Boating and Sailing Near the Dominican Republic

Enjoy the waters off of the Dominican Republic

Photo credit: © L.C.Nøttaasen

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 simply want to get out onto the water, without the stress and cost of sailing on your own you can join an excursion. Want to know more about taking a boat ride? See the chart that follows for contact phone numbers for area excursion services.

Boat Excursions
Name Phone Location
Bebe Catamaran (809) 299-2668 Bibijagua - 3.3 mi. (5.4 km) East-Southeast of Friusa
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 - 11.1 mi. (17.9 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
Ryanna Sun (829) 655-6730 Ryanna Sun - Bayahibe
Seavis Tours (829) 714-4947 4 Calle Eladia - Bayahibe
Weiler Caribbean Sea (829) 766-8470 Loc 14-15 B, Fruisa - 1.7 mi. (2.7 km) East of Friusa
Whale Samana (809) 538-2494 Avenida La Marina - Samana

Boat Rentals and Charters

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.

If you are evaluating the option of a charter boat, you can contact one of these companies:

Charter and Rental Services
Name Phone Location
Mike's Marina Boat Charters (829) 350-0179 Cap Cana Marina - 2.6 mi. (4.1 km) South-Southwest of Punta Cana
WannaBoats (829) 537-2233 Marina Cap Cana - 2.6 mi. (4.2 km) South-Southwest of Punta Cana

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.

Chartering a Yacht


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 BrokerTelephone 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

In Florida:

Charter BrokerTelephone Number
Broward Yacht Sales Charter Division 954-763-8201
Charter Specialists 800-479-9054
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
Yachtstore, Ltd. 888-376-5198


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.

Planning to travel to the Dominican Republic using a vessel you own, or one you charter? This table contains a list of marinas in the area.

Name Phone Location Island
Barahona Government Dock -- Barahona the Dominican Republic
Bartholomieu Columbus Marina -- Malecon Avenue - 1.0 mi. (1.7 km) Northeast of Santo Domingo the Dominican Republic
Cap Cana Marina -- 2.7 mi. (4.4 km) South-Southwest of Punta Cana Hispaniola
Casa de Campo Marina (809) 523-2111 Punta Minas - 6.7 mi. (10.9 km) East-Southeast of La Romana Hispaniola
Cumayasa River Mooring -- 5.8 mi. (9.3 km) West of La Romana Hispaniola
Marina Luperon Yacht Club -- Luperon the Dominican Republic
Marina Tropical (809) 315-1940 Luperon the Dominican Republic
Marina Zar Zar (809) 523-5858 1 San Andres Street - 1.4 mi. (2.2 km) South West of Boca Chica the Dominican Republic
Marina de Samana -- Samana Hispaniola
Ocean World Marina -- 3.9 mi. (6.3 km) Northwest of Puerto Plata the Dominican Republic
Puerto Bahia (809) 732-2010 1.5 mi. (2.4 km) South West of Samana Hispaniola
Santo Domingo Nautical Club (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.

Entry Procedures

  • 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.

Nearby Anchorages
Location Latitude Longitude
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

Making Your Decisions

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.

Paperwork and Costs

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.

Additional Information

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.

Sailing in Specific Areas
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.