Over five million people visit the Dominican Republic each year, making it the most popular tourist destination in the Caribbean Sea. While soaking up the sun on one of the golden-sand beaches, playing a round of golf or trying your luck at a casino are exciting components of a tropical island getaway, DR has another universe lying just beneath its gorgeous turquoise water.
We put together a short list of optimal locations for diving in with your mask, snorkel and insatiable sense of curiosity.
Catalina Island Beach West
If you love to snorkel, you’ll definitely want to check out Catalina Island. Head just a mile south of La Romana to enjoy crystal-clear water with visibility up to 100 feet and aquatic life like angelfish, pufferfish, lionfish and coral on a calm and tranquil reef. Book excursions through your hotel from Punta Cana, La Romana and Santo Domingo. Many are all-inclusive, so your gear, meals, drinks and snacks are taken care of.
Located on the south coast in Bayahibe, Dominicus Beach boasts pristine shorelines and phenomenal diving and snorkeling. On arrival, you’ll see fish before your knees are even wet! By the time you’re in five or six feet of water, a full spectrum of nautical life comes to focus. The reef itself is 45–60 feet deep, but with good visibility you’ll see plenty of exotic coral and undersea critters near the surface.
Silver Bank is off the beaten path but it’s well worth the extra effort. The bank rises like a ghost from the ocean floor eighty miles north of the DR. Snorkelers and divers don’t travel all that way just to see coral and exotic fish, but North Atlantic Humpback Whales. These 30-ton giants come to the area in spring to breed and calve. Swimming alongside these glorious creatures, suspended vulnerably in deep, sapphire-blue water is truly humbling. Several companies offer week-long liveaboard excursions that you’ll need to book six months to a year in advance. Stay on a comfortable ship and enjoy delicious meals, spectacular sunrises and sunsets and a generous amount of time with the ocean’s gentle giants.