Punta Cana (“tips of white palms”) is one of the most sought-after beach destinations in the Caribbean. Furthermore, it also has one of the longest white sand coastlines in the region, boasting 48 kilometers (30 miles) of pristine beaches. Punta Cana is a water enthusiast’s dream location, where you can enjoy everything from wind sailing, cruising, yachting, to scuba diving and snorkeling.
With its calm waters and shallow reef, scuba diving in Punta Cana is an enjoyable experience for divers of all levels. The region is home to the longest reef in the Dominican Republic and hosts a variety of environments such as walls, canyons, caves, wrecks, and even an underwater museum.
Underwater sculpture at the Igneri Caribe Taino Underwater Museum. Photo: godominicanrepublic.com
The best season for diving is March to June when the seas are calm and visibility is outstanding. The hurricane season starts in June, and although the chances of a hurricane are scarce, it does tend to rain. On the upside, from June to November you will find the best deals on all things related to travel, so it may still be worth it.
Water temperatures range from 26° to 28° C/79°-83° F.
Currents on most dive sites in Punta Cana are minimal, but the eastern tip can pick up Atlantic currents which can provide good opportunities for drift diving.
You can expect average visibility of 15 meters/50 feet. During the warm months, visibility often reaches 30 meters/100 feet.
This former Russian cargo ship ran aground at Punta Cana during a storm in 1978. The 127-meter (417-foot) long ship now sits broken into two sections – the bow sits above the water while the stern is in 16 meters (52 feet) of water. The sheer magnitude of Astron, including its giant propeller, are worth a look.
Located between the waters of Playa Blanca and Playa Serena, Punta Cana’s underwater museum consists of more than 20 sculptures depicting indigenous Taino people. The statues lie in just 3 to 7 meters/10-23 feet of water, depths ideal for divers of all levels. Corals were planted around the figures to provide home for the local fish.
El Niño is famous for its great visibility, the abundance of tropical fish, and beautiful corals. Only 7 meters/20 feet deep, it’s one of the shallowest dive sites in the area. Nonetheless, it’s a great dive for the whole family.
Cuevitas is one of the most impressive reefs in Punta Cana, and the reason for this is the eerie swim-throughs illuminated by the natural light from above the surface. This is another shallow area, with an average depth of about 11 meters/36 feet, making this spot suitable for all divers.
Batato features a series of coral reef passages, tunnels, and caves you can explore in just one dive. This and the abundance and variety of marine life which includes everything from small tropical fish to crustaceans and larger fish such as barracudas made this site attractive for underwater photography. A great location for divers of all levels.
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