Snorkeling Around Dominican Republic

Photo credit: © Chris Schmid |

The underwater landscape of the Dominican Republic includes both the north Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea making for a diverse collection of sites that will differ drastically depending on which part of the island you're on.  The best way to see these sites without spending hours taking scuba diving courses is to rent a snorkel kit and jump in.

The Atlantic side of the island is known for its rough waters which create some of the most unique coral formations you can imagine, but there is a catch.  This area is not necessarily recommended for snorkeling because the conditions can be dangerous.  In fact, the longest coral reef system in the country is located off the coast of Punta Cana, but thanks to the harsh current so few snorkelers get a chance to see it.

If you stick to the Caribbean coast, you'll be treated to much calmer conditions, perfect visibility most of the time, and sites that are just as beautiful as the Atlantic side, but with a softer feel to the curves of the structures.  Some of the best towns for snorkeling here are only just now beginning to become top tourist destinations, so you can truly make the most of a relaxed island getaway.  Sosua and La Romana are two of them.

No matter where on the island you are staying, there are ways to make a snorkeling trip happen.  Many adventure tour groups and scuba diving shops have special snorkeling trips that are as simple as a quick guided shore snorkel, or as intricate as a full day of sailing and snorkeling to out of the way islands that include lunch on the beach.  Consider sites like Isla Catalina, Isla Saona, and the Silver Bank when hiring a tour guide. 

Snorkeling Sites

If you're looking forward to seeing below the water's surface you might want to visit Catalina Island Beach West. A word of advice for snorkeling in this area is to keep an eye out for where locals are swimming and stick to snorkeling in the areas protected by the barrier reef. Otherwise rip tides could get to you. This snorkeling site is situated in Serena Cay, Dominican Republic.

Dominicus Beach is another option. This reef ranges from 46 to 60 feet deep, flourishing with beautiful coral reef and sea life. It may be deep, but the visibility is good for snorkelers tagging along with a scuba diving group.

A third site to consider is Silver Bank. This is a unique snorkeling site because people don't visit for the colorful reef or friendly fish. Instead, they travel for up to 12 hours on a boat simply to slip into the water and view North Atlantic humpback whales as they migrate, mate, and calve.

A few key details for 8 of the best places where you can enjoy snorkeling in this area are listed below.

Snorkeling Sites Near Dominican Republic
Site Location Island
Catalina Island Beach West 0.1 mi. South of Central Serena Cay Hispaniola
Isla de Mona Nature Preserve 2.9 mi. West of Central Mona Mona
Cabeza de Toro Beach Eastern part of Dominican Republic
Dominicus Beach 1.8 mi. South-Southeast of Central Bayahibe Hispaniola
Paseo de Catuan 9.3 mi. West-Southwest of Central Granchorra Hispaniola
Isla Saona 16.4 mi. South-Southwest of Central Boca De Yuma Hispaniola
El Portillo Beach 0.4 mi. North-Northeast of Central Abra Grande Hispaniola
Silver Bank 3.5 mi. Northeast of Central Puerto Plata the Dominican Republic

Snorkeling Boat Trips

For some people, the most enjoyable snorkeling is accessed away from the shore.

If you're hoping to combine some snorkeling with a boating adventure, you should consider Pelicano Sport Excursions. A leader in watersports and guided tours along the country's east coast, this facility is highly regarded and has consistently been mentioned in magazines as a top scuba center. Despite the focus on scuba diving, they are an all around great company that offers numerous other watersports and land tours.

Another option worth investigating is Weiler Caribbean Sea. Having first opened in 2010, this is one of the newer tour operators on the island. This doesn't take away from their quality, though. They're located in Punta Cana, in eastern Dominican Republic.

A third good option is Mariposa Tours. In addition to sailing to private islands and secluded areas of the Dominican Republic, they also offer fishing trips, buggie rides, and apartment rentals.

Look through the following chart to see day sails and boat trips that provide snorkeling opportunities.

Day Sails and Boat Trips In Dominican Republic
Name Phone Location
Capitan Gringo (809) 753-9469 0.2 mi. Northwest of Central Bayahibe
Escape Tours Samana (849) 206-9361 1.5 mi. West-Southwest of Central Samana
Hispaniola Aquatic Adventures (829) 305-2804 Bavaro
Mariposa Tours (809) 660-5343 0.0 mi. South-Southwest of Central Bayahibe
Moto Marina Tours (809) 538-2302 0.4 mi. Southeast of Central Samana
Ocean Adventures (809) 390-7418 1.9 mi. Southeast of Central Bavaro
Passion Paradise Adventures (809) 446-9602 2.4 mi. East-Southeast of Central La Romana
Pedrito Punta Cana (829) 910-2398 0.2 mi. West-Southwest of Central Friusa
Pelicano Sport Excursions (809) 729-4242 1.5 mi. North of Central Friusa
Pro Excursions Bayahibe (829) 659-4688 0.7 mi. Northwest of Central Bayahibe
Pro Excursions Dominicus (829) 659-4688 1.6 mi. Southeast of Central Bayahibe
Punta Cana Expert (849) 889-5892 1.3 mi. Northeast of Central Los Manantiales
Ryanna Sun (829) 655-6730 0.0 mi. North-Northwest of Central Bayahibe
Seavis Tours (829) 714-4947 5.0 mi. Southeast of Central Altos de Chavón
Weiler Caribbean Sea (829) 692-8468 Punta Cana, Eastern part of Dominican Republic

