- 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
Diving and Snorkeling
Located in the waters of Bayahibe are some of the country’s best sites for diving and snorkeling. The warm Caribbean Sea offers perfect crystalline visibility and warm conditions for experienced and beginning divers. The calmness of these waters and the underwater terrain, compared to the rougher areas off the other coasts of the island, also make it easier for beginners.
The St. George Wreck was scuttled in 1999 as an artificial reef off the coast of the port of Bayahibe. It sits upright about 30–40 meters below the surface, and the currents can be rather strong down there, so this is a site for experienced divers only. You will see loads of marine life and have the chance to enter cabins and the cargo room.
Another exciting dive site is Padre Nuestro cave. Well, it’s more of a flooded 290-meter sweet-water tunnel. Again, only experienced divers will be able to explore the stalactites and stalagmites in this subterranean dive.
Excursions and Tours
At all-inclusive resorts, the activity desks offer many excursions, tours, and packages that can be added to your vacation. But for independent travelers, a few establishments in Bayahibe offer similar excursions.
Casa Daniel (Bayahibe, tel. 809/833-0050, www.casa-daniel.com, 8 a.m.–6 p.m. daily) is right on the waterfront at Bayahibe. Daniel and his wife, Susan, have put together a multilingual dive team that leads excursions in German, English, French, and Spanish. While beginners and experienced divers can both enjoy the colorful reef life in depths varying 10–25 meters, special excursions like night dives, wreck dives (St. George), cave trips (Padre Nuestro), and deeper dives are only offered to experienced divers.
Without equipment rental, one-tank dives cost US$38. Packages of 6–10 dives are available (US$250–390). Equipment rental costs extra. A full-day snorkeling excursion to Saona and Catalinita costs US$76. In addition to snorkeling at the islands, you’ll make stops to see some of the mangrove forest and La Piscina Natural. Inquire about family packages to Saona and Catalina Islands (price depends on the number of people in the party). PADI certification courses, refresher courses, and specialty courses are all available. Casa Daniel is perhaps the best choice, if only for its local reputation.
Scubafun (Calle Principal 28, Bayahibe, tel. 809/833-0003, fax 809/833-0005, www.scubafun.info, 7:30 a.m.–6 p.m. daily) is in the middle of Bayahibe. Want to do that cave diving at Padre Nuestro? Scubafun can take you there, including the tanks, weights, and a guide for US$69. Other excursions include a half-day boat trip to Isla Catalina that includes diving The Wall (US$45), as well as a full day at Isla Saona with drinks and a buffet lunch (US$59). A PADI certification beginner course is only US$235. Scubafun excursions are recommended for parties that have both divers and non-divers since they allow non-divers to join. This is a top-notch outfitter.
If you would like to try hiring a private boat, remember to always haggle the price before settling on the agreement. A reasonable price to expect for a ride from Bayahibe to Isla Saona is about RD$1,000–2,000 per person. Remember to ask if there are lifejackets in the vessel before boarding and ask to see them. Hint: If you agree to use the same boat for your return trip, secure the time and you may get a better price, but don’t pay ahead of time for both ways, of course.
© Ana Chavier Caamaño from Moon Dominican Republic, 4th edition