep as 180 meters. Unlike other dive sites in the Dominican Republic and despite being a national marine park, there are few people and tourists in the area, which is kind of good since it helps in its preservation. However, there are also very few dive shops so you may want to bring your own scuba tank and diving gear.
There are several dive spots in La Caleta many of which are located within a short boat ride from the shore. There are shipwrecks near and around the area, but more often than not a day in the reefs is enough to satisfy most divers. There are lots of encrusting Orbicella corals and brain corals as well as a diverse range of hard coral species. There’s also an abundance of beautiful fleshy Mussa and Scolymia corals and a few colonies of the rare Dendrogyra cylindricus.
6. Coral Garden
Coral Garden is part of a narrow reef with good visibility and minimal current. These features along with shallow waters (maximum depth of around 14 meters) make it a good place for novice divers to explore. There is plenty of marine life to discover in this diving spot including butterflyfish, surgeonfish, trumpets, parrotfish, squirrels, soles, and many others. But of course, as can be gleaned from the name, the diverse array of corals is what makes this diving spot worth the visit. Here you’ll find a colorful reef filled with a collection of beautiful sponges, fans corals, brain coral, coral leaves, and others that create the perfect home for its inhabitants.
7. Cayo Arena
Cayo Arena also referred to as Cayo Paraiso, is located near Punta Rucia, a quaint fishing village that paints a postcard image of white sand beaches and thriving mangrove populations. A short boat ride will be necessary to reach the dive site offshore.
Cayo Arena boasts of a variety of features that will make any diver love this place. The clear turquoise waters offer good visibility and shallow waters that start at about 15 feet make this a great place for both novice divers and seasoned pros looking for a relaxing dive. Even children donning scuba gears for kids can safely go on a dive here. The area has an abundance of marine flora and fauna, with corals and sponges surrounding the cay. All around the place, divers can encounter several octopuses, crabs, surgeonfish, sergeant majors, yellowtail snappers, and a variety of other tropical fish as well.
8. St. George Wreck
St. Geroge shipwreck is situated half a mile off the coast of Dominicus and is one of the more popular diving sites in Bayahibe. The 200 feet ship was built back in the 1960s and was used to carry wheat and barley from Europe to the Caribbean but was abandoned in the Santo Domingo port after decades of use. In the late 1990s, the ship was sunk in Viva Dominicus beach and has now become an artificial reef that is home to an array of tropical fish in the area like barracudas, moray eels, king mackerels, groupers, and other fish species.
St. Geroge wreck is located over 100 feet underwater, which is why it is recommended only for advanced divers. During the colder months of the year, the deep waters can get quite cold so may want to consider wearing a diving drysuit.
9. Airport Wall
The Airport Wall located about 10 minutes away by boat from Sosua Bay is another favorite diving destination for many regular divers of various levels of certification. The wall dive begins at about 30 feet and drops to almost 100 feet below.
Airport wall is a popular diving site because it is considered to have one of the richest populations of marine flora and fauna in the Dominican Republic. The wall itself is covered with a variety of hard and soft corals as well as sea whips which along with the cracks and protrusions in the wall provide a sanctuary for the shrimps, crabs, and small tropical fish in the area. Swim away from the wall and towards the open waters and you’re likely to see barracudas, eagle rays, and reef sharks swimming in the distance. There are also several pinnacles and tunnels in the area, some of which are safe to explore.
10. Five Rocks
What’s better than diving in 3 Rocks? Well, how about diving in 5 rocks! Situated between the Sosua Bay and the Airport Wall, Five Rocks is composed of five large coral rocks that accumulated naturally and are distributed around the reef. Divers need to take a short boat ride to reach the site.
Considering the topography of the area, it is but natural to find a variety of aquatic plants and animals thriving in the area. There is a wide variety of barrel and tube sponges and a myriad of corals of varying shapes and colors that cover the area providing a suitable environment for moray eels, crabs, lobsters, octopuses, and many schools of fish.
Globo Surf Overview
Diving in the Dominican Republic is certainly an epic adventure that one would not easily forget. With the abundance of diving sites that vary from colorful reefs and shipwrecks sprawling with marine flora and fauna, divers will not be left disappointed. Just keep in mind that some of these dives will require advanced diving certifications, but a majority of them are open to divers of differing levels. So whether you’re a seasoned diver or a novice just wanting to give scuba diving a try, you’re bound to find a dive spot in the Dominican Republic that is suitable for you.
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