Diving in the Dominican Republic
Understanding your dive options in the Dominican Republic
Over the years the Dominican Republic has received a reputation for terrible scuba diving. Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth! This bad rap is attributed to the fact that most reviews have focused on diving the Atlantic Coast side of the country. While it is true that throughout the years, excessive, unsustainable fishing along with increasingly strong hurricanes and tropical storms have wreaked havoc on the reefs located along the coast of Bavaro, there remain beautiful dive sites worth your time on the southern coast of the country.
Driving due south from the Punta Cana airport for roughly 45 minutes will bring you to the sleepy fishing village of Bayahibe, where you will be pleasantly surprised. There, nestled just below the waves, beautiful coral reefs await your visit.
Let’s take a closer look…
The Caribbean Sea South Coast of the Dominican Republic
Whilst Punta Cana boasts the longest powdery white sand beach of 27 Kilometers, the Caribbean side is home to the best diving sites.
The waters here are generally much calmer and much clearer. The winds rarely blow from South to North here, therefore we do not contend with many rough surface days on the Caribbean sea side of the country.
With over 25 magnificent and diverse dive sites to choose from, we are pleased to offer something for every dive level from beginner to professional.
Visibility on our best days is as high as 120 feet. Currents on most dive sites are minimal, making for great diving conditions.
The variety of sea life found here is fabulous with dive sites such as El Peñon offering as many as 25 different species of tropical fish on a single dive! Come and see for yourself why our dives are thrilled with the experience!
The Atlantic Ocean North coast of the Dominican Republic
The Atlantic Ocean can be extremely rough through most of the winter months. The strong trade winds coming into the northern coast of the Dominican Republic make diving a challenge most days on this side of the country.
The trade winds bring strong waves and surface action, making exiting out to the reef complicated and many days impossible. This greatly limits the dive sites options on the Atlantic to a select few sites where boat access is possible. These are generally very shallow and not very interesting as the corals on this side are not in great shape.
The other factor affecting enjoyment is the strong surge. Many days, even when the wind dies down, we experience what is known as “Mar de Fondo”. Translated literally, this means “ bottom ocean”. These are the terms we use to describe the poor visibility that is caused by the strong surge that is present and constantly moving the bottom.
Visibility is often reduced to 3 meters (10 feet) or less and the strong surge makes swimming forward a real challenge. Less experienced divers struggle to control their buoyancy as the surge pushes them back time and time again.