The Dominican Republic has only recently become accessible by foreign sailing and yachting enthusiasts. And while there are still many improvements to be made in the form of procedures and facilities, sailing to the island is becoming easier.
If you merely want to enjoy some time on the water, without the complications and cost associated with renting a boat you can join an excursion. See the table below to obtain names and phone numbers for excursion providers.
|Capitan Gringo||(809) 753-9469||11.1 mi. (17.8 km) East-Southeast of La Romana|
|Escape Tours Samana||(849) 206-9361||The Bannister Hotel - 1.5 mi. (2.4 km) West-Southwest of Samana|
|Hispaniola Aquatic Adventures||(829) 305-2804||Bavaro|
|Mariposa Tours||(809) 660-5343||Calle Eladia Peatonal - Bayahibe|
|Moto Marina Tours||(809) 538-2302||3 Calle Avenida Malecon - Samana|
|Ocean Adventures||(809) 390-7418||Los Corales Beach - 2.4 mi. (3.8 km) East of Friusa|
|Passion Paradise Adventures||(809) 446-9602||2.4 mi. (3.9 km) East-Southeast of La Romana|
|Pedrito Punta Cana||(829) 910-2398||Friusa|
|Pelicano Sport Excursions||(809) 729-4242||Ocean Blue Golf and Beach Resort All-inclusive - 1.5 mi. (2.4 km) North of Friusa|
|Pro Excursions Bayahibe||(829) 659-4688||Dreams La Romana - 10.7 mi. (17.1 km) East-Southeast of La Romana|
|Pro Excursions Dominicus||(829) 659-4688||4 Avenida Cayuco - 12.6 mi. (20.2 km) East-Southeast of La Romana|
|Punta Cana Expert||(849) 889-5892||4.4 mi. (7.0 km) North of Punta Cana|
|Ryanna Sun||(829) 655-6730||Ryanna Sun - Bayahibe|
|Seavis Tours||(829) 714-4947||4 Calle Eladia - Bayahibe|
|Weiler Caribbean Sea||(829) 692-8468||Punta Cana|
|Whale Samana||(809) 538-2494||Avenida La Marina - Samana|
Most people who charter a boat find that securing the charter is easiest through charter companies and brokers.
Charter companies divide themselves by size and tier, according to the number and age of their boats. Small companies who wish to focus on giving what they believe is the best customer service keep smaller fleets. Large companies are distinguished by their larger fleets and often offer guarantees and bonuses that the smaller companies cannot.
Companies are divided into two tiers, which are based on the general age of the company's fleet. First tier companies have fleets of boats that are less than four to five years old. These newer boats often come with newer technology and extras such as CD players and phones. Second tier companies are less expensive than first tier companies, and have older boats that they often buy from first tier companies.
Crew and charter selection is often mediated by a charter broker, who will work to ensure that you find a charter and crew that are compatible with you - an important factor for a pleasant trip. Yacht owners pay brokers, so travelers can use their services without charge.
Inexperienced or novice sailors should not be intimidated by the idea of chartering a boat to vacation in the Caribbean. There are many options for chartering, from fully crewed charters for the inexperienced, to skippered bareboats and bareboats for the sailing elite.
Fully crewed charters are best for those who have little or no sailing experience. These types of charters allow charterers to simply relax or to learn a bit about sailing from the captain and crew. Fully crewed charters have a captain, crew, and cook. Crew members will often allow interested passengers to assist in rudimentary sailing tasks. The captain and those chartering the boat normally discuss the itinerary and tasks, but the captain has authority to make decisions in the interest of the safety of the boat and those on board, and is in ultimate control of the vessel.
For those who have some sailing experience but are not familiar with the waters of the Caribbean, a skippered bareboat is an appealing option. Charter companies will assign a skipper for a few days or for the entire journey to guide charterers through the Caribbean. This option gives charterers the experience of a bareboat while also giving them someone to turn to for information and help. Those without Caribbean sailing experience should consider this option. Skippers on these bareboats command a daily wage and must be provided with food.