Snorkeling Services

If you're looking for a place that offers snorkeling excursions, rentals, or other services, you can check with Scuba Fun. Many sites that are marketed towards scuba divers are also great spots for snorkeling. This dive center makes sure snorkelers get the chance to explore with them during their daily excursions. They are found within Bayahibe, Dominican Republic.

A second company worth knowing about is Dive Academy. More than a dive center, this spot offers snorkelers a chance to get out and explore with them as part of other tours that include camping and island tours on back of a scooter. What better way to relax after zipping around the island than under the sea exploring?

A third company worth contacting is Gri Gri Divers. While scuba diving is their main focus, this center also offers a number of other watersports and excursions. Although there is no specific snorkeling trip, there are a few that include snorkeling as part of the package. They're found within Rio San Juan, in the northern part of Dominican Republic.

The following table provides some key facts about 22 firms that offer services related to snorkeling.

Snorkeling Services In Dominican Republic
Name Type Phone Location Island
Caribbean Dive College Snorkeling Tour Operator (809) 697-5515 0.0 mi. South-Southwest of Central Bayahibe Hispaniola
Coral Point Diving Snorkeling Tour Operator (829) 574-9655 0.0 mi. South-Southwest of Central Bayahibe Hispaniola
Dive Academy Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (809) 538-0127 1.4 mi. North of Central Arroyo Del Cabo Hispaniola
Dive Cabarete Snorkeling Tour Operator (809) 915-9135 0.2 mi. Southeast of Central Cabarete the Dominican Republic
Diwa Dominicana Snorkeling Tour Operator (809) 261-3150 Puerto Plata the Dominican Republic
Dressel Divers Club Snorkeling Tour Operator (809) 688-3600 1.8 mi. Southeast of Central Bayahibe Hispaniola
Gri Gri Divers Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service -- 0.6 mi. Northwest of Central Rio San Juan Hispaniola
Northern Coast Diving Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (809) 571-1028 0.7 mi. Northwest of Central Sosua the Dominican Republic
Scuba Caribe Dive Center Snorkeling Tour Operator -- Bavaro Hispaniola
Scuba Fun Snorkeling Tour Operator (809) 833-0003 0.0 mi. West of Central Bayahibe Hispaniola
Scubaquatic La Romana Snorkeling Tour Operator (809) 468-4055 1.7 mi. South-Southeast of Central Boca Del Soco Hispaniola
Scubaquatic Las Terrenas Snorkeling Tour Operator (809) 468-4055 0.2 mi. East-Northeast of Central Abra Grande Hispaniola
Scubaquatic Punta Cana Snorkeling Tour Operator (809) 468-4055 2.8 mi. North-Northwest of Central Friusa Hispaniola
Scubaquatic Rio San Juan Snorkeling Tour Operator (809) 468-4055 4.4 mi. West of Central Rio San Juan Hispaniola
Scubaquatic Samana Snorkeling Tour Operator (809) 468-4055 4.5 mi. Southeast of Central Samana Hispaniola
Sea Pro Caribbean Village Snorkeling Tour Operator (809) 320-2567 3.0 mi. Southeast of Central Puerto Plata the Dominican Republic
Sea Pro Dreams Palm Beach Snorkeling Tour Operator (809) 523-4611 6.4 mi. East-Southeast of Central Friusa Hispaniola
Treasure Divers Snorkeling Tour Operator (809) 523-5320 Boca Chica, Central Dominican Republic the Dominican Republic
Treasure Divers Snorkeling Tour Operator (809) 523-5320 Boca Chica, Central Dominican Republic the Dominican Republic
Tropical Sea Divers Snorkeling Tour Operator (829) 697-9522 Boca Chica, Central Dominican Republic the Dominican Republic
Turtle Dive Center Snorkeling Tour Operator (829) 903-0659 Las Terrenas, Northeastern part of Dominican Republic Hispaniola
Uwe Scuba Dive Center Snorkeling Tour Operator (809) 804-9445 6.7 mi. East-Southeast of Central La Romana Hispaniola

To learn more about snorkeling, including helpful suggestions and tips for both "old pros" and beginners, check out our detailed Caribbean snorkeling page.


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