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Written by Scuba Divers ~ DIVEIN.com's Complete Guide to:

The Best Diving in Dominican Republic

Weather in Dominican Republic

AVERAGE TEMP. — 29°C / 84°F RAINFALL DAYS — 112mm / 4.4 inches

Water in Dominican Republic

AVERAGE WATER TEMP. — 29°C / 84°F

Currency

Dominican peso (DOP)
w

Language

Spanish
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The authors:

torben lonne

Katt Andryskova

Scuba Instructor and Writer at Divein
When Katt is not traveling, she's sharing her thought on Oceanpancake or My Vegan Experiment 

The second largest and possibly the most diverse Caribbean country, the Dominican Republic is a paradise for scuba diver and nature lovers.

It is a mere two-hour flight south of Miami, or a short 4-hour flight from New York. It has that spectacular combination of pristine nature, vibrant country, and a rich history meaning that any visitor will have plenty to do on this Island in the Caribbean.

 

Scuba Diving in the Dominican Republic

Apart from a beach holiday getaway, the Dominican Republic is a prime destination for scuba divers looking to experience the beauty of Caribbean reefs and wrecks.

There is an enormous variety of diving offered all around the Dominican Republic, including one of the best spots to swim with whales in the world.

So, pack your dive computer, and mask and prepare for an adventure you will never forget! Since there are so many fantastic dive sites to from, here we have listed the top ten dive spots in the Dominican Republic.

The 15 Best Dive sites in Dominican Republic?

Sort this list to fit your scuba level and wishes

Recommended Level


  1. Beginner
  2. Intermediate
  3. Advanced

Dive Type


  1. Coral Reef
  2. Wreck Dive
  3. Snorkel Friendly
  4. Macro
  5. Caverns
  6. Sharks
  7. Megafauna
  8. Deep
  9. Wall
  10. Current
  11. Experienced Dive
  12. Boat dive
  13. Artificial Reef
  14. Beginner Dive
  15. Shallow Dive
  16. Sandy Bottom

Show only the very best


  1. Yes
  2. No

Hickory and Limon, Boca Chica

These two wrecks are located close together within the underwater national park. The Hickory is a 144ft (44m) long freighter which is now resting on the shallow flat sandy bottom. The Limon, on the other hand, is a 70 ft (21m) tugboat that was purposefully sunk near coral reefs for diving.

  • Two wrecks close together ideal for wreck divers
  • Shallow dives meaning beginners can enjoy the divers
  • Abundant coral reefs and marine species surrounding both wrecks

What you will see:

Both wrecks have attracted significant marine life, and you can enjoy swimming around and admiring the sponges and encrusting corals that have begun to colonize their skeletons. There is also plenty of tropical reef fish including sergeant fish, butterfly fish, bat fish, and the occasional lionfish found in the wreck.


Beginner Coral Reef Wreck Dive Snorkel Friendly Experienced Dive Boat dive

Cayo Reef, Paradise Island

Paradise island is aptly named, as it is a pristine paradise atoll located in the Northern Province of Monte Cristi. It is located in a bay surrounded by mangroves, mountains, and diverse vegetation. It is extremely secluded meaning the reefs are in pristine condition as can be seen by the enormous sea fans swaying in the currents.

  • Paradise above and below water
  • Enormous schools of fish everywhere you look
  • Vibrant and healthy coral structures

What you will see:

This barely explored area is a paradise for divers, as it has a unique marine ecosystem that is difficult to reach, but worth the trip for any diver. There are massive schools of surgeon fish, yellow sergeant fish, surgeon fish, yellow tail snappers, and other fish swimming around. The coral on the reef is brightly colored and offers a great overview of the Dominican Republic waters biodiversity.


Beginner Coral Reef Wreck Dive Snorkel Friendly Macro Caverns Our Favorite

La Sirena, Santo Domingo & Boca Chica

While there are many beautiful reefs in this area, Santo Domingo is best known for being the place where divers have the easiest access to wrecks in the La Caleta Underwater National Park. La Sirena is reputed to be the best cave dives in the world, and perfect for cavern training opportunities. However, if you want to explore some truly exquisitely grown artificial reef then add this national park to you must visit destination, make sure to bring your dive torch to get the best possible views of the caves and wrecks. Other popular dive sites near by are the sunken ships from the 20th century named Hickory and the UFO.

