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The Best Places to Dive in Punta Cana


The Best Places to Dive in Punta Cana

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Punta Cana is considered by many to be one of the greatest tropical paradises in the world, as it has an excellent climate all 365 days of the year and, despite its relatively small size, it allows visitors to enjoy many different activities in nature.  

The Dominican Republic, which is located on the island of Hispaniola, the largest of the entire Caribbean Sea, in addition to swimming in its warm waters, also offers a large number of water-related activities: catamarans, kayaking, windsurfing, kitesurfing, snorkelling… and of course diving. 

Each of them offers a different sensation and can be adapted to your unique visit to the Dominican country, whether you’re travelling as a couple, as a family with children… 

Some of these activities share certain characteristics and can be confused with one another, such as kitesurfing and windsurfing, so it’s important to discern what materials are needed in each case and how to properly prepare. 

Two activities that are often confused given their similarity are snorkelling and diving, activities that are extremely popular in Punta Cana. But what makes them different?

Diving vs snorkelling in Punta Cana

Both are two of the most widely practiced water activities in the world and the most commonly done on the Caribbean coasts. Considered an essential part of adventure tourism, they allow us to discover the wonderful underwater world of the tropical sea, which hides incredible marine fauna and unique coral reefs unlike any others in the world. However, these activities aren’t easy to do, and require the right preparation and knowledge. 

Diving in Punta Cana

This is a practice that consists of immersing yourself in an aquatic environment, that is, swimming under the water, either with or without diving equipment. Within diving, it’s possible to distinguish between two types: freediving or scuba diving. Freediving is characterised by diving deep into the water for as long as a person can last without breathing, wearing the items they need: wetsuit, fins…

At the same time, scuba diving requires more complex equipment, composed of a diving mask, buoyancy vest, air tanks, set of regulators for breathing and technological equipment to regulate air intake. Although elements are used that allow the diver to breath under water, it is not recommended for non-professionals to dive down more than 30 or 40 metres.

Snorkelling in Punta Cana

On the other hand, snorkelling is the activity consisting of diving on the surface of the water, so the only material needed will be a snorkel mask with which you can enjoy the depths of the sea.

For this reason, the main difference between scuba diving and snorkelling is the depth and, therefore, the marine areas you want to see and explore. 

Places to dive in Punta Cana

Punta Cana is a great place for diving, due to the characteristics of its coasts, with great water transparency and a good temperature. This transparency allows you to see lots of different underwater attractions that are all incredibly unique: from majestic coral reefs to shipwrecks from the pirate era. 

In addition to these more general attractions, the Dominican country is home to other places hidden in the depths of the sea that are worth exploring.

Coral reef in the Caribbean


This place in the Dominican Republic is where you can find the shipwreck of the Saint George ship. This sunken ship is already part of the marine landscape, since many animals, and even the coral reef, have made a life inside. Within this area is also the Atlantic Princess, where you can visit the ship itself, the hold and the control deck. 

Saona Island

This natural area is home to a large number of species, an incredibly beautiful space that serves as a refuge for lots of flora and fauna. The first dive spot on the island is Dominicus, where you can see a group of coral reefs. Another well-known area is Viva Shallow, a place where several shipwrecks occurred and where, in addition to seahorses, lobsters and octopuses, you can also get an up-close look at anchors, cannonballs and cannons.

On Saona Island, you can also find La Caleta in the underwater depths, an underwater reserve that covers only 10 square metres but is one of the most frequently visited tourist destinations in the country when it comes to diving. This is mainly due to the Hickory, a rescue boat measuring 39 metres in length that was intentionally sunk in 1994. 

Likewise, inside the National Park of the East are the remains of a large 89-metre cargo ship, and a spectacular marine area called Cabo del Tiburón.

Coral reef in the Caribbean

Catalina Island

Known as one of the best spots for going diving in the entire Dominican Republic, here you can enjoy the large natural wall that’s covered with sponges and corals. On Catalina Island, you can see a huge number of very different colourful fish, among which are the mantas, the moray eel, the angelfish or a multitude of other tropical fish. 

On this small island, you can also visit the Aquarium, one of tourists’ favourite places due to all the colours, marine life and the visibility that characterise it, covering more than 50 metres, making it an ideal place for diving. 

Río San Juan and Las Galeras

Located on the north coast, where the waters are a little colder and less transparent due to the collision of the Caribbean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, are hidden secrets that are worth visiting. In Río San Juan, you can dive through the Siete Galeras, a 50-metre coral formation that practically reaches the surface, or through the Cañón del Cangrejo, a channel with tunnels formed by the action of nature with coral reefs. At the same time, from Las Galeras you can access Cabo Cabrón, an underwater area where you can observe countless marine species.  

In short, Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic in general represent one of the best places on our planet for diving and snorkelling, due to the temperature and transparency of their waters and the infinite number of animal and plant species that you can find, which makes doing these two activities an essential part of your itinerary during your trip to the Dominican Republic. 

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