Snorkeling Dominican Republic
Snorkeling in the Dominican Republic
Snorkeling in the Dominican Republic allows you to get the full experience of the beauty that the country has to offer. The nation occupies two thirds of the island Hispaniola, sharing the remaining third with Haiti. It is the second largest nation in the Caribbean falling behind only Cuba. It is located in the famed Caribbean Sea. Despite the Dominican Republic being the most visited nation in the Caribbean, it's sea life remains beautiful and a worthwhile visit. The island is diverse not only in its geography, featuring the tallest mountain in the Caribbean, but also in the life it hosts. With a great climate year round and amazing marine life to see, it should be of no surprise that it is the most visited island in the Caribbean.
Dominican Republic snorkeling is fantastic with some good spots to be found in Sousa off of the beaches and in Bayahibe directly off of the beaches. From Bayahibe, you can take a boat ride and see fantastic snorkeling spots in Saona Island and Catalina Island. While these are all fun places to snorkel, the Dominican Republic's real claim to fame for snorkeling is found in Silver Bank a twenty square mile area north of the island. Silver Bank is one of the only places in the world that allows you to snorkel with one of the world's most beloved and awe-inspiring animal: the Humpback Whale.
Marine Life in the Dominican Republic
Snorkeling the reefs off of the island will give you great memories of beautiful reef life. Colorful reef fish, rays, eels, nurse sharks, and many more little critters can be seen in the Dominican Republic's reef. While these reefs are amazing, it's hard to compare to snorkeling with humpback whales, who migrate to Silver Bank during their winter on their annual migration south so that they may mate in waters who have temperatures much more forgiving than their feeding waters. Since they are in those waters for mating, visiting later in the season often means getting to see juvenile humpback whales!
Best Snorkel Sites in the Dominican Republic
While Punta Cana features the longest reef on the island, other spots feature far superior snorkeling. The reefs off of the beaches in Sousa are good for seeing your favorite reef life as are the reefs off of the beaches of Bayahibe, a smaller, fishing village. From here, if you're a snorkeler determined to see sites more removed from the heavy tourism you can take a boat out to Saona Island and Catalina Island where the waters are protected as a national park.
While these sites are all beautiful, it is hard to compare to snorkeling with the immense beauty of humpback whales which can be seen up close like nowhere else when snorkeling at Silver Bank. The humpback whales visit Silver Bank yearly during their annual migration taking them from the frigid waters up north down to warmer waters. While the waters here are much more nutrient poor, the warm water temperatures are agreeable with their mating. It is in the warmer waters where whales find a mate, mate, and raise their young. Since mating is an incredibly social activity there is plenty of means of communication happening. This includes pectoral slaps on the water, breaching, male competition, and teaching young new behaviors. Seeing them up close in their element is a once in a lifetime, unforgettable experience.
Best Time to Snorkel in Dominican Republic
The best time to snorkel in the Dominican Republic is during whale season of course! While the island has consistently warm temperatures year round, you don’t want to miss the humpbacks. The humpback whales visit Silver Bank from January to April before beginning the long trek back to their cold but nutrient rich waters up north. The water temperature varies from 26 to 29 degrees Celsius while the air temperature ranges from 25 to 28 degrees Celsius.
How to Get to the Dominican Republic
With three international airports, the Dominican Republic accommodates for many different destinations. A car is sufficient to get around the island. To get to Silver Bank and snorkel with the humpbacks, a liveaboard departing from Puerto Plata is by far your best option due to its distance from the island and the permit required to snorkel with the humpbacks which can all be taken care of by your liveaboard operator.