  • Easy access to a large variety of wrecks
  • Get access to the La Sirena Cave
  • Great amount of biodiversity in the wrecks, caves, and reef systems

What you will see:

The cavern features incredible visibility with it reaches almost 200 feet. The beauty of wrecks is the juxtaposition of the manmade structure being taken over by the underwater natural world. The ship skeletons have been lying on the bottom of the ocean for decades, which is more than enough time for coral reef systems to have developed on the metal. Instead of a massive, mono- colored ship, the area is now flourishing with life with many marine species seeking refuge in the cabins and engine rooms.


Beginner Intermediate Coral Reef Wreck Dive Macro Caverns Current Boat dive

Penon Reef, Saona Island

The national park on the Eastern Southern coast of Dominican Republic are the home to an extraordinary variety of wildlife and thriving corals. Penon reef is lesser known than other reefs in the area, however it’s healthy coral formations and sheer volume of life has made it one of the best dive spots in the country. The name “Penon” means rock, and comes from the large amount of rocks covering the side walls.

  • Exquisitely diverse coral species and marine animals
  • Shallow and easy diving
  • A resident spotted moray eel enjoys peeping out at divers when they visit

What you will see:

Apart from the spotted moray eel, you will also see large amounts of reef fish swirling around the colorful reef. If you are lucky, you might be able to spot some glowing calamari, hidden away scorpion fish, and sting rays cruising through the blue.


Beginner Coral Reef Snorkel Friendly Macro Caverns Sharks Our Favorite

Tunnel Reef, Juan Dolio

Impressive rock formations are what this area of the Dominican Republic is known for, with Tunnel Reef being one of the dive sites featuring extraordinary rock formations and tunnels. Advanced divers will enjoy exploring this area, and swimming through the fascinating topography in this underwater world.

  • Impressive underwater rock formations
  • One of the best of the 20 dive sites near Juan Dolio

What you will see:

The rock formations make a vast and diverse habitat for many marine creatures. If you bring your flashlight, you will be able to see into the cracks and crevice’s where invertebrates hide during the daytime. There are also plenty of turtles who swim around this reef, and if you are lucky, you will see some other megafauna cruising by.


Beginner Intermediate Coral Reef Snorkel Friendly Boat dive Shallow Dive

La Cueva, Punta Cana

With visibility ranging up to 115 ft (30m), you cannot go wrong with exploring the waters of Punta Cana. There are over 24 well known dive sited in this area, with depths ranging from 26 – 80 feet. The minimal current, shallow reefs, and enormous amount of fish life will have divers of any diving certification happy to explore the area. The sea conditions are frequently glassy

  • Healthy and thriving coral reefs
  • Easy dive site for most dive certification
  • Gentle swell allowing you to explore the underwater wonderland

What you will see:

This dive site has sea grass, hard and soft corals, waving fans in the currents, and crystal-clear visibility. The reef is teeming with fish life including butterfly fish, surgeon fish, lobsters, turtles, and conditions that make you feel like you are in an aquarium. See if you can spot some pipefish, puffer fish, sea urchins, or eels hiding among the corals. There are also chances to see nurse sharks, rays, stingrays, and fascinating creatures hiding in the caverns.


Beginner Intermediate Advanced Coral Reef Snorkel Friendly Macro Caverns Sharks Our Favorite

Airport Wall, Puerto Plata & Sosua

Another fantastic destination for diving in the Dominican Republic is around Puerto Plata and Sosua. For beginners, it is advisable to stay in the protected waters of Sosúa, while advanced divers will love the deep walls near Puerto Plata. There are over 20 dive sites in the area, with airport wall being located at the foot of the airport runway and providing incredible biodiversity. These areas are known for having an incredible biodiversity of marine life as well as some spectacular wrecks and reefs. Great surface conditions, minimal current makes this destination a great place to dive for beginners and experts alike.

  • A dive site where you can swim with Humpback Whales
  • Diverse dive sites featuring wrecks and reefs
  • Calm waters and great visibility

What you will see:

If you want to see humpback whales, then make sure to head over to Puerta Plata and Sosua to try your luck. Humpback whales are migratory creatures who travel to warm temperate waters during the winter months to breed and give birth, before returning to the cold arctic waters to feed. Get your chance to swim with these majestic mammals in the warm Caribbean waters.


