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Scuba and snorkelling in the Dominican Republic

More than 1,600 kilometres of coastline means there's ample opportunity for scuba diving and snorkelling around the Dominican Republic. Add to that a slew of caves, shipwrecks and coral reef walls, and you've got yourself some seriously fun underwater adventures.

What's more is, the Dominican Republic's year-round warm waters mean there's never a bad time to suit up in your diving gear. More often than not, the water offers good visibility, though this changes depending on the time of the year.

The same goes for the weather, which can affect diving conditions, so it's always best to check in advance to find out when the best time to slip beneath the surface is.

Here are a few of our top picks for diving and snorkelling spots in the Dominican Republic, for beginners and experienced divers alike.

Airport Wall, Sosua

Found in Sosua Bay, Airport Wall is sought out for training dives, as it's a great spot for beginners to get their flippers wet. This reef runs along the coast in front of the airport, hence the name.

The wall begins at around five metres, dropping down to 28, and includes caverns and tunnels to explore, not to mention fleets of barracudas, mantas and eagle rays.

Padre Nuestro, Bayahibe

Slip into the Padre Nuestro and you'll feel like you've reached another world, albeit a very spooky one. The Padre Nuestro is a massive underwater cave that varies from narrow passages to huge rooms spiked with rock formations that hang from the ceilings.

The cave is located within the Parque Nacional del Este at the end of a brief hiking trail. You're welcome to just go for a light swim or snorkel adventure in the clear pool, but scuba gear will give you the true taste of what's below.

La Cueva, Punta Cana

La Cueva is a cave that's about eight to 12 metres deep, found within the shallow waters of Punta Cana. It's a top spot to see nurse sharks and stingrays and right on the doorstep of this popular resort.

Silver Bank

Experiences at Silver Bank are some of the most popular within the Dominican Republic, as they offer diving opportunities like no other.

Silver Bank is a shallow portion of water north of the Dominican Republic that's famed for being the chosen breeding ground for thousands of humpback whales come February and March.

With the help of an approved chartered boat, you can head over to this part of the Atlantic Ocean and slip beneath the surface to swim alongside nature's massive creatures.

Monica, Punta Cana

The 'Monica' was a former cargo ship that sunk in the early 20th century to the depths of the sea bordering Punta Cana.

Much of it – including its railway cargo and anchors – are calcified, but also encrusted with sea plants, making it a cosy home for an array of underwater sea life. Here, you'll find schools of fish flitting past the deck and nearby coral reefs, moray eels and barracudas.

St George, Bayahibe

The 'St George' was a ship built in 1962 for transporting wheat and barley between Norway and the Americas. When it's shipping life was over, it was intentionally sunk about 800-metres beneath the surface near Bayahibe in 1999 in order to form a diving site.

It was named 'St George' after hurricane George hit the Dominican Republic the year before. Now, 'St George' has become an incredible artificial reef that attracts a number of fish types, especially barracudas. Its cavernous insides can also be explored, though it's best left to well-versed divers.

Catalina Island, off the coast of La Romana

Catalina Island is rumoured to offer some of the best underwater experiences in all of the Dominican Republic. Depending on your diving level, you can either opt for snorkelling or scuba diving.

For snorkellers, there's the 'Wall', which consists of colourful coral reefs, but the waters at the beaches are so clear and tranquil that they offer up prime snorkelling experiences as well.

Where scuba diving is concerned, the 'Aquarium' is a sought-out dive spot – it's where you'll have a chance to glide by lobsters, stingrays and moray eels.

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