Diving and Snorkeling
- Where to Go
- The Best of the Dominican Republic
- A Nature Lover’s Dominican Trek
- The Sexiest Dominican Beaches
- Historical Dominican Road Trip
- A Dominican Culture Tour
- Carnaval and Its Masks
- Planning Your Dominican Wedding
- Dominican Adventures
- Golfing the Dominican Republic
- Dominican Music and Dance
- La Ruta del Mango
- Day-Tripping in Monte Plata
- The Best Small Resorts
Sosúa is considered one of the premium dive sites along the North Coast. With the quality comes the popularity and therefore your choices are immense. Numerous dive shops exist, and most are along the Calle Arzeno where it meets the beach entrance.
There are many interesting and exciting dive locations near Sosúa. The Zíngara wreck, a 148-foot sunken cargo ship, has a maximum depth of 36 meters. You may run into moray eels here. Adjacent to the ship is a reef wall giving you the option to explore in shallower waters. Here you will see numerous kinds of corals and sponges.
Airport Wall is about a 20-minute boat ride from Sosúa and is for advanced divers. Its maximum depth is 24 meters, and it’s considered one of the best dive spots in the region.
An 18-meter coral wall and maze of tunnels are home to large elkhorn coral, lobster, and schools of fish.
The Coral Gardens (maximum depth 18 meters) and West Wall (maximum depth 30 meters) dive sites both offer various multicolored soft and large types of coral as well as sea urchins and angelfish. Sadly, chronic over-fishing has stripped many Sosúa dive sites of the opportunities to see the multitudes of sea life of yesteryear.
Select other dive sites are reachable from Sosúa via diving outfitters based in town. Cayo Arena (or Paradise Island), located off the coast of Luperón, is a circle of colorful coral reefs with an inner sandbank. This is a snorkeler’s heaven. Many outfitters have speedboats that will whisk you away to this remote location. It can take up to three hours each way. It can get quite clogged with tours.
In nearby Río San Juan, you can dive the very popular Laguna Gri-Gri. Here you will see the tiny sea creatures and move up to the big ones like moray eels, barracudas, and stingrays. Also present are multicolored fan corals and sponges. Cave Du-Du is a freshwater cave with crystal-clear visibility about 90 minutes east of Sosúa. Seasoned cave divers will love this dive; those being introduced to the sport will be hooked forever.
Dives vary between companies but usually start around US$35 for a one-tank dive. Dive packages are always a way to ensure saving money if you plan to go more than once. Snorkeling is a lower-cost alternative with some excursions as low as US$10. Prices usually include equipment and are always subject to how much equipment you need and how many locations or tanks you choose. All of the dive outfitters offer certification courses and special excursions. One piece of advice: Find one that speaks your language of choice.
Near the entrance to Sosúa beach, Fat Cat Diving (Calle Gregorio Luperón, Caseta 32, tel. 809/586-1392, www.fatcat-diving.com, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily) has great deals on courses for beginners and advanced divers. The regular dive site is just offshore and costs US$35 for a one-tank dive. The more tanks you purchase, the more you save per dive. Fat Cat offers many excursions. If you have multiple skill levels in your party, an all-day excursion to Cayo Arena is an excellent choice. It runs US$35 if you are only going to snorkel, US$75 if you choose to dive there.
For advanced divers only, there is a dive at the freshwater cave near Cabarete, Cave Du-Du. Here you pay US$95 and you get lunch, transportation, and beverages. Snorkeling with Fat Cat is the most cost effective. For only US$10 they will take you out to the reefs, and that includes the gear you’ll need. Transportation from your accommodations at Playa Dorada and Cabarete are possible for extra cost. Victoria, the head instructor, is very nice and speaks English and German fluently.
Located on the same street are Big Blue Swiss Dive Center (tel. 809/571-2916, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily) and Dive Center Merlin (tel. 809/571-4309, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily), offering similar packages and courses.
North Coast Divers (Calle Pedro Clisante 8, tel. 809/571-1028, www.northerncoastdiving.com, 8 a.m.–6 p.m. daily) is one of the most reputable diving outfitters on the northern coast and perhaps the entire island. They will take you on excursions to all the scuba hot spots like Cave Du-Du and Airport Wall. Starting price for diving adventures is US$60. Snorkeling trips and individual packages can be arranged as well.
Dolphin Dive Center (tel. 809/571-0842, www.dolphindivecenter.com, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. and 2–6 p.m. Mon.–Sat.) has on menu about 20 dive sites, including the tunnels and El Muro, a reef wall up to 24 meters deep where you will see barrel sponges. One dive is US$46 with full equipment provided. Dive packages start with a Discover Scuba Diving package for US$50 (minimum age is 10), which will take place in a pool or pool-like condition. Next up is the PADI certification course for US$219 and all the way up to instructor courses.
© Ana Chavier Caamaño from Moon Dominican Republic, 4th edition