Intermediate Advanced Coral Reef Snorkel Friendly Megafauna Deep Wall Our Favorite

Saint George, Bayahibe

From this dive destination, you will be able to take the boat to dive sites off Catalina Island, and Saona Island which has miles of fringing reef. There are over 22 dive sites within easy reach of the small fishing village. Above the surface of the water, you will see glassy surface conditions, clear visibility, and the warm sun rays. Beneath the waves is a thriving ecosystem. The Saint George wreck was sunk in 1999, and is now a 262 ft (80m) long freighter lying deep under the ocean.

  • Great variety of dive sites in both shallow and deeper reef systems
  • Shipwrecks are abundant in this area, allowing divers to explore these sunken treasures
  • Chance to see the rare and beautiful Manatee

What you will see:

The Caribbean Sea and thriving reefs will have divers exploring the shallow nearshore reefs, or the deeper offshore reefs from the islands. There the Saint George is a famous local shipwreck which was sunk purposefully for diving. The shipwreck attracts pelagic fish, rays, and the occasional turtle. The real highlight for most divers is the occasional manatee that is spotted in this area.


Advanced Coral Reef Snorkel Friendly Megafauna Current Experienced Dive Boat dive Our Favorite

Piedra Bonita, Samaná

There is a large amount of dive sites located around the Samana Peninsula which is well known for its resort towns and beautiful beaches. Piedra Bonita provides some of the best corals for eager divers, however a minimum of an Advanced certification is required. Otherwise, the dive operators in this area provide options for beginner divers, advanced divers, along with snorkeling tours. Simply choose whether you would like to see wrecks, caves, or magnificent coral reefs.

  • Place to see megafauna such as Eagle Rays
  • Opportunity to dive wrecks or caves
  • Humpbacks are seen here during whale season.

What you will see:

During whale season, whale watching expeditions leave daily from the Samana peninsula to give visitors the opportunity to see these magnificent gentle giants. There are also chances to spot eagle rays, sting rays, barracudas, and turtles! Apart from whales, throughout the year, you are able to visit a large variety of caves with cave dwelling creatures. There are also plenty of wrecks which have become part of the reef system with soft, hard, and fan corals growing on the manmade structure.


Intermediate Advanced Coral Reef Wreck Dive Snorkel Friendly Macro Caverns Megafauna Boat dive Artificial Reef

Luperon Wall, North Coast

This advanced dive features an incredible biodiversity of coral and marine species on the steep wall dive. The wall is covered in hard corals along with colorful sponges all looking beautiful in the clear water. The wall descends down to the deep, and currents can appear, so it is recommended for advanced divers only.

  • One of the best wall dives in the Dominican Republic
  • The deep blue water attracts manta rays and other megafauna
  • Can have currents and large depths

What you will see:

Along the extraordinary coral diversity, this is also a great dive site to spot passing manta rays, some of the species of turtles, and eagle rays. The coral reef is also a home to eels, barracuda, and groupers. So, grab your camera and snap some photos of this beautiful site!


Advanced Coral Reef Snorkel Friendly Wall Experienced Dive Boat dive

Atlantic Princess, Bahayibe

An easily accessible and stunning shipwreck, the Atlantic Princess is at a depth of 45 feet and can accommodate all diving levels. It is only a 10-minute boat ride from the fishing village of Bahayibe. The Atlantic Princess is an old passenger liner that is 99 ft (30m) long and sank in May 2009. Unfortunately, recent storms have damaged the wreck, with the top of the wreck being destroyed completed.

  • Easily accessible wreck
  • Ideal for any level of scuba diving
  • Allows penetration into the wreck for advanced divers

What you will see:

Beginner divers can stay near the surface admiring the schools of fish which swirl around the underwater structures while experienced divers have the chance for penetration diving. The wreck offers various compartments divers can swim through for a spooky and exciting dive. The wreck itself is now overgrown with corals and has many species of fish swimming around inside and outside. It’s a great place to practice photography as the juxtaposition of marine life and a sunken ship. See if you can spot some Nudibranchs!


