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The 5 best places to visit in the Dominican Republic

Best places to visit in the Dominican Republic - dressel divers

At Dressel Divers, we are huge fans of the Dominican Republic. It’s no coincidence that our first base in the Caribbean was in Punta Cana. At the time, our CEO, Javier, didn’t know the best places to visit in the Dominican Republic, the type of tourists who traveled there, or even what diving on the island was like. However, he did have a backpack full of projects, his wife as his second-in-command, and a lot of eagerness. So, they settled in Punta Cana and started their adventure.

  • They were at the heart of Arena Gorda Beach in the grand Iberostar hotel complex.
  • They explored the island in search of the best places in the Dominican Republic for diving, attractions to visit, and excursions to take.
  • They looked for especially attractive vacation spots for divers and snorkelers.

In the end, they made a list – a list of the top places to visit in the Dominican Republic whose protagonist is “BEAUTY”, in capital letters. It’s a list of tourist places made to be enjoyed, to have a great time with a snorkel, to have a blast while diving, and, why not, to visit when you’re not in the water. This is the result of their work to find the best places to visit in the Dominican Republic if you are a diver or a snorkeling lover.

Take a look at the table of contents.

1. The Best Vacation Spots in The Dominican Republic

27 degrees Celsius, the sun is shining high and there’s not a single cloud in the sky. It’s a new, warm day in the Dominican Republic, but Javier and Marisa have a lot to do. This is the most visited country in the Caribbean, mainly due to its tropical climate, paradise beaches, and crystal-clear waters.

“Ay, niña! With so many places to choose from and visit we’ll never finish,” he said.

Nah, he didn’t say that, but he probably thought it.

These are the vacation spots in the Dominican Republic that they chose, for their location, for being the home of the luxurious Iberostar chain resorts, and for being where the bases of Dressel Divers are.

Punta Cana: Punta Cana is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Dominican Republic, with a wide variety of luxury hotels and resorts. The white sandy beaches and turquoise waters are ideal for relaxing and enjoying the sun.

Bayahibe: Bayahibe is a small town on the east coast of the Dominican Republic, known for its white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. It is a perfect place to relax and enjoy water activities. In addition, the province of La Romana, where it is located, is notable for its rich history and culture. As if that weren’t enough, there are many interesting places to visit for divers and snorkelers, such as the East National Park.

Puerto Plata: it is located on the north coast of the Dominican Republic and is known for its beautiful reefs and diverse marine life. The warm waters and abundance of fish make it an excellent place for scuba diving.

best places to visit in the Dominican Republic - 7

2. The Best Reefs in The Dominican Republic

A long time ago, I read a phrase that said something like this: when you find what you want to do in life, it’s like a ball of wool. You just have to pull the thread, and things come easily.

Well. Javier and Marisa already knew that their ball of wool had to do with regulators, air tanks, and snorkel tubes. So, they looked for the best reefs to visit in the Dominican Republic and started pulling the thread. However, easy, easy, as they say, easy it was not. They had to investigate a lot. They found many of the reefs themselves.

Here you have some of the best reefs to visit in the Dominican Republic.

 

SAONA ISLAND

This wonderful island is one of the favorite spots of many divers. The reasons are its beautiful reefs, which are among the best in the Dominican Republic. In addition, it has many exotic species of turtles, seagulls, iguanas, manatees, and dolphins.

In Saona Island you will also find awesome natural swimming pools, with turquoise clear water. These pools are 700 meters in diameter, and they are only one meter deep. Swimming there, while you enjoy a cool rum & coke, is the closest thing to heaven that you’ll find on Earth.

Definitely, Saona Island is one of the best places to visit in the Dominican Republic for any underwater enthusiast. With crystal-clear visibility reaching up to 25 m/ 82 ft and calm currents, it’s the perfect spot to witness filter-feeding sponges and delicate soft corals in all their glory. Keep an eye out for massive grey stingrays hiding in the sand at the base of the wall. And don’t miss the small but mighty arrow crabs and elegant turtles as they munch on the sponges.

Saona Island

CATALINA ISLAND

This small island was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1494. He was the first European to view these wonderful virgin beaches, with white sand and warm turquoise waters. I wonder if any of the many sunken galleons at the bottom of the sea were of any of his buddies.

Catalina Island is uninhabited, but is covered with coral reefs, exotic fish, starfish and other colorful species, to delight your eyes. It is a wonderful place to practice diving or snorkeling, or any kind of water activity. If you are an avid diver, you should try the Catalina Wall. Its coral reef is incredible!

The Catalina Wall stands out among the reefs of Catalina Island.

The west side of the island is home to “The Aquarium.” It’s no exaggeration when we say that you’ll feel like you’re swimming in a real-life aquarium. There’s an abundance of tropical fish swimming around, and you may even spot a curious eagle ray or two. It’s an excellent spot for macro photography, as well. But that’s not all – the whole island is surrounded by picturesque coral reefs and shallow waters with excellent visibility. It’s truly an underwater paradise, perfect for a day of diving.