Finally, for the experienced, swashbuckling sailor, there is the option of chartering a bareboat. A bareboat gives the charterer full responsibility for both the boat and the trip. Bareboats are usually not equipped with extras, such as kayaks and scuba diving gear, that are sometimes found on crewboats. Adventurers looking to explore the waters of the Caribbean by themselves, however, will find no better option than the bareboat. Charter companies will not rent bareboats without adequate proof of substantial sailing instruction and experience, and sailors should also have some knowledge of or experience with the challenging wind and water conditions in the Caribbean. Sailors should prepare a list of amenities and supplies to bring with them, so as not to have a bare bareboat.
Consult the American Yacht Charter Association (AYCA) or the Charter Yacht Broker's Association (CYBA 866-901-3922) for assistance. Most people who charter yachts for sailing to the Caribbean charter out of Florida or the U.S. or British Virgin Islands. The following is a list of contacts.
In the Caribbean:
|Charter Broker||Telephone Number|
|Crewed Charters (U.S. Virgin Islands)||800-874-2584|
|Nicholson Yachts Worldwide||800-662-6066
|Paradise Connections (U.S. Virgin Islands)||877-567-9350
|Regency Yacht Vacations (U.S. Virgin Islands)||800-524-7676
284-495-1970 (British Virgin Islands)
|Stewart Yacht Charters (U.S. Virgin Islands)||800-432-6118|
|Yates Yachts (U.S. Virgin Islands)||866-994-7245
|Charter Broker||Telephone Number|
|Broward Yacht Sales Charter Division||954-763-8201|
|Fraser Yachts Worldwide||954-463-0640|
|June Montagne Yacht Charters||954-217-2992|
|Marine Group of Palm Beach, Inc.||561-627-9500|
|Nicely-Dunn Yacht Charters||800-874-0724
|Paradise Yacht Charters||954-462-0091|
|Rikki Davis, Inc.||954-761-3237|
|RNR Yacht Charters||800-525-2526
|Tom Collins Yachts Worldwide||800-637-5407|
|Whitney Yacht Charters, Inc.||800-223-1426|
Travelers who are destined for or sailing past the Dominican Republic can find calm sailing on the southern coast and challenging conditions on the northern coast. Sailors with less experience can find protection from strong tradewinds on the southern coast of the island. The north coast has few safe anchorages. While procedures and facilities are not up to the standards of other Caribbean islands, there are now some places for foreign cruising vessels to access the Dominican Republic.
Is your plan to sail to Dominican Republic using a vessel you own, or one you charter? The following table provides a quick summary of nearby marinas.
|--||Barahona||the Dominican Republic|
|--||Malecon Avenue - 1.0 mi. (1.7 km) Northeast of Santo Domingo||the Dominican Republic|
|--||2.7 mi. (4.4 km) South-Southwest of Punta Cana||Hispaniola|
|(809) 523-2111||Punta Minas - 6.7 mi. (10.9 km) East-Southeast of La Romana||Hispaniola|
|--||5.8 mi. (9.3 km) West of La Romana||Hispaniola|
|--||Luperon||the Dominican Republic|
|(809) 315-1940||Luperon||the Dominican Republic|
|(809) 523-5858||1 San Andres Street - 1.4 mi. (2.2 km) South West of Boca Chica||the Dominican Republic|
|--||3.9 mi. (6.3 km) Northwest of Puerto Plata||the Dominican Republic|
|(809) 732-2010||1.5 mi. (2.4 km) South West of Samana||Hispaniola|
|(809) 549-6137||Calle Juan Baron - Andres||the Dominican Republic|
Be aware that port dues and harbor fees will be assessed for staying in ports and harbors in the Dominican Republic. In addition to these costs, some marinas require fees of up to $60(USD), as well as $10(USD) tourist cards for each passenger on board. A yacht must go through the clearance procedures and receive papers from each port that it visits in the Dominican Republic.