Beginner Coral Reef Wreck Dive Snorkel Friendly Experienced Dive Boat dive Beginner Dive

Tortuga Reef, Juan Dolio

Overall, there are over 20 dive sites near Juan Dolio, with some of the highlights including Tortuga Reef, the Tanya V shipwreck and the little wall a small distance from the shore. There are several other shipwrecks which sank here a few decades ago, meaning keen wreck divers will have plenty to explore. Unfortunately, due to the proximity to the nearby river, the conditions of the dive site are dependent on rainfall. If rainfall occurred recently, it could flush out sediment from the river and decrease visibility on the wrecks.

  • Variable visibility dependent on rainfall
  • Historic wreck sites with plenty of coral growth and fish life
  • Ideal spot for your advanced dive course and wreck specialties

What you will see:

In this shallow dive site, you will have the chance to spot a sea horse, octopus, scorpion fish and other masters of camouflage. There are also large schools of tarpon, pelagic fish, and shimmering schools of fusiliers.


Beginner Coral Reef Snorkel Friendly Boat dive Shallow Dive

Dos Cocos, La Romana & Saona Island

If you get seasick, then maybe this is the ideal destination for you as La Romana is known to have the calmest waters in the Dominican Republic. From here you also have access to Catalina and Saona Islands which have beautiful fringing reefs, wrecks, and an abundance of marine life.

  • Calm waters all year round
  • Beautiful and healthy coral reefs
  • Fantastic spot to practice your macro photography

What you will see:

These coral reefs are teeming with life, and you can expect to see everything from surgeon fish, butterfly fish, needle fish, camouflaged scorpion fish and more. Above the coral reefs, four of the seven species of marine turtles can be spotted including the leatherback, loggerhead, hawksbill, and green turtle! On your journey to and from the dive sites, keep your eyes peeled for whales and dolphins, as some are curious and come up to the boat to say hello.


Beginner Coral Reef Snorkel Friendly Boat dive Shallow Dive

Guaraguao, Parque Nacional Del Este

This dive site is only a 2-minute boat ride from the coast, so it’s perfect for people who get sea sick or do not want to spend a long time on the boat. It is a shallow dive site with no current, making it perfect for an Open Water Course, or a refresher dive at the beginning of your trip.

  • 2-minute boat trip from the shore
  • Purposefully sunk historic items from a galley for divers to explore
  • Large chance of seeing hawksbill turtles swimming around

What you will see:

There is an artificial archeological site where cannons, ancient muskets, and cannon balls were purposefully sunk for divers to check out while underwater. These items have attracted fish life, and now offer a great photo opportunity for divers. There are also plenty of spider crabs, sea cucumbers, and king crabs crawling around.


Beginner Coral Reef Snorkel Friendly Boat dive Artificial Reef Shallow Dive Sandy Bottom

The Aquarium, Catalina Island

The Catalina island is a national park located a mere 5 miles off the southern coast of the Dominican Republic. It is best known for being a haven for many of the incredible species inhabiting the Dominican Republic’s waters. The Aquarium is a dive spot at 40 feet making it great for novice and experienced divers alike.

  • National Park protected Status
  • Mere 5 miles off the coast of the Dominican Republic
  • Great place to spot rays and barracudas

What you will see:

Along with the usual suspects of puffer fish, yellow trumpet fish, angel fish, and a variety of other reef fish. You can spot sting rays and massive schools of barracudas gathering around this dive site.


Beginner Coral Reef Snorkel Friendly Boat dive Shallow Dive

Did you find your favorite dive spot? If not, let us know in the comments below. 

Traveling to Dominican Republic

It is no surprise that it is the most visited destination in the Caribbean, with year-round golf courses, the tallest mountain peak in the Caribbean, largest lake, and lowest elevation in this moderately sized country. You will certainly have a fun filled holiday with dance, music, exotic foods, flowing drinks, and stunning architecture to inspire you on your vacation.

Best Time to Visit The Dominican Republic

The best time to visit the Dominican Republic is between December and April. This time of the year promises ideal weather conditions with warm water and air temperatures. The second tourist season is July and august, when the temperatures rise and travelers from the Northern Hemisphere flock to the resorts and hotels. The Dominican Republic is located within the Caribbean hurricane belt and does get hit by a strong storm once every ten years. These storms are most likely to occur in August and September so keep that in mind when planning your holiday. The water conditions are warm and clear all year round, so you really cannot go wrong when booking your dive trip! June to November are the prime times to see humpback whales!

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