A variety of regions, each with their own flavor, compete for scuba divers’ attention. In addition, the clear, turquoise waters of the Caribbean offer excellent visibility, often over 150 feet. The best months for scuba diving here are between June and September, when the water is warm and calm and visibility is at its best. Whether you’re a new diver or have years of underwater experience, there’s plenty to interest you offshore in the Dominican Republic.
La Caleta National Marine Park, located between Santo Domingo and Boca Chica, is an excellent place for divers of all skill levels. Created in 1984, the park is home to the 38-foot-long “Hickory,” a sunken salvage ship and residence for hundreds of sea creatures. The shallow waters surrounding the wreck make it easy for divers to study the vast amount of marine life here. You can even sit on an underwater sand bar and watch the fish swim by.
Las Galeras, on the north side of the Samana Peninsula, on the northeastern end of the Dominican Republic, also offers excellent scuba diving. In addition to being home to Rincon Beach, frequently chosen as one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, this area boasts rainbow-colored sponges and large coral reefs, inhabited by such fish as red snapper, morays, grouper, barracuda, and the elusive sea turtle. Las Galeras is also home to the so-called “cathedral,” a massive underwater cave, as well as the offshore wreck of a 1960s container ship that’s now frequented by a colony of big green morays. The Samana Peninsula is a prime whale watching locale and hundreds of humpbacks and accompanying dolphins return here to mate and breed between mid-January and mid-March each year.
Qualified divers can also explore the north coast by joining the North Caribbean Search and Salvage team. This company has a contract with the Dominican government to examine sunken ships and remove any treasures or artifacts from them. There are over twenty wreck to choose from, including the famous fleet of Spanish galley ships, lost in 1563.
Also located on the Samana Peninsula is Las Terrenas, along the north coast. This former fishing village is something of a hideaway for foreign nationals living in the Dominican Republic. While it still retains much of its former charm, the living is easy here, with excellent restaurants, hotels, and sports outfitters. The atmosphere is casual in Las Terrenas and the beaches are uncrowded and beautiful. Divers flock to Las Terrenas for the colorful coral found there as well as the abundant marine life. Look for snapper, grouper, morays, and lobsters as well as fascinating cave dive sites.
Known as the “amber coast” for all of the deposits of golden stone that have been discovered here, the Playa Dorada has one of the highest concentrations of hotels on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The waters and the beaches here are somewhat more crowded than you will find elsewhere on the island. A good choice for scuba diving in the area is Playa Luperon, which lies about an hour’s drive west of Puerto Plata. An hour’s drive east of Puerto Plata is the Sosua area, also favored by many scuba divers, and home to over a dozen interesting dive sites, including a shipwreck, an underwater canyon, and a spectacular natural wall dive.
Dive outfitters can be found in all of the major resort and scuba diving areas. Dive packages range from a 3-hour two-tank dive to a three-day certification program. All reputable dive operators include a PADI-certified instructor or dive master. Expect to pay around $30 to $50 dollars for a half-day excursion and around $60 – $100 for a full day. Overnight and certification packages will be more expensive. Every package is slightly different, but most includes transportation to the site by boat and land, air tanks, scuba equipment, and the services of a boat captain and a dive master. Full day packages usually include beverages and some sort of meal. Some packages will stop at places of interest for sightseeing on the return trip.
The Dominican Republic is a beautiful country, both on land and offshore. Take time to explore the underwater treasures this country has to offer. The caves, shipwrecks, coral reefs, and herds of whales make the Dominican Republic a unique scuba diving locale. Whether you are just learning or have years of diving experience, you won’t want to miss scuba diving in the D.R.
An Explanation Of Scuba Diving
Scuba diving is a popular and fast growing sport outdoor as compared to play top online casino indoor. Since Jacques Cousteau developed a way for humans to breathe underwater, millions of people around the world have taken the plunge and marveled at the aquatic world beneath the waves.
Scuba diving is a multi-billion dollar international industry. Once considered a “macho” sport dominated by men, scuba diving is gaining in popularity for all ages and gender. The only requirement is a good standard of health, a spirit of adventure and a love of the sea.
Scuba Dive Certification
As in any sport, there are risks in scuba diving, so the sport is closely controlled. Before exploring the underwater world, a prospective diver must do a comprehensive course to learn the basic skills and theory.
There are three international organizations that offer scuba diving training and certification:
- Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI)
- National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI)
- Scuba Schools International (SSI)
Scuba certification is needed to go diving with dive shops, buy certain items of scuba equipment and get scuba tanks filled.
These scuba training organizations have affiliated dive shops throughout the world. Each shop is usually individually owned but offers scuba diving training to the standard set by one of the scuba training organizations. As well as providing scuba diving training and certification, these shops arrange dive trips and scuba holidays and sell and repair the range of equipment needed to dive safely.
Dive training usually has three components
1) Theory sessions
2) Pool sessions
3) Open water dives
Following basic certification, each dive training organization has further training courses covering specialties like underwater photography, deep diving as well as training for Instructors and Divemasters.
The equipment needed for scuba diving is expensive, but most dive shops and dive operators will have equipment for hire so it is not necessary to outlay much money to commence a scuba diving career.
Scuba Dive Resort Course
One way to start exploring the underwater world is by doing a “resort course.” This is a short course where a novice is taught the basics of scuba diving, followed by a pool session then an easy open water dive with the instructor holding the diver’s hand.
Most dive shops and resorts offer these courses. They are a great way to experience scuba diving, without having to spend time and money on full certification.
Some resorts offer full scuba diving training and certification. This takes a little longer, but a beginner can walk away from their holiday with a certification allowing the holder to dive anywhere in the world.
Risks Of Scuba Diving
Like most sports, scuba diving has an element of danger and there are risks. Most risks are associated with breathing air at depth, such as the Bends. However, management of these risks are well known and covered extensively in the scuba diving training.
Many new divers worry about underwater munchies and things with sharp teeth. However, the chance of being the next statistic of a shark attack is so remote that they are almost impossible. A group of scuba divers in the water, all floundering around blowing bubbles and making strange noises is enough to scare off any self respecting shark.
Some marine stingers, like the box jellyfish and irukandji jellyfish can kill. From October to May, they are common along the coast of northern Australia, but are rarely found on the reef where the majority of scuba diving is carried out.
Scuba diving is a safe and enjoyable sport if done in accordance with correct procedures and adequate training. There is a great environment to explore under the waters of the world’s coastlines.