Fly a quarantine flag (Q) in a visible place on approach and wait for boarding.
Passengers must pay fees, obtain tourist cards, and produce appropriate passports and papers.
Passengers must sometimes be cleared by military commanders in the port.
Firearms must be accompanied by proof of ownership.
Customs officials will often request a small gift upon completion of inspection.
|0.8 mi. (1.4 km) South-Southeast of Santo Domingo||18.4581071796||-69.8858570843|
|Off La Caleta - 5.3 mi. (8.5 km) West of Boca Chica||18.4471061995||-69.6867513657|
|La Caleta Submarine Park - 5.8 mi. (9.3 km) West-Southwest of Boca Chica||18.4238422102||-69.6883392334|
|Bahia de Anes - 1.8 mi. (2.9 km) South West of Boca Chica||18.4363069058||-69.6240520477|
|Playa Palenque - 11.4 mi. (18.3 km) East of Bani||18.2350707349||-70.1673710294|
|Bahia de San Lorenzo - 12.4 mi. (20.0 km) South West of Samana||19.0834139859||-69.4747924805|
|Off Sanchez - 18.1 mi. (29.2 km) West of Samana||19.223588231||-69.6125507355|
|Rio Macoris - 2.4 mi. (3.9 km) South-Southwest of San Pedro De Macoris||18.4317984863||-69.3115854263|
|Off the Pier at Punta del Botado - 7.6 mi. (12.2 km) West of Samana||19.1924606207||-69.4505399466|
|Playa de Caracoles - The Western side of the Dominican Republic||18.4188755885||-70.6017923303|
|Bahia de Samana - 0.7 mi. (1.2 km) South-Southwest of Samana||19.1958279879||-69.3393731117|
|Puerto Santa Barbara - 0.6 mi. (0.9 km) Southeast of Samana||19.1993134677||-69.329674202|
|Off Palmar de Ocoa - Palmar De Occa||18.2948583015||-70.5885744042|
|Cayo Levantado - 4.9 mi. (7.9 km) Southeast of Samana||19.1680750558||-69.2717170715|
|Bahia de Las Calderas - The Western side of the Dominican Republic||18.2139235591||-70.5443286896|
|Off Puerto Tortuguero - The Western side of the Dominican Republic||18.427527702||-70.6792759895|
|Catalina Island Beach West - Serena Cay||18.360412328||-69.0248250961|
|Rio Dulce - 2.5 mi. (4.1 km) East-Southeast of La Romana||18.4190995311||-68.9602696686|
|Bayahibe - 11.0 mi. (17.7 km) East-Southeast of La Romana||18.3709505355||-68.8420915604|
|Sousa Bay - Sosua||19.7610546478||-70.5176138891|
|Paseo de Catuan - 21.7 mi. (34.9 km) Southeast of La Romana||18.2024896626||-68.7733840942|
|Barahona Harbour - Barahona||18.2078027371||-71.0892784595|
|Catalinita Bay - 23.6 mi. (38.0 km) Southeast of La Romana||18.2060557333||-68.7279367447|
|Bahia de Yuma - 18.6 mi. (29.9 km) South-Southeast of Higuey||18.3690684964||-68.6001777649|
|Macao Beach - 8.3 mi. (13.4 km) Northwest of Friusa||18.7761235294||-68.5336803971|
|Bahia de Puerto Plata - Puerto Plata||19.8034060336||-70.6981909275|
|Off Catalinita Island - 28.6 mi. (46.0 km) Southeast of La Romana||18.1966071567||-68.6389517784|
|Off Cayo Raton - 29.6 mi. (47.6 km) Southeast of La Romana||18.1630149324||-68.6467838287|
|Luperon Harbour - Luperon||19.8997326172||-70.9515953064|
|Playa del Blanco - 46.1 mi. (74.2 km) South-Southwest of Barahona||17.6126624589||-71.4160037041|
|Playa Bahia de Las Aguilas - 43.5 mi. (70.1 km) South West of Barahona||17.8280052211||-71.6302585602|
|Punta Beata - 49.3 mi. (79.3 km) South West of Barahona||17.6172231577||-71.5191507339|
|Estero Balsa - The Western side of the Dominican Republic||19.7031680167||-71.7336416245|
|Playa Juan de Balanos - The Western side of the Dominican Republic||19.8620810278||-71.6570055488|
The choices you make when selecting the type and duration of your charter can affect the quality and style of your vacation. Carefully consider and review your needs before making final boat and crew selections. Understanding as much as you can about chartering a boat and sailing in the Caribbean will help you to choose a boat and crew that match what you want.