Catalina Island

EL DESEO (9 meters / 27 feet)

This reef is famous for the stingrays you can see diving here, and for the quality of its night diving. Globefish, trumpet fish, and filefish delight divers during the day as they swim among vase sponges and brain corals. At night, octopuses take control along with other night hunters. It is a highly recommended dive.

3. The Best Places to Visit in The Dominican Republic If You Are a Shipwreck Diver

3.1. Astron Wreck

Off the coast of Punta Cana lies a shipwreck waiting to be explored. The more than 400-foot long ship (127m) met its fate in 1979, sinking while carrying a large cargo of corn to Cuba. Though the cause of the sinking is a mystery, some speculate that it was due to a reckless captain, while others claim it was a result of an insurance scam. Regardless of the reason, the Astron shipwreck now sits in two pieces, with its bow almost above water and its stern sitting at a depth of 12m/39ft.

Astron wreck is a perfect spot for scuba diving. The sunk wreck is now home to nurse and reef sharks, eagle rays, turtles, and an array of fish such as snappers, angelfish, grunts, anemones, and groupers. In addition, it is one of the best places to visit in the Dominican Republic because of the visible portions of the ship, include its propellers, parts of the engine room, stairs, and many other intriguing features.

3.2. Saint Georges

St George is a popular diving spot for all kinds of scuba divers, located 800m/0.5 miles from the town. The ship was purposely sunk in 1999, and now lies at a depth of 44m/144ft. The top of the wreck is at 15m/50ft, and the stern sits at 31m/102ft.

Upon diving into the wreck, the impressive chimney is the first thing that comes into view at 15m/50ft below the surface. As you continue descending, the enormity of the 73m/240ft long ship comes into view.

The wreck is around 25 -35m/82-115ft deep. The sunken ship is covered in vibrant coral and home to various marine life such as eagle rays and barracudas. It is also rumored there is an enormous green moray eel in its chimney.

3.3. Atlantic Princess

The Atlantic Princess is one of the best places to visit in the Dominican Republic for diving enthusiasts. The ship once used to ferry tourists, sank in 2009 and now rests just 40 feet (12 meters) below the surface. The ship’s shallow waters are home to an array of marine life, including parrotfish, small crabs, and rays, as well as coral and other sea life.

Divers can explore this wreck’s nooks and crannies, including some sections that have been damaged by storms over the years. It is easily accessible for both experienced and novice divers. Visitors can also take pictures of the friendly fish, such as sergeant majors and bar jacks that call this site home. Overall, it’s a spectacular place to visit in the Dominican Republic, so add it to your dive list.

4. The Best Places to Visit in The Dominican Republic During Surface Intervals

RIO CHAVON

The third of the best places to visit in the Dominican Republic that we recommend is Altos de Chavon. It has one of the most beautiful riverbanks in the Dominican Republic. At its mouth, the river flows into an imposing cliff, completely covered with tropical vegetation.  Several popular films have been filmed along this river, such as RamboApocalypse Now or Anaconda.

On the top of the river, there is Altos de Chavon, a little village with cozy cobbled alleys, old houses, a church, fountains, a Roman amphitheater, a cultural center and an archaeological museum. And if that weren’t enough, there are a few restaurants with delicious fish, rice and salads.

best places to visit in the Dominican Republic - chavon

LOS HAITISES

This natural park was created in the Dominican Republic in June of 1976. It also has been the scene of many films, among which we highlight Jurassic Park. Los Haitises is formed by rocks and limestone tropical mogotes, typical of these climatic zones of the earth.

Its flora basically consists of tropical trees like copeys, figs, and almonds. You can also find beautiful flowers like orchids. On the other hand, its fauna consists of some endangered exotic mammals, like native bats, hutias, and solenodons.

 

 COLONIAL CITY

Colonial City is the beautiful historic central neighborhood of Santo Domingo, and it is the first city founded by Europeans in America. In 1990 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and believe us when we say it’s worth a visit.

It has many colonial buildings of great touristic value, such as Alcazar de Colon (which belonged to Diego Colon, son of Christopher Columbus), Museo de las Casas Reales o Catedral Primada de America. More than 300 historic buildings, which any lover of culture should visit at least once in a lifetime.

best places to visit in the Dominican Republic - colonial city

Which place to visit in the Dominican Republic do you choose?

At Dressel Divers, the customer is at the center of everything. Do you really know who the main character of the phenomenon that Javier and Marisa built is? Whether in the Dominican Republic or in any of the Caribbean countries where Dressel Divers operates, scuba divers are at the center. Beyond the speeches that marketing gurus repeat, Javier and Marisa worked by intuition. They knew they had to find the best places to visit in the Dominican Republic for their people. Will you come to know them?”

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