La Caleta Underwater National Park

Not just beach, Dominican Republic’s underwater mysteries beckon

From Dominican Today

Discover the endless underwater world of the Dominican Republic (DR), a diver's paradise with nearly 1,000 miles of breathtaking coastline that features colorful marine life and intriguing shipwrecks from when pirates sailed the Caribbean.

Located roughly 800 miles south of Miami, the DR boasts numerous sea grass beds, vibrant coral reefs, mysterious underwater caves and some of the region's most unique sea creatures.

Simply put, divers should expect the unexpected.

"We are a top-notch diving destination amid turquoise waters so clear and blue one has to see to believe. The DR offers diverse marine life, excellent certified diving schools and accessible dive sites along our amazing coasts," said Magaly Toribio, DR Ministry of Tourism Vice Minister of International Promotion.

"The DR has it all with developed tourist areas boasting world-class hotels and more off-the-beaten-path options for adventurous, independent divers."

With the Atlantic Ocean on the north and the Caribbean Sea on the south, the following underwater treasures await you in the DR:

The DR's Southcentral Coast is home to illuminating coral, technicolor fish, an underwater national park, mysterious caverns and is well-suited for both beginner and experienced divers.

East of capital city Santo Domingo near Boca Chica, La Caleta Underwater National Park delights beginners and experienced divers alike at 600 square miles and 600 feet deep.

With fascinating reef and wreck diving, La Caleta is known for attracting multicolor fish and the park will soon introduce the first underwater museum of submerged Dominican themed sculptures.

Nearby, divers can explore the 69 foot wreck of tugboat El Limon embedded with coral reefs and 144 foot wreck of Hickory, surrounded by hundreds of yellow tube sponge clusters that swim among this treasure salvage vessel.

Also hidden in the DR's southern waters is El Catuan, a sunken ship buried 60 feet underwater, and Barracuda Reef, a natural underwater mountain thriving with barracudas. Here you will discover mysterious underwater caves like Cueva Taina, El Hipodromo and El Tildo.

More adventurous divers can explore the DR's extreme southern coastal area near Barahona-Pedernales. This less-traveled coast features warmer waters and well-protected dives due to the reef structures and coastal curve.

With a wealth of marine life, the DR's Southeast Coast has one of the Caribbean's largest sunken ships, the 266 foot long St. George, where you may come face to face with grouper, barracudas, dolphins, morays, and mackerel, to name a few.