Consider the amount of time you wish to be on the boat, as well as the general and daily itinerary - where you want to go, and what you want to do each day as you sail. Some travelers prefer to island hop, while others prefer to explore a particular area. Many travelers will find themselves casually lounging on board, while others will venture into the waters with kayaking or scuba gear.
Other important considerations include the time of year and weather. Some may feel uncomfortable heading to the region during the busy Atlantic hurricane season. Also consider the number of people who will be traveling with you, your budget for the trip, and the type of crew that will best fit your vacation style.
Sailing purists who want to stick close to the historical experience of sailing will often select a monohull boat for their trek through the Caribbean. Monohulls tend to rock in the water, adding to the authenticity of the experience. Tackling and anchoring techniques on these boats will be different from the techniques used on the more comfortable catamarans.
Catamarans are good choices for those who are worried about seasickness, as they do not roll at anchor. Travelers with children generally choose catamarans, since running about on the deck of a catamaran will generally not be as dangerous as it would be on a monohull. Catamarans are also usually more spacious, providing more privacy and room in the cabins. Most standard catamarans have four suite rooms, while others have three rooms with two to three bathrooms. Also consider extra boat amenities such as a powerful windlass, a very helpful anchoring assistant.
Always meticulously review the fine print of your charter agreement so you are fully aware of insurance policies and liabilities. But even after chartering the boat, there are additional costs to consider.
Food will comprise the largest part of your budget after the chartering of the boat. Chartering companies can arrange for food from small snacks and basic supplies to full meals. Meal provisions generally start at about $25(USD) per person per day. While this may seem pricey, it may be the safest option depending on where you plan to travel. Bringing your own food can be tricky, since it will often not make it through customs. Planning to buy food on some of the more remote islands is also risky, since markets on these islands are not always well stocked. However, you can more easily get your own supplies if you are stopping at more populated islands.
Other potential costs include the cost of hiring a crew if you have a fully crewed charter or a skippered bareboat. On a fully crewed charter, the crew and captain should generally be tipped 10 percent to 15 percent on the cost of the charter. Skippers for bareboats have a fee of $80(USD) to $120(USD) a day.
Chartering a boat in the Caribbean is full of romance and adventure, and destinations in the Dominican Republic are becoming more and more accessible.
As a very large Caribbean nation, sailing in the Dominican Republic can vary on what part of the country you are in. How touristy, urban, and developed an area is can affect how easy it is to sail there. As such, once you begin making final preparations, be sure to read our local guides to sailing in the Dominican Republic. This will give narrow insight of the ins and outs of sailing, with information specific to your destination. Some of the most popular can be found below.
|Guide to Boca Chica Sailing|
|Guide to Cabarete Sailing|
|Guide to Casa de Campo Sailing|
|Guide to La Romana Sailing|
|Guide to Las Galeras Sailing|
|Guide to Puerto Plata Sailing|
|Guide to Punta Cana Sailing|
|Guide to Santo Domingo Sailing|
Help us improve! We welcome your corrections and suggestions.